All Creatures are Dependent on God
While God is not dependent on any other being, man, on the other hand, is totally dependent on a sovereign God. This total dependence is an inseparable part of our nature as a creature. Our whole being and well-being is at the mercy of the good pleasure of God. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being….” (Acts 17:28) This is definitely not an undesirable or uncertain state to be in because believers are also the children of God who can expect only good things from their heavenly Father.
Notice what the Bible has to say to us about the sovereign care of our God:
I Sam. 2:6-8 “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.”
I Chron. 29:11-12 “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”
Eccl. 9:1 “For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. People know neither love nor hatred by anything that is before them.”
Ps. 145:15-19 “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.”
Is. 64:8 “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” It has become a common error to see God’s hand in the “good” things that happen to us, but to deny that God brings about adversity or suffering in our lives.
This error is the inevitable result of denying God His right to rule sovereignly. While it is true that Satan tempts man (eg. Adam and Job), he can do this only with the purpose and limitations which God determines. Satan may often be used by God to try or test the faith of man (see James 1:12-15). But, do not forget that it is always God who is in complete control.
It is common to hear a denial of God’s sovereignty as demonstrated in His providential acts. The Heidelberg Catechism defines God’s providence and its benefits in Questions 27 and 28. To intimate that some other power (such as the Devil) has the inherent freedom, power, or right to bring about anything independent of God is to deny the sovereign power of God. Yet, it is that denial that is expressed so often in the erroneous teaching that God is frustrated by all the forces working against Him. He is said to have a plan, but cannot carry it out because of the work of the Devil or man’s stubbornness. That sort of limitation of God is a denial of the teaching of Scripture which declares that He performs all things “according to His good pleasure” and “after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:5,9,11). Notice what the Bible says about this:
Job. 2:10 “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Prov. 16:4 “The LORD has made all things for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”
Is. 45:7b “I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.”
Rom. 9:15, 18 “For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.”
II Thess. 2:11, 12 “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
If God is truly sovereign, then man certainly has no right to question the propriety of any act of God. “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Rom. 9:20-21)
Certainly the once-humbled Nebuchadnezzar realized this about the God of Daniel when he said, “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. no one can restrain His hand or say to Him, What have You done?” (Dan. 4:34-35)
Again, the Psalmist says, “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.” (Ps. 115:3)
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author. If you’ve enjoyed reading it, you can purchase a copy for yourself. If you want to read other blog posts from the series, start here.