It occurred to me today that God’s control over the nations is much like his control over the details of our lives.
We don’t always understand why he does what he does. But we see all events, both good and hard, in the light of his precise handling and perfect, overarching purposes.
Consider the beginning of the book of Isaiah. In chapter seven, we read about God’s chosen nation, Judah, in conflict with the surrounding nations, Syria and Israel. The king of Judah, King Ahaz, has attempted to protect himself and his nation by secretly aligning with Assyria, the enemy of the other nations.
Instead of the trusting in God’s promise to keep and redeem a chosen people for himself, Ahaz takes matters into his own hands.
What we learn in the story is a helpful lesson for us all about the freedom of trusting God’s promises and his power. God tells Isaiah the prophet to deliver a message to Ahaz:
And the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field.
And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. (Isaiah 7:3-4)
What does Ahaz need a reminder of in this moment? God is in control, and he does what he says he will do. God reminds him that the nations who war against him are nothing but “smoldering stumps of firebrands.” What a picture!
How often in our own lives do we forget that Christ has the victory? How often do we insist on our own Plan B, when the Lord has given us every reason to trust him with Plan A? Just as God Almighty holds the nations in his hands, turning the hearts of kings this way and that, so he holds the events of your life in his hands.
And if you’re in Christ, he intends to prove himself trustworthy and true. In fact, he already has in Christ. The day will come when the earth will pass away, and we’ll all proclaim, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” We will finally see him as he truly is, in all his glory, and we will behold the manifold wisdom and power of his Son.
Let’s take a lesson from Ahaz: instead of forgetting what we know to be true of God, taking matters into our own hands, let’s remember that God is faithful. He has shown his trustworthiness through the sending of Christ, who gave up his very life to secure for us an eternal future and hope.
With that in mind, what do you need to surrender to God today? What do you need to let go of?
Only God could take our submission to his reign and plan and make it perfect freedom for our souls.