Monday, July 17, 2023

God Is in Control (Proverbs 21:1; 24:19–21; 29:26)

"The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD" (Prov. 21:1).

Proverbs 21:1 shines like a beacon of hope amid dark times. We live in a country that, for the most part, has turned its back on God. Even the most conservative leaders often fail to glorify God when they govern. While foolish statesmanship and immorality should grieve all Christians, such things should not drive us to despair, for our hope is not in leaders or political parties, but in God.

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” Changing the course of a nation is like pushing back the ocean tide or changing the course of a river. It can’t be done by human efforts, but with God nothing is impossible. Charles Bridges reminds us of numerous biblical testimonies of God’s control over national affairs: “Nehemiah fully acknowledged this prerogative, when, having a favor to ask of the king, he ‘prayed unto the God of heaven.’ (Neh. 2:4, 5). And indeed Scripture’s witness is abundant. Abimelech’s heart was in the hand of the Lord for good (Gen. 20:6). Pharaoh’s heart was turned towards Joseph (Gen. 41:37–45). The Babylonian monarchs showed kindness to Daniel and his captive brethren. The Persian monarchs assisted in the building of the temple. The hearts of wicked kings are alike in the hand of the Lord; yet He has no part in their wickedness. The hatred of Pharaoh; the ambition of Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar, were His instruments for His own purposes. Ahab’s murderous heart was restrained, and even made to accomplish the downfall of Baal (1 Kings 18:10, 40). The counsels of the kings of the earth against Christ were under Divine control (Acts 4:25–28). Thus does ‘the wrath of man praise Him; and the remainder He restrains.’ Thus an Almighty agency is visible by its effects in the minutest affairs. Ahasuerus’s sleepless nights (Esth. 6:1, 2); Nebuchadnezzar’s divination; the appointment of the year of general taxation (Luke 2:1)—these seemingly unimportant events were turning points in the dispensations of God, fraught with immensely momentous results.”

Such testimonies remind us to lift our heads and trust in our sovereign Lord. He alone reigns over all things. When we are tempted to despair, let us pray like Nehemiah to the God of heaven and trust that even in the darkest hours, He is in control.

What is one thing about our nation that has you deeply troubled and causes you to be anxious whenever you think about it? Lay that before the Lord today. Tell Him your fears, your concerns, your grief. Pray that God comforts you and assures you that He is in control of this situation. Pray for a deeper trust in God’s plan.