The Psalmist’s explanation of what it means to be sovereign

Ravi Zacharias tells of an exam he took one time and I believe he said the entire exam was just one question, “God is perfect. Explain.” He said the only more difficult question he could think of was “Define God and give two examples.” Here is how he answered – “He is the only being existent in this world, the reason for whose existence is in Himself. Every other existing entity finds a reason for their existence outside of themselves. In that sense He alone is perfect. His very existence is uncaused, He just exists.”

Ps. 99:4

You have established equity;
You have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.

In v. 4 of the 99th Psalm, a sovereignty Psalm, the Psalmist gives us an inspired explanation of what it means for the LORD to be sovereign. Who rules over the meaning of right and wrong? Who is it that determines what is just and fair? Where do the concepts of equity and righteousness come from? Whoever it is that determines what right is, it is that one who rules. Whoever it is that determines what justice is, it is that one who reigns.

Think about the courtrooms of our day. Whoever it is that sits on the bench of a courtroom is the one who has the authority to interpret the law and so has final say about justice. The judge in the courtroom is the one who determines what is right and what is wrong. But that illustration breaks down quickly because our judges are accountable to some kind of external standard. Even the highest court in our land has a built in accountability and even external checks and balances. But there is one who is accountable to no one. There is one who is not subject to anyone or anything. It is this one who defines what is right and what is wrong.

Like Zacharias says, the LORD is the only being in all the universe whose very existence finds meaning in himself. My existence and your existence, despite what our culture may think, find meaning outside of us. It is not so with the LORD. Your existence was caused by something outside of you. His existence was uncaused. The very meaning of His name points to this fact – He says to Moses tell them I am sent you. “I am”, Yahweh, the LORD exists because he is. You and I exist because of something else – our beginnings were caused. He has no beginning because he is. This is part of what it means to be sovereign.

Not only is he the one who puts justice and righteousness or equity in place, he establishes these things and he executes these things. Isn’t there great peace in understanding that you don’t have to know what to tell God to do in any given situation? He knows what to do. Not only is he the source of justice and righteousness, but he performs it. This is what it means to be sovereign.

If you have one without the other, then you are not sovereign. If you know what the right thing to do is, but you cannot do it, then you are not sovereign. If you have the power to do the right thing, but something outside of you has to dictate to you what the right thing to do is, then you are not sovereign. Only the one who determines what is just and then performs accordingly is sovereign. We never meet those qualifications. Could it be that this is why God places authorities in our lives from the time we are born – because he wants us to understand that right and wrong are not determined by something inside of us as individuals. Our conscience comes from a knowledge of things outside of us. That is where the word conscience (“with knowledge”) comes from; con, meaning ‘with’ and science, meaning ‘knowledge’. Right and wrong are defined apart from us. The realities of sin and righteousness exist as objective realities. Ultimately it is the Creator who has given us those distinctions. There is never a situation where the LORD has not determined what is just and there is never a situation where he is powerless to do what is just. He always determines what is just and he always does what is just. That is what it means to be sovereign.

Advertisements

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: