Heading downhill from this series on Proverbs, we come to one of my favorites.

Several times the sage insists that God alone is the sovereign One. He alone controls all things. A plain reading of Proverbs 16:1, 4, 9, 11 suggests there is no getting around the fact that God is in charge. Though two parties are involved (note the juxtaposition between God and humans), it is God who gets what he wants. We spend every waking moment planning, dreaming, wishing, hoping, intending, bargaining, pleading, insisting, requiring, demanding, etc., but at the end of the day, it is God — and God only — who wins the day. These things be true, then we may as well give in to that fact. After all, “all the weights in the bag are of his making” (Proverbs 16:11).

Perhaps this is why pride (the vigorous, unrelenting insistence upon one’s own way as the only way) is never spoken of positively in Proverbs. Pride may dictate that we think we know better than God (Proverbs 16:25), but Adam and Eve may testify to the contrary (Gen 3). Failing to submit to God’s charge delivers a guaranteed outcome. Destruction and demise is the certain destiny of all who do not succumb to the meticulous sovereignty of God (Proverbs 16:18). Even when victory is ours, we don’t always come out on top. The price for doing battle may be larger than the plunder we gain, once compromise of character and virtue are at play (Proverbs 16:32).

Since I’m on the topic of sovereignty, a few more passages that speak to God’s utter, meticulous control are in order. Caution: Read slowly and carefully. These are words are, after all, inspired!

Ezra 6:22
“For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.”

Job 2:10
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”

Ps. 33:10-11
“The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

Ps. 115:3
“Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.”

Ps. 135:5-7
“I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”

Pr. 21:1
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

Lam. 2:11
“My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.”

Lam. 3:37-38
“Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?”

Is. 46:9-10
“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”

Dan. 4:34-35
“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

Acts 2:23
“This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”

Acts 4:27-28
“Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people [1] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

Eph. 1:4, 11
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”

Rev. 17:17
“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.”

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