With all the world focusing on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now is a good time to remember where God is in all of this. For generations the Herculean view of God’s sovereignty, a doctrine rescued in the Protestant Reformation, has slowly dissolved back into its more impotent, man-centered form within American Christianity. We have replaced the God of providence and power with the passive God of permission and politeness.
Where is God in geopolitics? Is He as stressed out as we are? Is He biting His fingernails, hoping He can figure out how to end all this without disrupting man’s sacred free-will?
The prophet Amos never declared a passive God to Israel, “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6). In the mind of Amos, God is active in calamity. He is bringing in control of it for His own good purposes.
The great prophet Isaiah clearly believed in the same God as Amos writing, “Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets” (Isaiah 10:5-6). Isaiah saw the invasion and war of Assyria as God’s doing. God actively sent Assyria for His own good purposes.
But perhaps no example is greater than that of the Apostle Paul’s when he remembers Pharaoh, the great enemy of Israel, the man who kept them in chains for hundreds of years. About Pharaoh Paul says, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills’” (Romans 9:17-18).
God raised Pharaoh to power and hardened his heart toward evil so that God could display His own power and justice in Pharaoh’s destruction.
Do not be fooled into thinking God is passive in conflicts of men, merely awaiting an open door to come in and clean up our mess and try and redeem the situation somehow. That is not the God of the Prophets or Apostles. God is instead active in the affairs of men. He is active in the calamity before us, working to bring about judgment and discipline, and setting things up to show His great power and wrath. In other words, He did not fall asleep at the wheel. He is at work to bring about something for our good and for His glory. He is still God even in times of invasion and war.
Categories: Resisting the Winds