Studies in the Sovereignty Of God Volume 1 Number 2
2. God, the Ruler or governor of the nations:
For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations. Ps. 22:28
(28) The kingdom is Jehovah’s, that he may rule over the nations Some explain these words thus:- It is not to be wondered at if the Gentiles should be constrained to yield honor to God, by whom they were created, and by whose hand they are governed, although he has not entered into a covenant of life with them. But I reject this as a meagre and unsatisfactory interpretation. This passage, I have no doubt, agrees with many other prophecies which represent the throne of God as erected, on which Christ may sit to superintend and govern the world. Although, therefore, the providence of God is extended to the whole world, without any part of it being excepted; yet let us remember that he then, in very deed, exercises his authority, when having dispelled the darkness of ignorance, and diffused the light of his word, he appears conspicuous on his throne. We have such a description of his kingdom by the prophet Isaiah,
“He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.” (Isa 2:4)
Moreover, as God had not subdued the world to himself, prior to the time when those who before were unconquerable were subdued to a willing obedience by the preaching of the gospel, we may conclude that this conversion was effected only under the management and government of Christ. If it is objected, that the whole world has never yet been converted, the solution is easy. A comparison is here made between that remarkable period in which God suddenly became known every where, by the preaching of the gospel, and the ancient dispensation, when he kept the knowledge of himself shut up within the limits of Judea. Christ, we know, penetrated with amazing speed, from the east to the west, like the lightning’s flash, in order to bring into the Church the Gentiles from all parts of the world. 5
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down, and setteth up another. Ps. 75:6,7
6) There is a God, and a providence, and things happen not by chance. Though deliverance be hopeless from all points of the compass, yet God can work it for his people; and though judgment come neither from the rising or the setting of the sun, nor from wilderness of mountains, yet come it will, for the Lord reigneth. Men forget that all things are ordained in heaven; they see but the human force, and carnal passion, but the unseen Lord is more real far than these. He is at work behind and within the cloud. The foolish dream that he is not, but he is near even now, and on the way to bring in his hand that cup of spiced wine of vengeance, one draught of which shall staggger all his foes.
7) Even now he is actually judging. His seat is not vacant; his authority is not abdicated; the Lord reigneth evermore. Empires rise and fall at his bidding. A dungeon here, and there a throne, his will assigns. Assyria yields to Babylon, and Babylon to the Medes. Kings are but puppets in his hand; they serve his purpose when they rise and when they fall. A certain author has issued a work called “Historic Ninepins,” a fit name of scorn for all the great ones of the earth. God only is; all power belongs to him; all else is shadow, coming and going, unsubstantial, misty, dream-like. 6
The King’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whitheroever he will. Prov. 21:1
1) And indeed Scripture witness is abundant. Abimelech’s heart was in the hand of the Lord for good. Pharaoh’s heart was turned towards Joseph. The Babylonians monarch showed kindness to Daniel and his captive brethren. The Persian monarchs countenanced and assisted in the building of the temple. The hearts of wicked kings are alike in the hand of the Lord; yet he hath 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. The counsels of the kings of the earth against Christ were under Divine control. 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. 7
5. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), p. 385, 386.
6. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984), p. 294, 295
7. Charles Bridges, Proverbs, The Geneva Series of Commentaries, (Carlisle, Pennsylvania, The Banner of Truth Trust, Reprinted 1983), p. 364, 365.