Divine Sovereignty in Lamentations 3:37-38
Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?
This passage says so much is such few words that it boggles the mind. Over the next several posts, I hope to treat several aspects of it. The plan of explanation that I intend is as follows:
1: To whom do the words ‘who is this’ apply?
2: What is it to “speak,” and it “come to pass?”
3: How does God’s primary agency affect the good deeds of men?
4: How does God’s primary agency affect the evil deeds of men?
5: Contentment with Divine Providence
Part 1 will seek to demonstrate that the “who” of this passage is none other than God Almighty. By way of application, we are warned against presumption regarding the future and our plans for it.
Part 2 deals with what the passage means when it says “speaks” and it “comes to pass.” The meaning of these words can be none other than absolute Divine sovereignty.
Part 3 seeks to address the thorny issue of how God’s sovereignty over all things affects men’s good deeds, for this is no less thorny than the question of how God’s absolute sovereignty relates to men’s evil deeds. Scripture teaches both that God is the Prime Mover behind all our good and that our good deeds are genuinely reward-able.
Part 4 attempt to tackle the ever thornier question of how God’s sovereignty over all relates to the evil deeds men do. As with the previous post, Scripture teaches both that God is the Prime Mover behind all our deeds, but that we are morally responsible agents whose evil deeds are genuinely punishable. Several passages of Scripture are brought to bear on this difficult issue.
Part 5 brings the four previous posts to a close with a practical application. God is sovereign over all things and He has ordered all things with a view to His own glory. We should seek our ultimate satisfaction by submission to whatever role He has created for us to play in His order.
Part 6 will revisit the passage and treat contentment with God's sovereignty over all things.
I do not assume that this treatment will be comprehensive, but I am attempting to be Scriptural.