Today I want to look at two passages found in scripture, one found in the old testament and one found in the new testament. I believe both of these passages show God’s sovereign hand over all things, storms and all. With things still so unsteady in the current state in our world, I think this is the perfect reminder to trust God in ALL circumstances.
All right, let’s dive into a story about a King of Judah found in the old testament. [ 2 Chronicles 33:10-20 ]
A little back story, up until this point, it was hit or miss with the kings of Judah. What do I mean by that? It was hit or miss if they followed the Lord or if they did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Not every king in Judah followed the Lord like King David or King Solomon. A lot of them did evil in the eyes of the Lord, worshiped idols, and this caused the Lord to become angry and He displayed his wrath on his own people when they did not obey, listen, or follow His ways.
One king in particular that I want to study with you today is King Manasseh. Hold onto your bible and be prepared, this story is about to knock your socks off. King Manasseh did evil in the eyes of the Lord, he established alters for false gods, he worshiped these false gods, he sacrificed his children (UM WHAT?), basically this guy was the worst of the worst. He was all sorts of jacked up.
Before I continue, let’s be real for a minute. Don’t we do this too? You may not be sacrificing your children (I hope you don’t even think twice about this), but don’t we put things before the Lord? Don’t we worship idols? Yep, we do. We can be honest here. Money, sex, technology, cars, houses, you name it, we worship worldly things that lead to a never-ending cycle of wanting what does not fully satisfy us.
Back to the story. God spoke to the people of Judah and to Manasseh, and what do you think they did? They ignored Him (with their track record, are you surprised? I’m not) and this is where the story takes a turn…
The Lord had Manasseh taken as a prisoner by the king of Assyria. The Lord without question, allowed him to be captured and taken as a prisoner – think about this (we will talk about this in a moment). Now, they didn’t just take him as a prisoner, but they put a hook in his nose, bound him up with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon. I think Manasseh was thinking, “I am not longer in control, I do not have the strength on my own to get myself out of this situation. I need help.” Have you ever been backed into a corner like that? Have you ever been caught up in a storm in your life that you realize you cannot by your own strength get yourself out? You aren’t the only one. Look at what happens next with Manasseh…
“In his distress, he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.” [ 2 Chronicles 33: 12-13 ]
There is so much to unpack here, but I will give you my main take away from this story… The Lord allowed Manasseh to be captured, to be caught up in a storm on purpose, SO THAT he would realize that God is the one and only true God.
In God’s sovereignty willingly allowed Manasseh to be taken a prisoner by his enemy, caught up in a storm so that he would be knocked down, so he could then look up and realize that God is in control and He is trustworthy. So, how does this relate to us now present day? God wants us to abide in Him and trust Him fully to carry us, which is why I believe that God sometimes willingly allows us to enter into a storm SO that we realize we need Him.
We can see almost this same theme in the new testament when Jesus calms the storm. [ Mark 4:35-41 ]
Up until this point, Jesus has been teaching and after His teaching when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went on a boat to cross to the other side of the land (side note: notice how Jesus takes time to get away from the crowds to have time to rest and refuel. We should have this same take on our own lives!). When they were on the boat, Jesus rests his eyes and takes a nap. Meanwhile, a storm comes and let’s just put it this way, the disciples were freaking out. I can only imagine what the disciples were thinking and feeling, but it was enough to have them wake up Jesus and ask, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Have you ever felt that way towards God? Maybe you’re in a season now where you’re asking God the same thing, “Father don’t you see I’m close to drowning? I can’t see the end of this storm. God if you love me at all, help me, save me!” I’d be lying if I said I haven’t prayed that prayer before. When my eyes are so fixed on my circumstances, I have a hard time seeing God’s hand over my life. My faith is weary because I see what I am going through here on earth thinking the Lord has abandoned me. However, I know the truth. I know that “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” [ Psalm 9:10 ]
Back to Mark 4… Jesus woke up, with absolute zero fear, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves “Quiet! Be still!” Just by the power of His words, the wind calmed and the waves ceased. Jesus then said to the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Gosh, can’t you just sense the power in these questions Jesus is asking the disciples? The disciples have witnessed Jesus heal people, surely they would have believed that He was in control of all things?
Sadly, we do the exact same thing. We know the truth that is in the Word. We know that God raised Jesus from the dead after He was killed and buried. God is the God of the impossible, it is who He is. That should be enough for us to know and trust that God is whom He says He is, that He alone is in sole control. Yet, when we take our eyes off of Jesus and put our eyes on our present circumstances, our trust goes to the temporary things rather than our Father. Jesus shows His sovereign hand in calming the storm. If we only trust Him, with the outcome of our circumstances He will take care of us in the storm. Where are you placing your trust? In the hands of Jesus or in your circumstances?
All it takes is a mustard seed of faith and that’s all God wants from you. Choose to trust in the one who is sovereign over all things here on earth and above in Heaven. Choose to trust that the storm you are in is producing character and shaping you into who God has created you to be. Choose to trust that God is working all things out for His glory and for our good.