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The phrase ‘Sovereign Lord’ (from which we get our word ‘despot’, a ruler with absolute power) is not used very much in the New Testament, but it’s a reminder that God is in supreme control and cannot be thwarted by man’s scheming and plotting. Jeremiah says, ‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you’ (Jer 32:17) and the apostles, soaked in the Old Testament, pray to God in the assurance that He is firmly in control. No matter how much Herod and Pilate have schemed against Jesus, ‘they did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.’ (Acts 4:28) The machinations and plots of rulers and kings against the Lord’s Anointed One (see Ps 2) have a very special relevance to the believers as people try to restrain their confident witness, but these believers have absolute trust in God as Lord over all.

Hezekiah, when faced with a great threat from an opposing army led by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, prayed with similar confidence in God’s sovereignty: ‘Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.’ (2 Kings 19:15-16) Bolstered by Isaiah’s prophecy, he saw thousands slaughtered without having to lift a hand: ‘That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. One day, while he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.’ (2 Kings 19:35-37) God has ways of resolving situations that threaten us which we cannot even begin to comprehend.

Jesus reminded His disciples, ‘with God all things are possible.’ (Matt 19:26) The Sovereign Lord is our God!