Who's in charge here anyway?

Part 2: Is God sovereign or does Satan call (some of) the shots?

By Dolores Kimball

Part 1: A look at the sovereignty of God

My first post examined the question of who/what controls events in our lives. Neither "chance" (which has no power to control anything), nor the "free" wills of people—including us—is really in control of all events that occur in our lives. That leaves two more possibilities—Satan and his demons or God. Let's face it, this is a huge issue. What we believe about who/what is in charge of our lives has an immense impact on how we live.

Some people find it appealing to think that Satan has control over a certain amount of life, that God is constantly revising His plans to accommodate Satan's tricks. Is that a comforting thought? Does the idea that Satan has control over any part of your life make you a fearless, confident person?

On a side note, I frequently hear people say that Satan is doing this, that and the other thing to them. This is unlikely. Satan is not omnipresent; he can only be in one place at a time. So the chances that he is in your house annoying you are extremely remote. He has more important people to harass. This is not to say that his demonic forces aren't everywhere doing their dirty work. But Satan himself isn't camping out at your place. The White House? Maybe. But your house? Not likely.

Remember the book of Job. Satan came to God and said "Job only serves you because you protect him." So God gave him permission to do certain things to Job and no more (Job 1:1-12, 2:3-7). Could Satan do more than that? No. God is in complete control over Satan and the demons who try to thwart God's plans at every step.

Consider this. Satan knew from the OT that God's plan was for Jesus to come to the earth, be betrayed, crucified and resurrected, and provide salvation for millions, and if there was any way to keep that from happening, Satan would have done it, wouldn't he?

If just one of the hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah could have been caused by Satan to fail to come to pass, the whole thing would have collapsed. But the myriad of independent decisions made by thousands of people were used by God to bring His plan to pass in exactly the way He had planned it from the beginning, and Satan couldn't do a thing about it. Jesus was "delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23) to be crucified for us, crushing forever Satan's power.

No action by the Romans, the Pharisees, Judas, or anyone else kept God's plan from unfolding exactly the way He purposed it from before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4 says we were chosen in Him before the world was even created. We were in the mind of God to be saved by faith in Christ. That means God knit together Satan's rebellion, Adam and Eve's sin, the fall of the human race, and the death and crucifixion of Christ, all seemingly terrible events, to save us before He created us.

We sometimes get the impression that God and Satan are two nearly equal opposing forces continually battling for control of the universe. The truth is that this battle is as the battle between an ant and an elephant. The ant may be fiercely shaking his little fist at the elephant, but the elephant goes blithely on doing what elephants do and the ant is powerless to stop him. At any moment of the elephant's choosing, his huge foot will come down, stomp the ant, and grind him into the dust.

Unlimited in power, unrivalled in majesty and not limited by anything outside Himself, our God is in complete control of all circumstances, causing or allowing them for His own good purposes and plans to be fulfilled exactly as He has foreordained. Tell me, who is going to stop Him?

Part 3: If God is sovereign, so what?

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Republished on 5-16-13