The Twin Towers, 911 and God's Sovereignty - by Dr. C. Matthew McMahonArticles on the Christian Walk, Systematic Theology and Practical Theology
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Luke 13:1-5, “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Luke 13:1-5 holds a most sobering message concerning the sovereignty of God and of repentance unto life. The American people, and the church, in light of the recent terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, should take heed to its message. It is a message we cannot do without, and so befits our situation at this opportune time that to me it is indispensable. It is not a message for a select few, but a practical exhortation to all men for all time.
In Luke 13:1 we find the news of the day relayed to Jesus. It seems storytellers have come to inform Him of the recent political atrocities of Pilate. Pilate, as well known at the time through secular writers including Josephus, was sometimes engaged in massacring innocent people as a result of his political power. In this instance, as reported by Luke in 13:1, Pilate had killed some Galileans while they were in the midst of the temple offering their sacrifices. Thus the phrase “mingled with” informs us that the blood of the sacrifice and the blood of the Galileans were indistinguishable. Even if metaphorically stated, or exaggerated, Pilate is portrayed as a wicked man, and the Galileans are made out to be the victims, or heroes, of the tragedy.
The response of Jesus is exceptionally keen. Will He speak out against Rome’s tyranny? Will He side with the “heroes” or with the “monster?” We know from the narrative that Jesus does not remain silent. He engages the storytellers, and others listening to Him, with a poignant reversal – something they are not expecting at all. He does not side with the reporters and agree with them that Rome is wicked. If He had, these men, who I believe may be trying to trap Him, would use this information against Him later. He would be categorized as a dissenter of Rome, and one speaking against Caesar himself. The reason I think they are involved in the entrapment against Christ is the fact of their silence. Jesus’ statements to them should have elicited their anger if they were common Jewish men simply telling a story to the Master. They would have found his uncompassionate response to the death of a fellow Jew in light of the Roman tyranny repulsive. Instead, they are silent.
Luke 13:2-5 records Jesus’ sobering response. He intended the reply to be so. Instead of praising the innocence of the martyrs, or heroes, He makes a total reversal of the intent and sets the context in its rightful eternal perspective. He rearranges their thoughts in a way to reflect ultimate reality and the power of God over the lives of every man.
First, He comments on the Galileans. Jesus knows Pilate executed these men, but the reason behind their killing is unknown. It seems the storytellers assumed the men were innocent since they were in the midst of offering up sacrifices to God. How could such men be villainous while engaged in worship? Jesus, though, shows they are sinners by comparing them with the entire classification of Galileans. All men are fallen; all Galileans are fallen. Jesus makes this point when He labels them as “sinners.” They are not only sinners, but they are not any more wicked than all other Galileans, generally speaking. Their death, though at the hand of a political monster, was not special in an eternal sense. These men were not unusual, they were sinners who died like all sinners die, and the cruelty of Pilate makes little difference in their standing as sinners before God. Yet, Jesus then transitions their temporal death, the breaking news of the day, into eternal death by stating that if the storytellers did not repent, they would all likewise perish. The “all” seems to be more inclusive of all hearing His words than just to the reporters of the story. They would all perish in the same way these Galileans perished.
Being executed at the hand of a political tyrant is bad; in fact, it is an evil and wicked act. But Jesus, to be sure His point is plain and clear, then gives a news report of His own. It concerned 18 men who were crushed to death by a falling tower. The tower of Siloam was near the pool of Siloam. This was where the blind man was healed by Christ and told to wash his eyes in John 9:7. In the midst of a busy section of the city, a tower fell and killed 18 people. Jesus then asks a question in the same manner as the Galilean question, but he changes the word “sinner” to “debtor” to stress His point. Some translations do not change the word repeating “sinner”, interpreting the idea for you. It is true that these men were sinful, indebted to God. They were as sinful as any other men, having a debt of sin before a God who requires righteousness. “Do you suppose these men were greater debtors than all others in Jerusalem?” These men who died were not killed as a result of a freak accident. Jesus’ question points emphatically to the reality that it was the governing providence of God which caused the tower to fall. His point is that these men, debtors to God, sinful in their hearts, were not any more sinful than most men in Jerusalem, but God chose to kill them in His providence. Jesus appeals to God’s sovereignty; i.e. that God is in control of when men live and when men die whether by the hand of a wicked political ruler, or by a falling tower. Again, Jesus applies an eternal significance which jumps out at the listener, “Unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” This is climactic. Jesus will continue His emphasis on repentance and life as a result of the next parable against the rulers of the nation, but here, He keeps to the individuals listening the exhortation.
The storytellers hearing this, and those listening in, even the disciples, need to keep eternal perspectives in view. They are more important than whether or not men are heroes. Men are sinners and need to be saved. Jesus makes no distinction between the Galileans, the men killed by the tower, and those listening. All men are sinners. He affirms the universal depravity of man, and utters a command to repent or “perish.” The word “perish” is not simply physical death. Jesus has raised the stakes on both stories to be of eternal significance and not simply temporal. The word of judgment he presents is both sobering, distressing and horrifying. The silence of the men proves this.
In thinking about the eternal significance and emphasis on the tower of Siloam, we ought to take into consideration the terrible voice of God in the city when He “speaks.” This is what Jesus did. We should always take notice of extraordinary circumstances in the providence of God. When a tower haphazardly falls in the midst of a city, Jesus appraised the situation and credited God’s government. The Lord makes judgments in these circumstances. Micah 6:9 states, “the voice of the Lord crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name; hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” When terror strikes the people of the city as the 18 men are crushed to death, they should look to Him “who hath appointed it.” Jesus knew the news. He was aware of current events. He certainly had no intentions of reading Bible prophecy into the situation, as many of the dispensationalists do today. This is not the intention of Christ at all. Jesus is simply making a sweeping statement, and a generalization based on Scripture, and then ascribing the action to the sovereignty of God.
The pious or religious should not be the only ones familiar with words such as judgment and repentance. These terms are for all men everywhere. Acts 17:30 states that God, “now commendeth all men every where to repent.” This is for all men not some men. How does this apply though to current events? The Tower of Siloam fell by God’s providence. Jesus’ questioning the act in the manner He does bears this out. It was unexpected and unanticipated at the time. The 18 crushed by the tower were taken by surprise. They had no idea that their day was going to include an appointment with death and judgment. Neither had the Galileans, so far as we know, expected to be executed during worship. We see a two-fold appeal made by Christ in these two instances; in one instance wicked men did the killing, and God’s Sovereignly watched over it all. In the other instance the Tower is ascribed to God’s providence as something He appointed. In both cases repentance is exhorted since men never know when God may call them to judgment. All men must be aware of this.
So the question is then posed, “in light of the evil terrorist act on our country, how sovereign is God over the lives of men and of the circumstances that befall us?” The destruction and carnage caused by terrorists to the Pentagon and World Trade Towers, and the untold deaths which resulted in the collapse of both towers, causes us to reflect on reasons behind the attack. What could God possibly be doing, if anything? Some have even questioned the extent of His sovereignty over the situation. Yet, we can easily apply the principles found in Luke 13:1-5 to the tragic circumstances.
First, we must be persuaded that God is completely sovereign. There are hundreds of Scriptures attesting to His awesome Sovereignty, and every book in the Bible demonstrates this fact. God is sovereign over all men everywhere since all men are His possession. Psalm 24:1 asserts, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” God owns all men. They are His possession to dispose of, or lift up, as He desires. They are His creation, and His workmanship whether they be vessels unto honor or dishonor. He rules them, leads them, guides them, punishes them, damns them, saves them, rescues them, and fits them all for eternity in one manner or another. God also does whatsoever He desires. He is never thwarted or hindered. In Psalm 115:3 we read, “Our God is in the heavens, He doth whatsoever He pleases.” There is no loophole here. “Whatsoever” is exactly that, it is “whatsoever.” There is no hindrance to His plans and decrees, there is no creature strong enough to dissuade Him in any manner. He is all sovereign and will do all things as He so desires and delights to do. It is not as if things take Him by surprise. He knows all and sees all. Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” He is not unaware. He knows when men are plotting to deceive others, or even plotting to kill others. He knows all and sees all and nothing is hidden from His sight.
The Bible teaches that men’s hearts are His. He is sovereign over the very wills of men. This does not mean He creates sin in their hearts, this is something they do without Him quite willingly. God cannot be tainted with sin, nor does He tempt other men to sin. But the heart of men is still in His hand, and He does sovereignly rule those hearts to accomplish His purposes. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” The king is the greatest man on earth in terms of authority and power. The Lord, though, holds his heart in hand like a winding river. God is able to move the king in whatever way He desires. He can even hold back the king’s hand from committing sin. Genesis 20:6 states, “And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.” Abimelech had not slept with Sarah, Abraham’s wife. But this restraint is ascribed to God. He held him back from sinning. We see, then, that even the hearts of men, whether to turn it one way or another, or even to withhold them from sin, can be accomplished by God’s holy and awesome power.
If God is sovereign, even over the hearts of men, why then did He not stop the attack on our country? Why would He allow such a horrible act to be committed where thousands lost their lives? It is always safe to begin generally. The attack on the American nation was, without doubt, decreed from old. If it was not decreed it would have never taken place. God may use any man, from any place, to effectuate His will, as Isaiah 46:10-11 asserts, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” In this passage God states that His counsel and will shall be done, period. It may be enacted by foreign men. He calls these men from a far country to come and establish His will, in this historical instance, on the nation of Israel.
In our own day, God called foreign men from across the ocean to live among us, deceive us, and then kill many of us. Is this too horrible for God? There are many examples of God’s decrees brought to pass throughout the Bible which cause the hair to stand up on the back of our necks. Some of them are devastating. Such is the case with The Flood which destroyed the world. Gen 6:17 says, “even I bring a flood of waters.” God decreed this and brought the rain to pass, where all lives ceased except for 8 lives on an ark. We see this also in the destruction of the entire City of Jerusalem in 582 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. A text speaks to this in Jeremiah 27:5-6, “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.” God gave the entire land of Judah over to the foreign king of another country. Even Jesus Christ predicts the coming destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in AD 70, 40 years before it happened in Matthew 24:25, “Behold, I have told you before.” We see then huge disasters and calamities are not out of the power of God’s hand, nor are the wills of men.
Since we understand that God is completely sovereign over all the earth and the acts of men, we should ask the question “What Could God have been doing in the disaster on September 11, 2001?” Sometimes God is exceedingly silent on the matter. He does not send an angel down to us, or continue to deliver new revelation to us each time a catastrophe is realized. Rather, we must rest on the principles and teachings of the Bible, and the revelation of His will which He has already given to us. In this way a variety of principles may be seen. First, Christians know that in everything He does, it is all for the glory of His name. Hebrews 2:10 states, “for whom are all things, and by whom are all things.” “All things” means “all things.” “All things” are created by Him and all things are worked by God’s sovereign will for God. They are primarily a means to glorify His various attributes. He will be glorified in His justice on the wicked and in the sanctification of the righteous. He will even be glorified in a tower that falls, or two towers that collapse. All things, in their diverse and varied manner, bring Him an exceedingly great amount of glory.
Secondly, the tragedy that has occurred may be used to remind us that men may enter eternity at any time. Eternity is one breath away. How long is man’s life? The Apostle James says in 4:14, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” It is a vapor of smoke, a puff, that disperses into the air and disappears. In light of the transient nature of human existence, eternity should always be kept in view and in the forefront of our minds. Our perspective, as with Jesus’, should be one which focuses on the eternal significance of a tower that falls, not simply on the circumstances that surrounds the news reports. Since life is so fleeting, materialism seems quite trite in such cases. The devastation seen in New York was incredibly extensive. People sat in their homes, lavished in the comforts that America can supply, and they watched the horror. Their house, DVD player, lush leather couch, fancy marble floors, and the like, all became that much more meaningless. In this light of carnage, materialism is nothing. Things of eternal significance became important. Why is it that self-professed pagans felt these things in like manner? We heard, “Life is so short,” “life is fleeting…” and the like. The reason for this is found in Ecclesiastes 3:11. God has “set eternity in the hearts of men.” Is this not what Jesus reminded the people listening to Him in Luke 13? He changes their perspective and sets it right. Their perspective should have been on eternity, not on heroism. Such is the sin of the media covering the story of this tragedy for days. They are more interested in the now, than in eternity. Their reporting needs to be refocused. Would we ever hear a news commentary on the transient nature of life? No, never. Their priorities are too humanistic.
Thirdly, God could be, in this tragedy, gathering in some of the Elect to glory. There is no doubt in my mind that those who were born again, and died in the terrorist attacks, are in heaven. They are in a state of eternal bliss, not affected in the same way as those who have been left behind to clean up the debris. They are in heaven. They are beholding the glory of Christ face to face, that which they longed to do while on earth. They do not desire to come back. In fact, they are quite glad that those towers collapsed and the planes crashed. God finds this exceedingly glorifying as stated in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Yes, we should mourn for those lost to us. And yes, to us, it is a tragedy. But to them, it was the door to eternal bliss and happiness. We must be mourners, for God created us with emotions. However, we ought, in gaining a better appreciation of His sovereignty, be happy mourners.
Fourthly, God, in this tragedy, could be bringing wicked men into judgment. 1 Thess. 2:14-16 says, “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets and persecuted us: and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” For wicked men, life is a perpetual treasuring up of God’s wrath. Like a child that saves his pennies each day in a piggy bank, so the lives of wicked men continually store up the wrath of God with every breath they take, every thought they think, every action they perform, and all want of conformity to God’s holy law – even things they should have done but did not do. And America has a warped conception of what constitutes that which is wicked. Wickedness is measured by the holiness of God. That which is not perfect is wicked (cf. Matthew 5:48). Wicked men are not just those who fly planes into buildings. Wicked men are those who die Christless. They are men who reject Jesus Christ as God, Lord and Savior. In the thousands which lost their lives, some of them died Christless. Wicked men died in the collapse of the buildings and in the plane crashes. They have been called to the Judgment seat of their Creator give an account of their profane and wicked lives, and they have been found wanting. “Wide is the road that leads to destruction.” They have been sentenced to hell by a just judgment. They will suffer under the wrath of God, stored up each day of their lives (Rom. 2:5), but now poured out upon their never-dying souls for all eternity. This is no doubt, the most sobering possibility of the terror of that day. The damned in hell know that the tragedy of the Twin Towers is nothing compared to the anguish they now burn under, and the sin they now have eternity to pay for.
Fifthly, God, in this tragedy, could be exposing the wickedness of Islam, a false religion. It is not difficult to find passages in the Koran which speak about Jihaad, the struggle of the Muslim in Holy War. They are commanded by Muhammad and Allah to kill all disbelievers. In the Koran, Surah 9:123 it says, “O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allâh is with those who are the Al-Muttaqûn (the pious – see V.2:2).” In Surah 2:191 it states, “Kill them until there are no more disbelievers. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.” Is this graphic enough? When Mosques plead their outrage at the fanatics who flew the planes on their suicide mission, they deny that the Koran teaches such things and that Islam is a peaceful religion. Islam is not a peaceful religion. It is a false religion which teaches that unbelievers, those who do not believe Allah is God, should be killed. Islam promises paradise – that is where those men who were flying the suicide missions thought they would end up – they were quite wrong, and very surprised when they arrived at the Judgment seat of Jesus Christ. But Islam delivers violence, wickedness, and treachery. It is wholly opposed to the Bible and to Jesus Christ. Such a deceptive religion is woven by the devil himself and gloats at America’s ignorance of it all. It causes those who hold the truth of God’s Word in high esteem some level of indignation when the day of prayer for our country included the memento of a Muslim teacher. This is a tragedy, but causes the Muslims to have further victory in attempting to pass of Jihaad as something only fringe groups enact. May the wickedness of the action of these Muslims call America to investigate the seriousness of the enemy of the soul. Satan creates false religions to drag men off to hell, and men follow willingly.
Sixthly, God, in the midst of this tragedy, could be warning the nation of their wickedness, and His righteous anger against sinful practices. Jesus warned the storytellers. He warned them, all of them, that they would perish if they did not repent. America needs to heed this warning. Americans must stop displaying their wickedness, as they commonly do, and repent or perish. In Isaiah 5:18 we find that wickedness is often paraded down the street as if pulled by a rope and cart, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope.” What wickedness is America involved in? Abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, wicked lifestyles, materialism, atheism, and the like. We have killed millions of children through abortions, yet, I do not see the country coming together under a common unity to fight that wickedness. I believe it is a befitting judgment against a materialistic society we live in for God to decree the destruction of the symbol of our wealth – the World Trade Towers. Here God gives us warning of His displeasure. For judgments of this sort to a group of people, whether 18 and the tower of Siloam, or the thousands in this catastrophe, are warnings to the public nation. God can, and does, give indications of His displeasure to wicked nations. Do you recall the massive earthquake not long ago where over 100,000 were killed in India? God calls nations to repent. He calls all men everywhere to do so. We should take careful heed to these warnings, and to His temporal judgments, that we may escape the eternal judgments.
Seventhly, God, in the midst of this tragedy, could be calling the nation and all individuals to repentance for sin. I say this in a positive light since we have found a greater indication of Bible Studies and prayer in Congress and the White House. Churches held services for our leaders, and those in leadership positions are talking about God more and more. This is no doubt a call for them to turn to Christ, to trust in Him, and be delivered from the worse calamity of eternal punishment.
Lastly, God, in the midst of this tragedy, could be calling Christians to a greater witness for the Gospel. Christians are commanded to give a reason for the hope that lies within them, and to proclaim the faith as God gives them leave. From this ordeal there have been numerous Gospel opportunities. In the workplace, with family members, with neighbors, with those visiting churches that would not commonly attend, there is a great number of Gospel opportunities to witness on behalf of Jesus Christ. May this be an opportunity that does not pass us by.
In consideration of some application of the text and these thoughts to our lives, I would first point to the lost and unsaved in this world of uncertainty. If you are Christless, without Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, you are in a desperate situation – one far greater than the tragedy of falling towers or crashing planes. Take a moment and remind yourself of the falling towers. Can you picture them collapsing? The sight will live with most for the rest of their lives – it will not be forgotten. Can you imagine anyone who wanted to get close to the falling towers as they came down? No, not one. Not one person would be so foolish and stupid to run towards the towers, since in doing so they would be killed. What would you think if a news reporter caught on tape that very act – that someone, let us imagine a man, running with all his might desired to be covered with the twisted metal and rubble. You would have to say that person was insane; stark raving mad! What could cause a man to do such a thing? In Revelation 6:15-17 we find such an answer, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” When Christ returns in judgment, those who are unbelievers will desire and pray to the mountains themselves that they would fall on them. The twin towers would not be covering enough to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb, from Jesus Christ and His wrath on sin.
Men are debtors to God. They are in debt to Him on account of sin. Their sinfulness before Him elicits His wrath and anger since He is holy (cf. Isaiah 6:1ff). Jesus emphasizes this in our text. Men are not just sinful, as most would concur, but they are debtors to God. The blood of the Savior must cover men in order that they are saved from the anger of God’s holy disposition. They must repent, or they will likewise perish.
The people in those towers had no idea such calamity would be brought upon them. It came upon them in an instance. The people who were around the pool of Siloam had no idea that a tower was going to fall on them that day either. It came unexpectedly and swiftly. It came without warning. It was a tragic day on both accounts and for both groups of people. Both groups of people were living in the midst of uncertainty. God could have, and did, require their lives at any movement. Christ calls to you and says if you do not repent of your wicked and evil deeds, you will likewise perish. Repentance is more than saying “I’m sorry” and then continuing on in sin. It is a giving o yourself over to God; giving up the reigns of your life to Him. It is being change completely by the grace of God. It is essential, needful, required, or you shall likewise perish. Without Christ, you will perish in hell. A far worse fate than falling from a burning building. Men and women leaped from the burning flames of the Twin Towers into the eternal flames of God’s wrath. From one kind of flame to another. Those people now do not think the falling Twin Towers are minutely painful and terrible compared to their eternal fate under Christ’s unending wrath.
You, as a soul without Christ covering you, will go to a greater judgment. The terrorist attack was no doubt a form of judgment, but it was not a final judgment. There is not enough judgment in the world to revoke judgment in eternity to come – but enough to show that there will be a final judgment. You must give heed to hear God speak in the midst of the city. Hebrews 12:25 says, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.” It is not that the voice of God in some baritone manner spoke from heaven. He does not need to. He has already spoken in the voice of His Son who says “Repent or ye shall likewise perish!”
Finally, I must give a word to Christians in a world of uncertainty. Though you are a Christian, you still live in a world that seems uncertain. Even believers can be swept away in tragedy. With such uncertainty always looming around you, how do you handle such devastating news in light of God’s Sovereignty? In a world of uncertainty, how do you see the Sovereignty of God and His government over the world? Do you believe He is really in control? Or is your God too small? Most Americans believe God is like Zeus, or a superhero. They have some magical powers but they certainly are not in control of all things. This flies in the face of the biblical God. A renewed appreciation and awe is needed by Christians on the sovereignty of God. He is in control of everything. All things are for Him. And God sometimes speaks to His people through terrible things. He uses them as barometers to measure their trust, and the genuineness their own hearts. You may ask yourself, “where has my mind been through this whole ordeal?” Is it on Christ? Is it resting, or is it anxious? These times of self-examination humble our souls to trust in His power and sovereignty all the more. There is nothing we can do on our own. He is our all, our Help, Shield, Shepherd, and Saviour. We are even dependent on Him for every breath we take.
There are, though, things you must remember about God’s Sovereign circumstances in your life, from the smallest to the most horrible. First, God is always sovereignly in control. This breeds comfort. Not one atom in the created universe is out of His control. Not one maverick molecule running around that could thwart His work or plans. He is in control of it all. Think of those who do not have their foundations as Jesus Christ. They do not trust Jesus Christ but themselves. They build their lives on their jobs, family, cars, and other temporary possessions. Their foundation was ripped from them when the foundations of the Towers crumbled. Family members died and their hopes and dreams died with them because they did not have their eyes on Jesus Christ. Where do you build your foundation? It must be “The Rock who is higher than I…” As Psalm 40:2 says, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
Secondly, God promises to work good to His elect children, and is able to do so. That classic verse, Romans 8:28 speaks to this well, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Sometimes the circumstances that God works are devastating. But he is always working for the good of His people. He will take evil, and work it for their good, ultimately. It may not be seen right away, but we can trust that all things, i.e. every-thing, works for the benefit of the saint. If God is not absolutely sovereign, this text is meaningless for anyone. God would not have the power to work all things for good unless He had power over all things.
Lastly, God is never unmoved to the suffering of His people. Whatever you are suffering Jesus Christ is sympathetic to your cries and pleas. In John 11 we find the narrative of Lazarus, Jesus’ friend, who is sick and ready to die. Jesus is prompted to come and heal him, but Jesus does not, on purpose. Lazarus dies. It is a tragic and horrible day. Jesus, the sovereign God of the universe, decreed from ages past, that Lazarus would die. But that did not make Jesus Christ unmoved when He arrived days later at the tomb. “Look how he loved him,” the people said, as Christ wept tears for His friend. Though He is sovereign over all creation, and sovereign over every man’s destiny, He is still compassionately close to the pleadings, cries and difficulties of His elect people.
I believe these thoughts and ideas concerning God’s sovereignty and the terrorist attack can be helpful and fruitful for unbeliever and believer if we would but take time to ponder what the Bible says about God’s work among us. In a day of uncertainty, why not trust in His sovereignty?