Read: Romans 11:33-36
Back in 1985, the British band Tears for Fears hit the top of the Billboard chart with their song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” According to BMI, the song was played on the radio over 2 million times in the first ten years of its release. So, chances are that you’ve heard it. In case it’s been a while since you listened to cheesy ’80′s music, here’s a sampling of the song’s lyrics:
Its my own design/ Its my own remorse Help me to decide/ Help me make the most Of freedom and of pleasure/ Nothing ever lasts forever Everybody wants to rule the world
I know, I know, it doesn’t make much sense to me either. But, band member Curt Smith once said that the song was intended to be very meaningful: “The concept is quite serious – it’s about everybody wanting power…and the misery it causes.” I’m not sure the lyrics of the song quite convey those ideas (seriously, what does any of that stuff mean?). Still, I think the song shows us something about human nature.
Everybody wants to be king. Everybody wants to be in control. I think we can all admit to the fact that we want to be in charge. We all want to have the final say over what happens in our lives. In fact, it can be quite frustrating when we don’t get our way. Even if we could never rule the entire world, we still want to rule the world around us.
Unfortunately, our desires to rule the world come to a screeching halt once we start talking about God’s sovereignty. The Bible is clear on the fact that there is only One God. There is no one like Him in all of creation. He alone is sovereign. He alone is good. He alone is King. He alone rules the world. Everybody wants to rule the world; God is the only One who does.
This may be one of the hardest lessons for us to learn. The desire to be in control is so ingrained in us that we have a hard time accepting God’s control of our lives. We are so stubborn that it’s hard for us to allow Him to be King. But, God is still King – whether we allow Him to be or not. God’s power is not diminished by our unwillingness to follow. If anything, our stubbornness to give Him control only reveals our ignorance of who He is.
Of all the characters in the Bible, it is Job who perhaps illustrates this best. In the course of one afternoon, Job lost everything He had. His wealth disappeared, his home was destroyed and his children died in a freak accident. Job suffered more in a single day than some of us will suffer in an entire lifetime. For much of the book of Job, this man of suffering spends time asking God for answers. He wants to know why all of these terrible things have happened to him. He wants God to give an account for these events – as if God had to answer to him. Yet, I think this falls perfectly in line with the problem we all have. Job wanted to rule the world. He wanted to call the shots. When he couldn’t, he questioned God about it. For a time, it seemed as though God would be silent on the issue. Then, when He finally did answer Job’s questions in Job 38-41, it wasn’t pretty. Just look at the following passages:
Read: Job 38:1-7
Read: Job 40:6-9
Ultimately, God never answered Job’s questions about suffering. Instead, God merely pointed Job towards His greatness. God alone created this world. He made everything we see. God alone is just. He will always do what is right. Rather than giving Job an explanation for suffering, God appealed to who He is and what He has done. He is the King. As a result of that truth, we need to recognize that we are not. Our role is not to rule; our role is one of submission and worship. As Job himself said in Job 42:2-6:
“I know that you [God] can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted… Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know… My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
When we see who God is – when we look at all He’s done – the only appropriate response is to submit ourselves to Him. He deserves our worship. More than that, He deserves our trust. Everybody may want to rule the world, but there is only one King. The sooner we give up trying to chase His role, the sooner we’re going to understand what this life is really all about.
1. How have you tried to usurp God’s role? What practical things can you do to remind yourself that He alone is King?
2. Read Psalm 56:10-11? What difference does trusting in God make?