The Sovereignty of God
By Arthur Pink
The Sovereignty of God in
"The Lord has prepared His Throne in the heavens! His Kingdom rules over all!" Psalm 103:19
First, a word concerning the need for God to govern the material world. Suppose the opposite for a moment. For the sake of argument, let us say that God created the world, designed and fixed certain laws (which men term "the laws of Nature"), and that He then withdrew, leaving the world to its fortune and the out-working of these laws. In such a case, we would have a world over which there was no intelligent, presiding Governor, a world controlled by nothing more than impersonal laws--a concept worthy of gross Materialism and blank Atheism. But, I say, suppose it for a moment; and in the light of such a supposition, weigh well the following question--What guaranty have we that some day before long, the world will not be destroyed?
A very superficial observation of "the laws of Nature" reveals the fact that they are not uniform in their working. The proof of this is seen in the fact that no two seasons are alike. If then Nature's laws are irregular in their operations, what guaranty have we against some dreadful catastrophe striking our earth? "The wind blows where it wills" (pleases), which means that man can neither harness nor hinder it. Sometimes the wind blows with great fury, and it might be that it would suddenly gather in volume and velocity, until it became a hurricane, earth-wide in its range. If there is nothing more than the laws of Nature regulating the wind, then, perhaps tomorrow, there may come a terrific tornado and sweep everything from the surface of the earth! What assurance have we against such a calamity?
Again--recently we have heard and read much about clouds bursting and flooding whole districts, wreaking fearful havoc in the destruction of both property and life. Man is helpless before them, for science can devise no means to prevent clouds from bursting. Then how do we know that these bursting-clouds will not be multiplied indefinitely, and the whole earth be deluged by their downpour? This would be nothing new--why should not the Flood of Noah's day be repeated?
And what of earthquakes? Every few years, some island or some great city is swept out of existence by one of them--and what can man do? Where is the guaranty that before long a mammoth earthquake will not destroy the whole world? Science tells us of great subterranean fires burning beneath the comparatively thin crust of our earth--how do we know but what these fires will not suddenly burst forth and consume our entire globe? Surely every reader now sees the point we are seeking to make: Deny that God is governing matter, deny that He is "upholding all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3), and all sense of security is gone!
Let us pursue a similar course of reasoning in connection with the human race. Is God governing this world of ours? Is He shaping the destinies of nations, controlling the course of empires, determining the limits of dynasties? Has He described the limits of evil-doers, saying, "Thus far shall you go--and no further?" Let us suppose the opposite for a moment. Let us assume that God has delivered over the helm into the hand of His creatures, and see where such a supposition leads us.
For the sake of argument we will say that every man enters this world endowed with a will that is absolutely free, and that it is impossible to compel or even coerce him without destroying his freedom. Let us say that every man possesses a knowledge of right and wrong, that he has the power to choose between them, and that he is left entirely free to make his own choice and go his own way. What then? Then it follows that man is sovereign, for he does as he pleases, and is the architect of his own fortune. But in such a case we can have no assurance that before long every man will reject the good and choose the evil. In such a case we have no guaranty against the entire human race committing moral suicide! Let all Divine restraints be removed and man be left absolutely free, and all ethical distinctions would immediately disappear, the spirit of barbarism would prevail universally, and pandemonium would reign supreme! Why not?
If one nation deposes its rulers and repudiates its constitution, what is there to prevent all nations from doing the same? If little more than a century ago the streets of Paris ran with the blood of rioters, what assurance have we that before the present century closes, every city throughout the world will not witness a similar sight? What is there to hinder worldwide lawlessness and universal anarchy?
Thus we have sought to show the need, the imperative need, for God to occupy the Throne, take the government upon His shoulder, and control the activities and destinies of His creatures.
But has the Christian man any difficulty in perceiving the government of God over this world? Does not the anointed eye discern, even amid much seeming confusion and chaos, the hand of the Most High controlling and shaping the affairs of men, even in the common concerns of every day life?
Take for example farmers and their crops. Suppose God left them to themselves: what would then prevent them, one and all, from grassing their cultivatable lands, and devoting themselves exclusively to the rearing of cattle and dairying? In such a case there would be a world-famine of wheat and corn! Take the work of the post-office. Suppose that everybody decided to write letters on Mondays only, could the authorities cope with the mail on Tuesdays? and how would they occupy their time the balance of the week? So again with storekeepers. What would happen if every housewife did her shopping on Wednesday, and stayed at home the rest of the week? But instead of such things happening, farmers in different countries both raise sufficient cattle and grow enough grain of various kinds to supply the almost incalculable needs of the human race; the mails are almost evenly distributed over the six days of the week; and some women shop on Monday, some on Tuesday, and so on. Do not these things clearly evidence the overruling and controlling hand of God!
Having shown, in brief, the imperative need for God to reign over our world, let us now observe still further--the fact that God does rule, actually rule, and that His government extends to and is exercised over all things and all creatures.
1. God Governs INANIMATE MATTER.
That God governs inanimate matter, that inanimate matter performs His bidding and fulfils His decrees, is clearly shown on the very frontispiece of Divine revelation. "God said, Let there be light--and there was light." God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear," and "it was so." And again, "God said, Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so." As the Psalmist declares, "He spoke--and it was done! He commanded--and it stood fast!"
What is stated in Genesis one, is afterwards illustrated all through the Bible. After the creation of Adam, sixteen centuries went by before ever a shower of rain fell upon the earth, for before Noah "there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground" (Gen. 2:6). But, when the iniquities of the antediluvians had come to the full, then God said, "Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing. Everything on earth will die!" And in fulfillment of this we read, "When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, the underground waters burst forth on the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky. The rain continued to fall for forty days and forty nights" (Gen. 6:17 and 7:11, 12).
Witness God's absolute and sovereign control of inanimate matter in connection with the plagues upon Egypt. At His bidding the light was turned into darkness; and rivers into blood; hail fell, and death came down upon the godless land of the Nile, until even its haughty monarch was compelled to cry out for deliverance. Note particularly how the inspired record here emphasizes God's absolute control over the elements, "The Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning struck the earth. The Lord sent a tremendous hailstorm against all the land of Egypt. Never in all the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such severe hail and continuous lightning. It left all of Egypt in ruins. Everything left in the fields was destroyed—people, animals, and crops alike. Even all the trees were destroyed!" (Exodus 9:23-26). The same distinction was observed in connection with the ninth plague: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Lift your hand toward heaven, and a deep and terrifying darkness will descend on the land of Egypt.' So Moses lifted his hand toward heaven, and there was deep darkness over the entire land for three days!" (Exodus 10:21-23).
The above examples are by no means isolated cases. At God's decree--fire and brimstone descended from heaven and the cities of the Plain were destroyed, and a fertile valley was converted into a loathsome sea of death. At His bidding--the waters of the Red Sea parted asunder so that the Israelites passed over dry shod; and at His word--they rolled back again and destroyed the Egyptians who were pursuing them. A word from Him--and the earth opened her mouth and Korah and his rebellious company were swallowed up. The furnace of Nebuchadnezzar was heated seven times beyond its normal temperature, and into it three of God's children were cast, but the fire did not so much as scorch their clothes, though it slew the men who cast them into it!
What a demonstration of the Creator's governmental control over the elements was furnished when He became flesh and tabernacled among men! Behold Him asleep in the boat. A storm arises. The winds roar and the waves are lashed into fury. The disciples who are with Him, fearful lest their little craft should sink, awake their Master, saying, "don't you even care that we are going to drown?" And then we read, "And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark 4:39). Mark again, the sea, at the will of its Creator, bore Him up upon its waves. At a word from Him, the fig-tree withered! At His touch, disease fled instantly!
The heavenly bodies are also ruled by their Maker and perform His sovereign pleasure. Take two illustrations. At God's bidding, the sun went back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz to help the weak faith of Hezekiah. In New Testament times, God caused a star to herald the incarnation of His Son--the star which appeared unto the wise men of the East. This star, we are told, "went before them until it came and stood over where the young Child was" (Matthew 2:9).
What a declaration is this, "He sends His command throughout the earth; His word runs swiftly. He spreads snow like wool; He scatters frost like ashes; He throws His hailstones like crumbs. Who can withstand His cold? He sends His word and melts them; He unleashes His winds, and the waters flow." (Psalm 147:15-18). The mutations of the elements are beneath God's sovereign control. It is God who withholds the rain, and it is God who gives the rain when He wills, where He wills, as He wills, and on whom He wills. Weather Bureaus may attempt to give forecasts of the weather, but how frequently God mocks their calculations! Sun 'spots,' the varying activities of the planets, the appearing and disappearing of comets (to which abnormal weather is sometimes attributed), atmospheric disturbances, are merely secondary causes, for behind them all is God Himself!
Let His Word speak once more: "I also withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest. I sent rain on one city but no rain on another. One field received rain while a field with no rain withered. Two or three cities staggered to another city to drink water but were not satisfied--yet you did not return to Me. I struck you with blight and mildew; the locust devoured your many gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees, yet you did not return to Me. I sent plagues like those of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I caused the stench of your camp to fill your nostrils, yet you did not return to Me, says the Lord." (Amos 4:7-10).
Truly, then, God governs inanimate matter. Earth and air, fire and water, hail and snow, stormy winds and angry seas, all perform the word of His power and fulfill His sovereign pleasure. Therefore, when we complain about the weather, we are, in reality, murmuring against God!
2. God Governs IRRATIONAL CREATURES.
What a striking illustration of God's government over the animal kingdom is found in Genesis 2:19! "Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air." Should it be said that this occurred in Eden, and took place before the fall of Adam and the consequent curse which was inflicted on every creature, then our next reference fully meets the objection: God's control of the beasts was again openly displayed at the Flood. Mark how God caused to "come unto" Noah, every species of living creature, "You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive" (Genesis 6:19, 20). All were beneath God's sovereign control. The lion of the jungle, the elephant of the forest, the bear of the polar regions; the ferocious panther, the untameable wolf, the fierce tiger; the high-soaring eagle and the creeping crocodile--see them all in their native fierceness, and yet, quietly submitting to the will of their Creator, and coming two by two into the ark!
We referred to the plagues sent upon Egypt as illustrating God's control of inanimate matter; let us now turn to them again to see how they demonstrate His perfect ruler-ship over irrational creatures. At His word the river brought forth frogs abundantly, and these frogs entered the palace of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and, contrary to their natural instincts, they entered the beds, the ovens and the kneading troughs! (Exodus 8:13). Swarms of flies invaded the land of Egypt, but there were no flies in the land of Goshen! (Exodus 8:22). Next, the livestock were stricken and we read, "the Lord will send a deadly plague to destroy your horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and sheep. But the Lord will again make a distinction between the property of the Israelites and that of the Egyptians. Not a single one of Israel's livestock will die! The Lord announced that he would send the plague the very next day, and He did it, just as he had said. The next morning all the livestock of the Egyptians began to die, but the Israelites did not lose a single animal from their flocks and herds!" (Exodus 9:3-6).
In like manner God sent clouds of locusts to plague Pharaoh and his land, appointing the time of their visitation, determining the course and assigning the limits of their destructions.
Angels are not the only ones who do God's bidding. The brute beasts equally perform His pleasure. The sacred ark, the ark of the covenant, is in the country of the Philistines. How is it to be brought back to its homeland? Mark the servants of God's choice, and how completely they were beneath His control: "Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth-Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance." And what happened? How striking the sequel! "The cows went straight up the road to Beth-Shemesh. They stayed on that one highway, lowing as they went; they never strayed to the right or to the left!" (1 Sam. 6:12).
Equally striking is the case of Elijah: "Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah--Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there." (1 Kings 17:2-4). The natural instinct of these birds of prey was held in subjection, and instead of consuming the food themselves, they carried it to Jehovah's servant in his solitary retreat!
Is further proof required? then it is ready to hand. God makes a dumb donkey to rebuke the prophet's madness. He sends forth two female bears from the woods to devour forty-two of Elijah's tormentors. In fulfillment of His word, He causes the dogs to lick up the blood of the wicked Jezebel. He seals the mouths of Babylon's lions when Daniel is cast into the den, though, later, He causes them to devour the prophet's accusers. He prepares a great fish to swallow the disobedient Jonah and then, when His ordained hour struck, compelled it to vomit him forth onto dry land. At His bidding a fish carries a coin to Peter for tax money! In order to fulfill His word, He makes the rooster to crow twice after Peter's denial. Thus we see that God reigns over irrational creatures: beasts of the field, birds of the air, fish of the sea--all perform His sovereign bidding.
3. God Governs All People.
We fully appreciate the fact that this is the most difficult part of our subject, and, accordingly, it will be dealt with at greater length in the pages that follow; but at present we consider the fact of God's government over men in general, before we attempt to deal with the problem in detail.
Two alternatives confront us, and between them we obliged
Either God governs--or He is governed.
Either God rules--or He is ruled.
Either God has His way--or men have theirs.
And is our choice between these alternatives hard to make? Shall we say that in man we behold a creature so unruly that he is beyond God's control? Shall we say that sin has alienated the sinner so far from the thrice Holy One that he is outside the pale of His jurisdiction? Or, shall we say that man has been endowed with moral responsibility, and therefore God must leave him entirely free, at least during the period of his probation? Does it necessarily follow because the natural man is an outlaw against heaven, a rebel against the Divine government, that God is unable to fulfill His purpose through him? We mean, not merely that He may overrule the effects of the actions of evil-doers, nor that He will yet bring the wicked to stand before His judgment-bar so that sentence of punishment may be passed upon them--multitudes of non-Christians believe these things--but, we mean, that every action of the most lawless of His subjects is entirely beneath His control, yes that the actor is, though unknown to himself, carrying out the secret decrees of the Most High God. Was it not thus with Judas? and is it possible to select a more extreme case? If then the arch-rebel was performing the counsel of God--is it any greater tax upon our faith to believe the same of all rebels?
Our present object is not philosophic inquiry nor metaphysical causistry, but to ascertain the teaching of Scripture upon this profound theme. To the Law and the Testimony, for there alone can we learn of the Divine government--its character, its design, its mode of operation, its scope. What then has it pleased God to reveal to us in His blessed Word concerning His rule over the works of His hands, and particularly, over the one who originally was made in His own image and likeness?
"In Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). What a sweeping assertion is this! These words, be it noted, were addressed, not to one of the churches of God, not to a company of saints who had reached an exalted plane of spirituality, but to a heathen audience, to those who worshiped "the unknown God" and who "mocked" when they heard of the resurrection of the dead. And yet, to the Athenian philosophers, to the Epicureans and Stoics--the apostle Paul did not hesitate to affirm that they lived and moved and had their being in God, which signified not only that they owed their existence and preservation to the One who made the world and all things therein, but also that their very actions were encompassed and therefore controlled by the Lord of heaven and earth. Compare Daniel 5:23, "God who holds your life-breath in His hand and who controls the whole course of your life!"
"The disposings of the heart, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:1). Mark that the above declaration is of general application--it is of "man," not simply of believers, that this is predicated. "A man's heart devises his way--but the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). If the Lord directs the steps of a man, is it not proof that he is being controlled or governed by God? Again, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand" (Proverbs 19:21). Can this mean anything less than, that no matter what man may desire and plan--it is the will of his Maker which is executed? As an illustration take the "Rich Fool". The "devices" of his heart are made known to us, "And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops? And he said, This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Such were the "devices" of his heart, nevertheless it was "the counsel of the Lord" that stood. The "I will's" of the rich man came to nothing, for "God said unto him, You fool, this night shall your soul be required of you" (Luke 12:17-20).
"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases." (Proverbs 21:1). What could be more explicit? Out of the heart are "the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23), for as a man "thinks in his heart--so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). If then the heart is in the hand of the Lord, and if "He directs it wherever He will," then is it not clear that men, yes, governors and rulers, and so all men, are completely beneath the governmental control of the Almighty!
No limitations must be placed upon the above declarations. To insist that some men, at least, do thwart God's will and overturn His counsels, is to repudiate other scriptures equally explicit. Weigh well the following: "But He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desires--even that He does" (Job 23:13). "The counsel of the Lord stands forever--the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Psalm 33:11). "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord" (Proverbs 21:30). "For the Lord Almighty has purposed--and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out--and who can turn it back?" (Isaiah 14:27). "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else! I am God, and there is none like Me, 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!" (Isaiah 46:9, 10). There is no ambiguity in these passages. They affirm in the most unequivocal and unqualified terms--that it is impossible to baffle the purpose of Jehovah.
We read the Scriptures in vain, if we fail to discover that the actions of men, evil men as well as good, are governed by the Lord God.
Nimrod and his fellows determined to erect the tower of Babel, but before their task was accomplished God frustrated their plans.
God called Abraham "alone" (Isaiah 51:2), but his kinsfolk accompanied him as he left Ur of the Chaldees. Was then the will of the Lord defeated? Nay, truly. Mark the sequel. Terah died before Canaan was reached (Genesis 11:31), and though Lot accompanied his uncle into the land of promise, he soon separated from him and settled down in Sodom.
Jacob was the child to whom the inheritance was promised, and though Isaac sought to reverse Jehovah's decree and bestow the blessing upon Esau, his efforts came to nothing. Esau again swore vengeance upon Jacob, but when next they met they wept for joy--instead of fighting in hate.
The brethren of Joseph determined his destruction, but their evil counsels were overthrown. Pharaoh refused to let Israel carry out the instructions of Jehovah and perished in the Red Sea for his pains. Balak hired Balaam to curse the Israelites, but God compelled him to bless them. Haman erected a gallows for Mordecai--but was hanged upon it himself. Jonah resisted the revealed will of God--but what became of his efforts?
Ah, the heathen may "rage" and the people imagine a "vain thing"; the kings of the earth may "set themselves", and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Christ, saying, "Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us" (Psalm 2:1-3). But is the great God perturbed or disturbed by the rebellion of His puny creatures? No, indeed! "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh! The Lord shall have them in derision!" (v. 4). He is infinitely exalted above all, and the greatest confederacies of earth's pawns, and their most extensive and vigorous preparations to defeat His purpose are, in His sight, altogether futile. He looks upon their puny efforts, not only without any alarm--but He "laughs" at their folly! He treats their impotency with "derision." He knows that He can crush them like moths when He pleases, or consume them in a moment with the breath of His mouth. Ah, it is but "a vain thing" for the potsherds of the earth to strive with the glorious Majesty of Heaven. Such is our God! Worship Him!
Mark, too, the sovereignty which God displayed in His dealings with men! Moses who was slow of speech, and not Aaron his elder brother who was fluent of speech, was the one chosen to be His ambassador in demanding from Egypt's monarch the release of His oppressed people. Moses again, though greatly beloved, utters one hasty word and was excluded from Canaan; whereas Elijah, passionately murmurs and suffers but a mild rebuke, and was afterwards taken to heaven without seeing death!
Uzzah merely touched the ark and was instantly slain, whereas the Philistines carried it off in insulting triumph and suffered no immediate harm. Displays of grace which would have brought a doomed Sodom to repentance, failed to move an highly privileged Capernaum. Mighty works which would have subdued Tyre and Sidon, left the upbraided cities of Galilee under the curse of a rejected Gospel. If they would have prevailed over the former, why were they not wrought there? If they proved ineffectual to deliver the latter--then why perform them? What exhibitions are these of the sovereign will of the Most High!
4. God Governs Angels--both Good and Evil Angels.
The angels are God's servants, His messengers, His chariots. They ever hearken to the word of His mouth and do His commands. "God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, Stop! That is enough! Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath." (1 Chron. 21:15, 27). Many other scriptures might be cited to show that the angels are in subjection to the will of their Creator and perform His bidding, "Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from all that the Jewish people expected." (Acts 12:11). "And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done" (Revelation 22:6). So it will be when our Lord returns: "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness" (Matthew 13:41). Again, we read, "He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matthew 24:31).
The same is true of evil angels: they, too, fulfill God's sovereign decrees. An evil spirit is sent by God to stir up rebellion in the camp of Abimelech: "Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem,. . . which aided him in the killing of his brethren" (Judges 9:23). Another evil spirit He sent to be a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets, "Now therefore, behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets, and the Lord has spoken evil concerning you" (1 Kings 22 :23). And yet another was sent by the Lord to trouble Saul, "But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him" (1 Sam. 16:14). So, too, in the New Testament: a whole legion of the demons go out of their victim--but not until the Lord gave them permission to enter the herd of swine.
It is clear from Scripture, then, that the angels, good and evil, are under God's control, and willingly or unwillingly carry out God's purpose. Yes, Satan himself is absolutely subject to God's control. When arraigned in Eden, he listened to the awful sentence--but answered not a word. He was unable to touch Job until God granted him permission. So, too, he had to gain our Lord's consent before he could "sift" Peter. When Christ commanded him to depart, "Go away, Satan!" we read, "Then the Devil left Him" (Matthew 4:11). And, in the end, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire, which has been prepared for him and his demons.
The Lord God omnipotent reigns! His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over all men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself. No revolving world, no shining of star, no storm, no creature moves, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of Devil--nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass, otherwise than what God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation for faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil--but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory!
"There's not a sparrow nor a worm,
But's found in His decrees,
He raises monarchs to their thrones
And sinks as He may please!"