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The debt deal and divine sovereignty

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks with reporters after meeting with House Democratic leadership on the debt ceiling crises on Capitol Hill in Washington July 31, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Are there mornings when you wonder if the King is still in charge of his Kingdom?

A debt-ceiling deal yesterday was not enough to save the Dow from a tough day. U.S. stocks fell 110 points on disappointing manufacturing data and worries that ratings firms might still downgrade our government’s credit. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are happy with the arrangement, while the average American wonders what the fight means for the future of our economy.

Overseas, the Chinese government says that Islamic radicals were behind violence in which at least 19 people were killed. Islamic militants have also launched an offensive in famine-stricken Somalia. And supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have been flocking to Cairo’s Tahrir Square recently, demanding that the nation implement Islamic law.

On a morning filled with discouraging news, I have found a parable which may help. Yesterday I was doing research for a biblical commentary and discovered this illustration from Dr. A. W. Tozer, found in his classic, The Knowledge of the Holy:

“An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty.

“On board the liner are several scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port.

“Both freedom and sovereignty are present here and they do not contradict each other. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history. God moves undisturbed and unhindered toward the fulfillment of those eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began. We do not know all that is included in those purposes, but enough has been disclosed to furnish us with a broad outline of things to come and to give us good hope and firm assurance of future well-being.”

If you’re facing a tough day, know that you’re not alone. The One who holds you in the palm of his hand (John 10:28) promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). As a result, “we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (v. 6). Paul repeated the question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Who, indeed?

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