A God Above Nations

Despite the strife in our nation, God remains seated in authority on high with the earth as his footstool.

The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 113:4)

I am sure that the events last week in Washington D.C. surprised, shocked, and perhaps even scared many of us. Whatever your opinion on the politics, I think that we would all agree that a riot and breaking into the capitol building is not the answer. While we cherish our freedoms and liberties as a country, as Christians we recognize that this world is not our home. Our hope is not here; it is in heaven from where the Lord Jesus Christ reigns.

The Lord is above the nations, including our nation. Whatever we make of our nation’s history and the culmination of recent events, we also know that our God is sovereign and above all these things. His glory is higher than any glory we will find in cherished American values of liberty. During these times, we must remember where our hope is. What is your ultimate pursuit?

We are to worship the Lord, bless the Lord, and be driven by a passion for his glory. America may rise; America may fall; but God’s glory will not waver. God’s glory and the accomplishment of his purpose is not tied to our country’s destiny. God’s kingdom and America’s fate are not intertwined. God is above all the nations.

Consider how far above these things the Lord is. He sits above the heavens and looks down on them. It is a picture of a sovereign king ruling over all things. He will one day accomplish his perfect peace as his kingdom is made manifest over all the earth. Hebrews reminds us that the Lord Jesus reigns now with all things under his feet, even if we do not yet see all things under his feet (Heb. 2:8). It is a difference of the objective and the subjective. Objectively, Jesus is king over all things. God “left nothing outside of his [the Son’s] control” in the Son’s exaltation. But subjectively, we do not always see this reality. Some days in our lives it does not feel like Jesus has conquered sin and death. Especially on weeks like last week, it is harder to see what we know to be true. But we need to cling to truth not our feelings.

With the Lord’s exaltation over all things, we are not to think that he is a distant and unconcerned God. He is not the God of deism where he is detached from his creation and uncaring. Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” The Lord looks upon the lowly and the needy. Our psalm tells us he raises them up. The Lord has a particular compassion on those with great needs, including those in poverty. Countless places in Scripture, we are told God humbles the self-exalted and exalts the humble. He watches over orphans and widows, which in the ancient world were some of the most neglected and abandoned people in society.

Consider Samuel’s mother, Hannah. She was barren and desperate for a child. She wanted to experience the blessing of the Lord and have one who would inherit the riches of the blessings of God’s promised land. The Lord answered her prayer. While the Lord doesn’t answer every prayer exactly the same way, he still lavishes mercy and grace upon those who come before him in their seasons of trouble and trials. Hannah’s own song is very similar to the words of Psalm 113:

The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and on them he has set the world. (1 Samuel 2:7)

The Lord is not impressed by the size and strength of nations. He is not honored by acts of violence. Nations and individuals who exalt themselves and take pride in their strength and power will find the Lord humbling them. God finds delight when our character mirrors him—when we are concerned for the poor, the lowly, and the needy like he is.

Sing praise to the Lord. Bless his name. We are to trust him above all else and walk humbly before God. Those who seize power, self-aggrandize, and exalt themselves will be humbled in the Lord’s timing. Those who humble themselves in worship of God, even if they are trampled by men, will find themselves lifted up to sing praises before the King of Kings.

Tim Bertolet

Tim Bertolet serves with ABWE as Director of Instructional Design and Theological Education. He’s served in pastoral ministry for sixteen years and knows the life of an MK firsthand. With a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of Pretoria, and degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary and Lancaster Bible College, he specializes in Bible and theology and is passionate about applying it to life and ministry. Tim’s also an adjunct professor, research fellow with BibleMesh, and a published author. Tim lives in York, Pa. with his wife and kids. He enjoys reading, writing, science fiction, and gardening roses.