5 Word Studies on God’s Sovereignty

“For the LORD Most High is awesome: He is a great King over the all the earth.” —Psalm 47:2

“Almighty” (Hebrew shadday) This divine name in Hebrew is ‘El Shadday. ‘El means God, and Shadday is probably related to the Akkadian word for “mountain,” or to a Hebrew verb meaning “mighty.” God is “mountainlike.” He is powerful, majestic, awe–inspiring, and enduring. Just like a mountain, He provides a shelter from the elements and from evil (Ps. 91:1). Therefore, ‘El Shadday can mean “Majestic Deity” or “the God Who Provides My Refuge.”

“prepared” (Hebrew manah) In the book of Jonah, it signifies “to appoint” or “to ordain,” and describes God’s intervention in natural events to bring about His will. By preparing the fish, the plant, and the worm, God made sure that Jonah’s mission was not left to chance. God exercised sovereignty not only over the plant and animal world, but also over Jonah’s life, using animals as small as a worm to teach Jonah about His Great mercy (Jonah 4:6–8).

“Lord of Sabaoth” (Greek kurios Sabaoth) The name means “the Lord of hosts,” “the Lord of armies,” or “the Master of creation.” It was suitable for James to use this familiar Old Testament title (Ps. 24:10) in a letter to Jewish Christians, for they would have understood that the choice of this particular name of God was especially appropriate in this context. The rich oppress the poor because they think no one will stand up for them. But the Lord of all the hosts of heaven and earth is their Defender, and He is coming back to make all things right (James 5:7).

“the Almighty” (Greek pantokrator) The Greek word means “one who has power over everything”—in other words, the One in total control. God commands all the hosts of powers in heaven and earth, and He is able to overcome all His foes. The title Almighty occurs often in Revelation as this book unveils God’s awesome control over all the universe and throughout all history.

“jealous” (Hebrew qanno’) One of God’s names is Jealous (Ex. 34:14). When the expression “the Lord your God is a jealous God” is used in the Old Testament, it is usually associated with an injunction against idol worship. God’s jealousy for His people is a claim for exclusive allegiance rooted in His holiness (Josh. 24:19) and His role as their Creator and Redeemer (Ps. 95:6-7; 96:2–5). We tend to associate jealousy with a self–serving emotion that usually results from feelings of inadequacy. God’s jealousy, in contrast, proceeds from His Holiness. Because He alone is the Holy One (Is. 6:3), He will tolerate no rival (Ex. 20:5).

How were you reminded of God’s sovereignty today?

These Word Study excerpts are drawn from selected studies on the topic of Sovereignty in the NKJV Study Bible.

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