God, the Ruler of Nations

Posted on November 5, 2020


By David Ettinger

Too Much Bluster
This world is filled with bluster – spewing forth loud boasts and bold declarations, but delivering little. Rulers are great at this, promising much but fulfilling only a smidgen of their vows.

Often, these rulers are gods unto themselves, believing in their own immortality. They scoff at the notion of a God who created all things, One who is bigger than they. Despite their scoffing, this God does exist, and He has a message for them: You may rule your plot of land on Planet Earth, but I rule the entire universe – including you and your miniscule nation.

No Comparison
Though rulers regard themselves as big shots, they are feeble and paltry compared to God. The Lord illustrates this in one of the most soaring chapters of the Bible, Isaiah 40. In verse 17, the prophet declares: “Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.”

This is not to say that God does not care about the individual men, women, and children who make up nations, but as political entities who think they control their own destinies, they are fraudulent, anemic, and control nothing. With a mere thought, God can obliterate any nation, turning its glory into ashes.

As political entities, the nations of the world are “worthless” to God, meaning they bring Him no delight or benefit. In this way, the nations are as “nothing” to Him.

The Supreme and Only Ruler
A few verses down, God is envisioned as not only the supreme Ruler of the universe, but as the only Ruler of the universe. As such, He has complete authority over the events of Earth, doing whatever He wishes, including the establishing and removal of rulers. Verses 21-24 read:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle [horizon] of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.”

Powerful! The prophet expresses incredulity and amazement at how the world does not (or perhaps, refuses to) recognize that God is the Creator of all things. The world, in general, will not accept the fact that God is enthroned in Heaven, looking down upon the events of Earth.

Not only is God observing what is happening on Earth, He is also intimately involved in these events. In fact, it is God who controls them. God is the One who “brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (v. 23).

Think of history’s most famous rulers: the Pharaohs; the Jewish kings; the kings/emperors of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires; the European monarchs; the chairmen of communist countries; the presidents of the U.S. God has figured prominently in their ascension and decline.    

The Lord also regulates the rise and fall of kingdoms, empires, nations, and political movements. No sooner do rulers and countries take hold of power than the Lord “blows on them and they whither” (v. 24).

In Control!
Yes, Satan is “the ruler [though not the ultimate ruler] of this world” (John 14:30) and the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), and as such wields much control over this sinful world system. God, however, is the Ruler of the entire universe, and has total authority over Satan and the human rulers he commands.

As our world continues to spin further and further out of control, remember that we worship a God who is seated on His throne, governs the events of the world in the ultimate sense, and is in absolute control of Planet Earth. Basking in such truth, let us rejoice in the words of Psalm 56:11: “In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?”

David Ettinger is a writer/editor at Zion’s Hope, Inc., and has written for Zion’s Fire magazine since its inception in 1990.