In the American television mockumentary series, The Office, the goofy company manager Michael Scott is told by an employee that if he declares bankruptcy, all his financial problems go away. In the iconic moment that follows, Michael enters the office space and yells at the top of his lungs for everyone to hear, “I. Declare. Bankruptcy!”
Michael is later informed by another employee that simply saying the word aloud doesn’t trigger anything. He replies with confidence, “I didn’t say it. I declared it.”
It’s a comical scene from the show, but it got me to meditate seriously on all the times the Lord declares something in Scripture. Unlike Michael Scott, however, whenever the Lord declares something, he means it—and it happens.
One of these strongest declarations is recorded in the story of the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt (see Exodus 7–12). In particular, one passage puts it on dazzling display:
“You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:2-5, ESV)
There is nothing tentative about God’s declaration. He needs to ask no one’s permission. There is no wondering as to whether he has the right to make such a declaration or whether he will be able to accomplish what he has declared. He is the Lord. He can do what he wishes, when he wishes, and with whom he wishes.
No one can stop him.
The liberation from Egypt is an “I am the Lord” moment. But more than that, he is your Lord, and you are his child.
God used the liberation of his people out of slavery to display the grand, expansive glory of his sovereignty, not just for the Egyptians and the Israelites, but for every generation to follow who would read the history of this moment in his word.
Our hope, as children of God, is always him. His sovereignty over all things and his rule on our behalf give us rest and courage.
Most importantly, God’s sovereignty culminates with Jesus Christ, the savior of the world. From the Old Testament patriarchal covenants to the preservation of the line of Judah to the birth of that baby in Bethlehem, he ruled every situation, every location, every person, and every family that was necessary for human history to march toward the salvation of the world.
But it doesn’t even end there! After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, he ordained and ruled over the writing and preservation of his word. He ordained the continued preaching of the gospel until it came to your ears and created belief in your heart.
The sovereignty of God not only assures your eternal destiny, but also guarantees life in him and with him until that day comes.
Be in awe. Worship. Be grateful. Give your life to him. This is your Lord.
Paul David Tripp
1. What is something that you declared (or promised) you would do and then indeed were able to accomplish, even if partially? Next, reflect on all the elements that needed to fall into place to make this happen which were actually outside of your control.
2. What is something you declared you would do but could not follow through on because you lacked the power, control, or authority over all the elements that needed to fall into place, despite your best intentions and efforts?
3. What is something you declared you would do but did not follow through on because of a lack of character? That is, did you have a change of heart, get distracted, or speak falsely about it in the first place?
4. Contrast your lack of sovereignty to that of your Lord. Consider how he needs no help, has no limits, and does not change from what he has declared.
5. Are you experiencing something in life that is causing anxiety, confusion, panic, or pain? How does the doctrine of the sovereignty of God practically give you peace and assurance? Be specific.
6. Who do you know who is experiencing something causing anxiety, confusion, panic, or pain? How can you practically speak peace and assurance into their life using the doctrine of the sovereignty of God?
Citation: “Money.” Season 4, Episode 4, The Office, developed for American television by Greg Daniels. Original air date: October 18, 2007.