Psalm 24, verse 1 (quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10)
“The earth is the Lords, and everything in it, and all who live in it.”
Psalm 50, verse 10
“For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
Psalm 50, verse 11
“For I know every bird in the mountains, and every insect in the field is mine.”
Psalm 50 verse 12
“…for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”
Ezekiel 18 verse 4
For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child – both alike belong to me.
Haggai 2 verse 8
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty.”
Psalm 22 verses 27 and 28
“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations.”
In other words, God owns it all. The Bible makes that very clear. That means every person, animal, every mountain and valley, every tree, every blade of grass, and every grain of sand belongs to God. The earth, and everything in it, is His.
For us, as followers of Jesus Christ, this is a given. But let’s stop for a moment and consider what it means when the Bible says “everything.” The passages I referenced speak of things that are tangible, things can be visibly seen and touched. They speak of material possessions and money. But I don’t believe God’s ownership is limited to just tangible things. His ownership extends to things that are not seen. It includes our joys, our sorrows, our highs and lows, our successes and failures. It includes our thoughts and our emotions. And It includes all our struggles, our troubles, and the problems we face everyday.
Just so we’re clear, God is not to blame for all the trouble and misery and suffering in the world. All of that came about when sin entered the world. That’s another subject for another time. When I say God owns it all, everything that is seen and unseen, I’m simply following the logic trail and reaching what I believe is a logical conclusion. We are His. God owns our very lives and His ownership is all inclusive. He owns every aspect of our lives here on earth.
All too often, we try to fight our way through trials and difficulties ourselves instead of relinquishing control and giving them over to God. In 2nd Chronicles chapter 20, we’re told that the people of Judah were being threatened by a very sizeable army that was getting ready to invade their land. God told King Jehoshaphat, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but the Lord’s”. Those words can be applied in our lives today. Whatever it is we’re faced with, the battle is not ours, but God’s. How different do you think the outcome would have been if Jehoshaphat had replied, “That’s okay God, I got this. I’ll take it from here.” ?
So what is your battle? Is it a prodigal child? Is it financial difficulty or the loss of a job? Is it a difficult boss or co-worker? Is it an illness or a physical disability? According to the word of God, the battle is not yours, but the Lord’s. I don’t believe for even a fraction of a second that I’m taking that passage out of context and here’s why I believe that. When you acknowledge that the battle is God’s, you’re acknowledging God’s sovereignty over that situation, his ownership of it, if you will. Because we belong to Him, all that we have is His and that includes everything that is in any way connected to our lives here on earth. The earth…..and EVERYTHING in it….
Acknowledging God’s ownership and sovereignty requires submission. We submit to His rule and authority. Submission requires trust. In John 14, at the very beginning of the chapter, Jesus spoke these words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” In Psalm 73, Asaph was troubled by the wickedness of the people around him and could not fathom why the wicked prospered while righteous people were subjected to mistreatment and abuse. He did not understand until, as we’re told in verse 17, he entered the sanctuary of God. In other words, he was so troubled by what he saw, he had to give it over to God. It was not until Asaph relinquished control of the thing that was tormenting him that he came to understand that the owner of all creation, God, will ultimately deal with the wicked. And when Asaph came to that understanding, that was the moment he placed his trust in God. That is true for us as well.
With all that said, I need to point out that God is not a cosmic genie who instantly makes our troubles go away when we give them over to him. As Christians, we understand that. Quite often, even when we place our trust and faith in Christ, the problems that plague our lives persist. The abuses witnessed by Asaph did not go away, but acknowledging God’s ownership of that situation allowed him to gain proper understanding of justice as viewed from God’s perspective. It gave him a Kingdom perspective as opposed to an earthly perspective.
So as Christians, we understand that problems sometimes persist even when we give them to God. It’s something we just accept. And the reason we accept it so readily has to do with what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The reason we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty over the troubles we face – according to Paul – is twofold. First, our present sufferings are only temporary to begin with, and second, we need to spend our limited time on earth working for the glory of God. Therefore, give the battle to God. It was his all along anyway. He has more important work for us to do! And He has plenty of work for us to do. And bear in mind that God’s sovereignty and ownership of our lives does not in any way negate our responsibilities to do the work He calls us to do. God does His part and He expects us to do ours.
God owns the things that bring us joy, like the birth of a child or grandchild. He owns the joy that comes from landing a great job or getting that promotion or buying your first home. He owns our jobs, and our careers, and all our accomplishments. When we’re experiencing life’s joyful times, when we’re enjoying success, it’s far too easy for us to pat our own backs and take the credit that rightfully belongs to God. All that we have comes from God and it belongs to God. Job figured this out thousands of years ago. After losing everything he simply said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job reasoned that it was all God’s to start with.
Finally, in John chapter 10, Jesus said no one can snatch us out of our Father’s hands. God’s ownership of our lives includes our eternal destiny which was secured the moment we trusted in Jesus Christ as our savior. But here is where God’s ownership takes on even more importance in the lives of believers. As God the creator, He owns all that He created. That’s simple enough. But when it comes to the salvation of our souls, He is not just God our creator, he is God our redeemer. He owns our lives and our very souls and the redemption of our souls was not free. It came at a high cost. Twice, the Apostle Pauls tells the Corinthian believers, “You were bought at a price.” That price was the blood of Jesus Christ.
So next time you hear a pastor or teacher say that God owns the earth…and everything in it, stop and think about what that truly means. Reflect on it. Dwell on it. And be thankful that He loved us so much, that He was willing to pay the price that redeemed our souls.
To our Lord Jesus Christ be the glory!