A decree is a command, order, or resolution issued by a ruler or other authority. In the Bible, decrees were often made in response to a specific situation or need. For example, after the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt, God gave them a decree prohibiting them from worshiping any other god but Him (Exodus 34:14).
Thus, decrees serve as a way to communicate God’s will to His people. They provide guidance and instructions for living a godly life. Also, decrees serve as a reminder of God’s power and authority. When we obey His decrees or commands, we submit to His sovereignty and acknowledge that He is in control.
What Are Decrees of God?
The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things and that He has a plan for the world. This plan is revealed through His Word and accomplished through His decrees. The decrees of God are His declarations or pronouncements that He has made in working out His plan in the various ages. For example, the decree of God to Abraham was that he would be the father of many nations. This decree was fulfilled when Abraham’s descendants became the nation of Israel.
In the same way, the decree of God to Moses was that he would lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. This decree was fulfilled when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. The decrees of God extend to His creation of the universe, His plan of salvation for humankind, and His providence over all things. Consequently, we can trust that God is sovereign over all things and that He will fulfill His promises.
In the Bible, some verses contain decrees made by God. They are the following:
1. Concerning the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back (Isaiah 14:26-27).
This verse reveals that God has a great plan for the world and that no one can stop Him from carrying it out. Therefore, we can trust that God is sovereign over all things and that He will fulfill His promises.
2. For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention (Isaiah 46:9-10).
This decree shows that God controls everything, as He knows the end from the beginning. There is nothing that will happen that will take Him by surprise. His purpose will always stand, and He will always fulfill His intentions.
This is reassuring, especially when our lives don’t seem to go as we had hoped or planned. We can trust that God is still in control and that He has a plan for us, even when we can’t see it.
3. And He does what he wills with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What are you doing?” (Daniel 4:35).
This verse tells us that no one can question or stop God’s actions. He is sovereign over all and does as He pleases. Questioning God is equivalent to questioning His wisdom, which is folly. Therefore, we must trust that God knows what He is doing, even when we don’t understand His ways.
4. Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
The key phrase in this passage is “after the counsel of His will.” This means that God has a significant plan for us, and He is working out that plan. For instance, we should not be anxious about something that bothers us, as God knows our pain and will never let us stray. We just need to hold on and trust His process. After all, God’s decree is based on His love for us and His desire to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
What Are the Specifics of God’s Decrees?
The Scripture has provided specifics about God’s decrees so we can understand them better.
1. The Universe’s stability
“Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; you established the earth, and it stands. They stand this day according to your ordinances, for all things are your servants.” (Psalm 119:89-91).
Based on this decree, the universe will always remain stable because God has established it. Additionally, everything in the universe is subject to God and His ordinances.
This means that we can trust that the world will not come to an abrupt end. And we can also trust that things will happen according to God’s plan, even though we may not always understand that plan. We can be confident that God is in control and that His plan will ultimately be accomplished, no matter what we see happening in the world around us.
2. Humans’ free acts
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).
This decree emphasizes that humans can act either in a good or evil way, as we were given free will. This free will allows us to love God and others or sin against them. When we follow His commands, we’ll walk in His good works. However, when we sin, we are not following His decrees and going against His will for our lives.
God has a plan for us and wants us to follow it. But, He also gives us the freedom to choose whether or not we will follow Him. Therefore, we must be careful to make choices that will please God rather than sin against Him.
3. The nations’ circumstances
“From one man, he made all nations inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live.” (Acts 17:26).
This verse speaks of the sovereignty of God over the nations. He has appointed their times of existence and the boundaries of their dwelling places. Everything that may be found inside those bounds, including the people who live there, is subject to the all-encompassing authority of God.
In Genesis, we read about God’s decree that Abraham would be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). This was a part of God’s plan to bless all humankind through Abraham and his descendants. As Abraham’s descendants, we are included in this blessing.
4. Humans’ lifespan
“Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you; and his limits you have set so that he cannot pass.” (Job 14:5).
God has decreed the number of our days, and we are not to exceed that. Based on this decree, we must all die one day. “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). This is why we should make the most of our time because it is limited. We don’t know when our time will end, so we should live each day to the fullest. This can be done by using our lives to serve God and others.
5. How each person will die
“Now this he said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, ‘Follow me!’.” (John 21:19).
God has also planned how each person will die. For some, death will come quickly and unexpectedly. Others will suffer for years with a terminal illness. Still, others will experience an “accidental” death. But God knows the day and hour of our death even before we are born (Psalm 139:16).
Hebrews tells us that it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that, the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Appointments are not always something we look forward to. But when we know that God has ordained or appointed something, we can be confident that it is for our good. And even though death is often viewed as an enemy, it is really a friend. It has been appointed for us to enter into God’s presence, given that we have put our faith in Jesus Christ.
6. Believers and their salvation
“But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.”(1 Corinthians 2:7).
This verse tells us that God has hidden wisdom that He predestined before the ages. What does this mean? It means that there are things that God has decreed that we may not understand now, but one day will. In His perfect timing, God has set these things in place and will bring them to pass.
One example of this is salvation. God has decreed that all who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, will be saved (John 17:20). This decree was made before the foundation of the world and will be accomplished in God’s perfect timing. Knowing that our salvation depends not on us but God’s perfect plan is a comfort.
7. The establishment of Christ’s kingdom
But each in his order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christ’s at his coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:23).
The Kingdom of Christ was not fully established until after His resurrection and ascension. It is an everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed or given to other people. God decreed the establishment of this kingdom before the foundation of the world. Therefore, it is not something that man can stop since it is an eternal kingdom that will never end, meaning we will live in His presence forever.
In addition, the establishment of the kingdom of Christ was a direct result of the finished work of Christ on the cross. He died, was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures. His resurrection from the dead proved He is who He said He was–the Son of God.
Finally, establishing Christ’s kingdom means God has always planned for us to be a part of His kingdom. We are His royal family and should be responsible for living according to His laws. This implies that we are called to be salt and light in the world. We are commanded to spread the gospel and make disciples.
What Are the Benefits of Understanding God’s Decrees?
By understanding God’s decrees, we gain the following benefits:
1. We gain confidence in God because we understand His plans are always good.
2. We are humbled as we cannot always understand what God is doing, but we can trust that He knows what He is doing.
3. We are given enough warnings and guidance so that we may repent and turn from our sins.
4. We gain hope for the future because we know that God’s plans will always come to pass.
Decrees in the Bible are commands or instructions ordered by the Almighty God. When we obey them, we will be blessed. However, when we disobey them, we will suffer the consequences. Thus, it is essential to be mindful of our actions and attitude in following His decrees so we can reap the reward of eternal life with Him.