God Owns Everything. And He Owns You.

Early in my Christian life, I heard this truth: “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” Honestly, I gave it very little thought—actually, no thought at all. It was just a factoid plugged into the multitude of things I was learning about the Lord, but it had no impact on my life.

Well, recently that verse has come back into my mind. Here it is in Scripture with a bit of context:

“I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:9–10).1

The Christian God is a cattle rancher, but He owns much more than cattle. Every beast in the field is His.

The context in which this verse is found concerns Israel’s idolatry. Pagans at that time offered animals or food or money to their gods in order to placate them—and still do. The Lord was telling His people that they were making their offerings to appease Him like pagans, but He didn’t need food from them. One of the reasons He states is this:

“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?” (Psalm 50:12–13).

If He were to need food from them, the people whom He had created and chosen, He would be dependent on them. That’s not how it works. That would put them in the position of exercising some kind of control over Him their God and Creator. Thus, He would no longer be sovereign over all things but subject to His people. So, no, the Lord God Almighty doesn’t need anything at all from His people or anyone else. He is perfectly self-sufficient.

But the Lord possesses more than cattle, birds, and the beasts of the field.

“The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers” (Psalm 24:1–2).

The earth belongs to Him. Everything that dwells on the earth belongs to Him. Thus, you belong to Him. For Christians, this ownership is not onerous but marvelous.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

This sounds like a wondrous thing, doesn’t it? It is. Glorious. However, it may offend your sensibilities, but He can do to you, for you, and with you whatever He pleases. Sometimes that means calling you to speak on His behalf or go somewhere for Him. Sometimes that means discipline. Sometimes that means suffering.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:5b–6).

I thought the word “chastises” was a bit ambiguous. Perhaps “vanilla” is a better word. So, I looked it up. The constellation of meanings around chastises includes flogs, whips, and scourges.

It is a very good thing that the Christian God is a God love, mercy, and compassion, isn’t it? Can you imagine a Creator who didn’t possess these positive attributes? Yes, He disciplines us, but it is for our own good and His glory.

There is no get-out-of-being-God’s-possession card where a Christian can sail through life on a cloud of love and pleasantness. It’s a difficult life.

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).

I thought I would look up the different meanings in Greek of the word “hard.” They are crush, suffer, oppress, and afflict.

Welcome to the Christian life. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).2

Glory awaits.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles except where otherwise noted.

2The New King James Version (1982). Thomas Nelson.

Gif courtesy giphy.gif


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