Thursday, May 16, 2013

The providence of God

I've been praising God a lot lately for His Providence. I am studying the biblical doctrine of Providence. Funny, I was born in Providence, lol. God's Providence is neat.

One of the mysterious things to me about Providence is that when you look back you can see it clearly. Looking forward what we have is trust, and looking back we can see the results of that trust- His divine will accomplished providentially.

Here are two ways God intervenes in the world, and one of them is providence. It is from a sermon titled "Secrets of Contentment".
"There are two ways God can act in the world: by miracle and by providence. A miracle has no natural explanation. In the flow of normal life, God suddenly stems the tide and injects a miracle. Then He sets the flow back in motion, just like parting the Red Sea until His people could walk across and closing it up again. Do you think it would be easier to do that—to say, “Hold it, I want to do this miracle” and do it—or to say, “Let’s see, I’ve got 50 billion circumstances to orchestrate to accomplish this one thing”? The latter is providence. Think, for example, of how God providentially ordered the lives of Joseph, Ruth, and Esther. Today He does the same for us."
I find it incredibly restful to dwell in the knowledge of His sovereignty and His providence. It doesn't mean I kick back and drift like a twig down a river, doing nothing. I still pray, study, and diligently perform all the things the bible says we are to do. But I know that He is directing my steps. His providential care of me is in the best hands. What a great and glorious God we serve who providentially orders all events simultaneously to come together at every given moment to ensure His works come to pass!! How can I NOT worship a God who, from the moment He breathed life into Adam, has superintended every event at every moment to accomplish His divine will?

More importantly in terms of our worship, no one is self-sufficient, and everyone is answerable to God. Nebuchadnezzar praised God, saying,

"all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth;" (Daniel 4:35)

The sermon I linked to above concludes,
Contentment comes from learning that God is sovereign not only by supernatural intervention, but also by natural orchestration. And what an incredible orchestra it is! Appreciate the complexity of what God is doing every moment just to keep us alive. When we look at things from that perspective, we see what folly it is to think we can control our lives. When we give up that vain pursuit, we give up a major source of anxiety.
In your gratitude and prayers and praise, consider the providence of God. He preserves His own, down to the minutest detail.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." (Matthew 10:29)

His care extends to the grand plan and the smallest detail. He is benevolent and all things will work to the good of those who love him and are called to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).

I think if we were allowed to see God's providence in real form and in real time, how He connects everything to be consistent with His will and His glory, it might look like this photo by Steve Irvine for NatGeo, called Moth Trails at Night

Puritan Thomas Manton wrote of providences as one portion of our heritage. Here again we shout in gratitude-
"It is a full heritage, and nothing can be added to the completeness of our portion; for in the promises here is God, heaven, earth, providences, ordinances, all made ours, and all inward comforts and graces they are a part of our portion; and what can a soul desire more? Here is God made over to us; the great blessing of the covenant is, I am thy God. Other men say (and they will think it a great matter when they can say), This kingdom is mine, this lordship is mine, this house, these fields are mine; but a believer can say, this God, this Christ, this Holy Spirit is mine."
God is great.

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