The Providence of God

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The Providence of God

God provides what we need to do His work

By Don Ruhl

How is it that each of us has made it to this day? Think of what you have endured during your life on earth. It is as though Someone is watching over you!

That is precisely what the Bible says, Someone watches over us, providing us with what we need in this life, that we might see He will provide us with things not of this world also. We call this the providence of God.

We should know of His workings in our lives, because He cares for us and loves us very much. Some things He does for us whether we know He does it or not, and whether we care for Him or not. Other things He wants to do for us or give to us because we want them.

First, let us understand the difference between miracles and providence.

Miracles and Providence 

What is a miracle? A miracle temporarily suspends a law of nature. It is not simply an anomaly in nature that we cannot explain. A miracle is God interrupting the laws of nature for a spiritual purpose.

Jesus walked on water when He suspended gravity. Jesus turned water into wine instantly when He bypassed the vine and the processing. He did miracles to show that He came from God. Others did miracles to prove they had a message from God.

What is providence? It is not unusual to read early Americans referencing Providence. For example, the last sentence of The Declaration of Independence says, “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

They recognized that God worked in their lives, and in the life of the new nation, doing so through the normal processes of earth. He did not suspend any natural laws.

Miracles and providence both manifest the working of God. God by miraculous power created nature and its laws. With both miracles and providence God intervenes in nature. One is not greater than the other. We think of miracles as greater because they are rare and different. However, nature is the result of a miracle.

Providence is God continuing to work. God put natural laws in motion that continue until He does something, but it can also mean that He manipulates those laws non-miraculously.

Miracles were obvious. Providence is not always obvious. Therefore, we cannot always discern whether God did something.

Mordecai’s words in Esther 4 show that he could not be certain why Esther became queen. However, that did not matter. He believed that whatever the reason she needed to take advantage of it, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est 4.14).

The Letter to Philemon shows that the Holy Spirit-inspired Paul, could not be sure whether God did something or not, “For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever…” (Phm 15).

If Paul and Mordecai could not always tell, neither can we. We can just do what they did. They did what was right and best. Whether God creates a situation or not, do what is right and best.

The Thinking of Abraham 

Genesis 22 demonstrates what made Abraham the father of the faithful. Even without Scripture as we have, Abraham knew that if God is God, you can expect certain things from Him.

For example, if He requires something of you, He will make the means available. The question is do we have confidence in Him to do it?

God commanded Abraham to go to a certain location and to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. As the two of them went, Isaac saw everything necessary for the sacrifice, except the animal, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen 22.8).

English: Abraham going up to offer Isaac as a ...

English: Abraham going up to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, as in Genesis 22, illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After an angel stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, something caught Abraham’s eye, and he knew what to do, “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son” (Gen 22.13).

Abraham had no Scripture to read, unless it was the Book of Job. Yet, Abraham figured out that God would provide the means for carrying out His wishes.

Romans 8.28 and the Providence of God 

Romans 8.18–39 speaks of various situations we face as Christians, especially difficult situations. If we belong to Christ, why do we experience trouble in this life? God uses all our experiences to work something good in our lives, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8.28).

Paul continued to explain the good God seeks through all things in our lives, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8.29).

More than anything, God wants us conformed to the image of Jesus. The hardships we endure contribute to that molding process.

Providence and Luck 

Do you believe in an unknown force that makes good and bad things happen? If so, you believe in luck. However, the Bible does not support such a thing.

You believe in God. Why then speak of luck, or wish someone good luck, or blame bad things on bad luck? The Bible does not speak of luck. Why should we?

Let us speak as the Bible speaks, and be silent as the Bible is silent.

The Bible does speak of things happening by chance, “Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side” (Luke 10.31).

The NIV uses the word “happened.” God does not make every event happen, but He lets people and things do as they please and sometimes He intervenes.

He could control every movement if He so wishes, but He also lets things happen. That is why we sin! He does not keep us from sinning, because He lets us do some things we want to do.

Instead of saying I was lucky or someone was lucky, why not say I was blessed or he was blessed? Does that not imply with most people that God had a hand in the matter?

Instead of saying good luck, why not say God go with you or God bless you?

 

There is a God in heaven and He is aware of what happens on earth and He works in our world. Do you wonder why?

He wants you to search for Him. If you search for Him, He will be found by you. If you find God, you will know about Jesus Christ and all that He made available to you.

We think He does good things in the earth, but what He does in the Spirit far exceeds those things.

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