Random House Dictionary defines providence as â€œthe foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth.â€ Of course we who believe the Bible to be inerrant and infallible would submit nature under God. After all, did not Jesus calm the stormy sea?
The Bible does not use the actual word providence; instead it teaches the doctrine of providence. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology explains there are three aspects of Godâ€™s providence.
The first, God uses creation to interact with man. The Bible clearly identifies this truth in Psalm 104 in its entirety, but let us focus on verse 24:
â€œO Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessionsâ€”â€ (Psalm 104:24)
His most gracious dealing with us is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything in life gets its significance from Christ. Without Him life is vanity:
â€œLet us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is manâ€™s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.â€ (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
The second aspect of Godâ€™s providence is it bears witness of Himself to the lost:
â€œFor the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible manâ€”and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.â€ (Romans 1:18-23)
For those who will not trust God based on they cannot prove Godâ€™s existence will be without excuse because all of creation cries out to Godâ€™s existence and His providence.
The third aspect of Godâ€™s providence is His dealing with us while we are living on earth. At our second annual Hope Rides Alone Family Reunion Banquet I spoke on Godâ€™s providence and how all our lives were interwoven through relationships. All our lives were affected by my son Eddieâ€™s life and God engineered our meeting each other through lifeâ€™s circumstances.
Jesus taught us about Godâ€™s providence in our lives in His Sermon on the Mount:
â€œTherefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, â€˜What shall we eat?â€™ or â€˜What shall we drink?â€™ or â€˜What shall we wear?â€™ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.â€ (Matthew 6:25-34)
Jesus could have rightfully left this teaching with the first sentence. He could have just commanded us to not worry. However with the precept Jesus also teaches us the protection and provision that is provided by God and then in verse 34 He gives man some of the wisest counsel that most philosophers would marvel at:
â€œTherefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Such a simple yet profound truth that we all have experienced. We can all say â€œAmenâ€ to each day being sufficient enough trouble. Jesus is telling us for that reason alone we donâ€™t need to worry about tomorrow. But even more so our tomorrows are controlled by Him!
There are no coincidences in life. Summarizing the entry on the Providence of God in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, T.H.L. Parker writes:
â€œIn sum, the doctrine of providence tells us that the world and our lives are not ruled by chance or by fate, but by God, who lays bare His purposes of providence in the incarnation of His Son.â€
In other words, we can trust God because He gave us His only Son. The Bible promises each of us a blessed life if we will trust the Lord Jesus Christ:
â€œBlessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your childrenâ€™s children. Peace be upon Israel!â€ (Psalm 128)
Many predictions are being made about our future economically, existentially, and politically but we can no more predict the future then we can control it. We only control our own destiny in the arena of trust. Who will you trust with your future, you, others, or God? Iâ€™ve already tried all three and only God has a perfect record of coming through for me every time and better than I could have imagined. Wonâ€™t you trust Him today with your future? First, trust Him for salvation. There is no greater way to acknowledge Godâ€™s providence than to trust Christ for salvation. I pray you will.
Have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers