Kevin DeYoung has a fine post on God’s providential care and the practical implications of it.

After listing numerous passages for supporting God’s meticulous hand in all things, DeYoung admonishes us to “move past merely tolerating God’s sovereignty to joyously embracing it. If God’s providence is found so often in the Bible that its truth is unavoidable, maybe God doesn’t mean for us to hate it.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of cycles not embracing the things that I know to be true about God’s providence. For example, I know in my head that:

The history of the universe, from beginning to end, is governed, planned, guided, and directed toward the loving ends of the all-wise and all-powerful Creator. Nothing eventuates which has not already been intended, either permissively or purposefully, by the Almighty God (Pr. 16:33; 1 Cor. 15:27; Eph. 1:11). Not only is God directly involved with creation by way of miracles, but he is indirectly involved through mediatorial means such as the natural laws of the universe, angels, individual human agency (good and evil), families, nations, and prayer.

God’s providential control is seen in governing the affairs of nations. He is the chief architect and ruler over the nations (Job 12:23; Ezra 1:1; 6:22; Ps. 22:28; 33:14-15; Pr. 21:1; 16:9; Dan. 4:34-35; Acts 17:26). Even in the midst of evil God redirects the results of wrong human choices toward his ultimate purposes, whether his purposes are for blessing, discipline, or judgment (Gen. 37:28; 45:5; 50:20; 2 Kgs. 19:25; Is. 10:5, 12; 13:17; Jer. 25:9, 12; Ez. 14:9; Hab. 1:5-12; Rom. 8:28-29; Eph. 1:11).

Not only does God redirect evil human activity toward his purposes, he also restrains evil. Abimilech was kept from having relations with Sarah, because God promised to fulfill his redemptive plan via Abraham’s offspring (Gen. 17:16-21; 20:1-7). The wicked plan of Haman to destroy the Jewish population was overruled by God’s providential plan to promote Esther in the Persian empire (Esther 4:14; 9:1-4). God contained the evil of the Ninevites by providing Jonah as a prophet to preach a message of repentance (Jonah 1:2; 3:10). Moreover, God provides government as a means of bridling the evil choices of humanity as well as allowing religious freedom (2 Thess. 2:6-7; Rom. 13:3-4; Acts 18:12-17).

In short, nothing that occurs in the universe can make the plans and provisions of God contingent. He is sovereign! So what are the implications for me (and for us)?

Embracing God’s providence in my heart gives:

  • Confidence that all His purposes will succeed (Job 42:2; Pr. 16:4; Dan. 4:35; Acts 4:28; 5:38-39; Eph. 1:11)
  • Certainty that all his promises will be fulfilled (Num. 23:19; Josh. 23:14; Rom. 4:20-21; Heb. 6:13-15; 10:23; 1 Pt. 1:5)
  • Courage that He guides our service to Him and dispels our fears of others (Ezra 7:28; Mt. 14:27; Acts 1:8; 23:11)
  • Comfort that all His enemies will be defeated (Ps. 66:3; Rev. 11:17-18; 20:11-15)
  • Cause to continue developing Christian character (2 Pt. 1:3-8; Phil. 2:13)
  • Capacity to engage and disable evil in our lives because He is ruler over all (Lk. 10:19-20; Eph. 6:10-13)

Oh that I (we) would move beyond knowing about God’s control to embracing it!

3 Comments

  1. A good article, Paul. But you owe Abimilech an apology. LOL. There was nothing wrong with him wanting Sara when he thought she was free and available.

  2. Thanks, Bill. Appreciate you reading. Agree that Abimilech did nothing wrong, but had he “engaged” Sara and she become “with child,” then that would have stirred the pot just a bit, don’t ya think? God’s plans and purposes are always fulfilled to the letter, thankfully!


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