The word "providence" (pronoia)
is found only once in the Bible, a usage which refers to human
providence (Acts 24:2), and yet Divine Providence permeates the
pages of Holy Writ from Genesis to Revelation! This great truth ought to
cause all of God's children to shout "Hallelujah! Our God Reigns!" Amen.
Indeed a healthy understanding of God's providences should produce
praise from His people, for as John Piper rightly said...
In all the setbacks of your life
as a believer,
God is plotting for your joy.
Louis Berkouwer challenges the
modern church's belief in divine providence observing that...
This total and universal aspect of
the Church’s confession (of divine providence) renders it
unacceptable to many as too simple an answer to the urgency of our
times. Can all this, all this that fills men’s hearts, fall within the
circle of a Divine Providence? Can man with honesty and clear conscience
still believe it? It seems as though this confession—God’s rule over all
things, more than other confessions—were thrown into the crucible of the
times. This does not mean that in fairer days the Providence of God was
never doubted or denied. Even in eras of peace and quiet, when man still
had confidence in the inevitable gradual improvement of life, there were
burning questions to disturb the honest mind. The lot of man in
sickness, suffering, and death has always raised questions about God’s
Providence. But the question forces itself far more directly and
disturbingly upon us in times of all-embracing crisis...These are times
in which the Church of Christ must ask herself whether she still has the
courage, in profound and unshakable faith, in boundless confidence, to
proclaim the Providence of God. Or is she possessed of secret
doubts fed by daily events? Can she still speak of God’s rule over all
things, of His holy presence in this world? Can she yet proclaim
confidently His unlimited control over the world and life—war and peace,
East and West, pagans … and Jews? Dare she still, with eyes open to the
facts of life—no less than those who from the facts conclude an
imperative atheism—still confess her old confession? (The
Providence of God - Chapter 1 - "The Crisis of the Providence Doctrine
in Our Century")
Comment: Berkouwer's question
should challenge all of God's children (Jn 1:11,12,13) -- Do we really
believe and have firm, unshakeable confidence in the great doctrine of
divine providence? May we study the Scriptures diligently for the answer
and as we do, may the Spirit lead us into all truth (Jn 16:13) regarding
the Providence of God. Amen.
William Graham MacDonald
observes that providence is....
God’s activity throughout history in
providing for the needs of human beings, especially those who follow Him
in faith. Providence occurs because God cares about the universe
and everyone in it. All through the centuries of human existence there
have been those who took great comfort in the fact of providence. It
means realizing at certain places in life that God has been there
before. It is the evidence that God has not left this planet alone in
the vast universe or forgotten for a moment the human situation. God
visits, touches, communicates, controls, and intervenes, coming before
and between man and his needs. Providence is ground for thankfulness. (Baker
Encyclopedia of the Bible Walter A. Elwell Editor. Baker Books
Providence is defined in our
English dictionaries as the act of seeing and providing or preparing for
the future, and Biblically refers to God’s foresight and
power to watch over and protect and provide for His creatures (See
more on definition). Listen to
the words of Jesus that give us a wonderful description of divine
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?
rhetorical question - Sparrows were
cheap among men, but highly valued by God!) And yet (contrast
Jesus contrasting?") not one of them will fall to the ground apart
from your Father (What does this imply about divine providence?).
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered (By Whom?).
- What is Jesus concluding and why? How should we respond?
the text!) do not
fear; you are of more
value than many sparrows. (Mt 10:29-31)
Comment: John Blanchard has
aptly said that "The same God Who controls the sun cares for the
sparrow", which begs this question...."Why should be so anxious and
fearful about what tomorrow holds, when we know the One Who holds
Note that Jesus'
command do not fear
negative which could be paraphrased "Stop fearing" or "Don't
begin fearing." Note also that this command is based on truth, the
truth that God is in control of every sparrow and every hair on our
head! As the theologians like to say, God's imperatives (imperative
always based on His indicatives (indicative
ultimately is His Word of truth. Our challenge as believers today is to
obey Jesus, but in our own strength we cannot keep even one of
the hundreds of commands in the New Testament. So how do we obey? How do
we "work out our salvation" (Phil 2:12-note)?
Jesus did not leave us as orphans (Jn 14:18 - How has He come to us
today? See Ro 8:9 "Spirit of Christ"), but sent the promised Holy
Spirit (Lk 24:48, Jn 7:37, 38, 39, 14:16, 26, 16:7Acts 1:4, 8 where
= ability to accomplish!) Who now indwells and enables every believer
(1Cor 3:16, 1Co 6:19-note,
to obey the divine commands by giving us both "the desire
to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him" (Php
See the same truth in Ezekiel 36:27 [What and Who is
God's provision? What is our responsibility? Cp this
same pattern in Php 2:12,13] which is given in the context of God's
promise to Israel of the
New Covenant [see allusions in
OT , Jer 31:31-34], a promise Jesus announced to His
Jewish disciples at the last Passover [Lk 22:20] and which He fulfilled
on the Cross [cp Jn 19:30-note]).
(See sermon by C H Spurgeon on
Matthew 10:30 - Providence)
GOD'S GRACIOUS OVERSIGHT
OF THE UNIVERSE
Ray Pritchard writes that
“God’s gracious oversight of
the universe.” Every one of those words is important. God’s
providence is one aspect of his grace. Oversight means that he directs
the course of affairs. The word universe tells us that God not only
knows the big picture, he also concerns himself with the tiniest
details. Here are five statements that unfold the meaning of God’s
providence in more detail.
He upholds all things.
He governs all events.
He directs everything to its appointed end.
He does this all the time and in every circumstance.
He does it always for his own glory.
The doctrine of God’s providence
teaches us several important truths: First, God cares about the tiniest
details of life. Nothing escapes His notice for He is concerned about
the small as well as the big. In fact, with God there is no big or
small. He knows when a sparrow falls and he numbers the hairs on your
head. He keeps track of the stars in the skies and the rivers that flow
to the oceans. He sets the day of your birth, the day of your death, and
he ordains everything that comes to pass in between. Second, he uses
everything and wastes nothing. There are no accidents with God, only
incidents. This includes events that seem to us to be senseless
tragedies. Third, God’s ultimate purpose is to shape His children into
the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). He often uses difficult moments
and human tragedies to accomplish that purpose. Many verses in the Bible
teach these truths, including Acts 17:28 (“in him we live and move and
have our being”), Colossians 1:17 (“in him all things hold together”),
Hebrews 1:3 (“sustaining all things by his powerful word”), Proverbs
16:9 (“in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his
steps.”), and especially Psalm 115:3 (“Our God is in heaven; he does
whatever pleases him”). The doctrine of God’s providence is really a
combination of four other attributes:
Sovereignty—He is in control.
Predestination—He is in charge of how everything turns out.
Wisdom—He makes no mistakes.
Goodness—He has our best interests at heart.
In the words of R. C. Sproul, “God
doesn’t roll dice.” Nothing happens by chance. Ever. (The
Invisible Hand Coming to Grips With God’s Providence -
Read this sermon to see everything that occurred
in Joseph's life "at just the right moment"!
IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY
William Cowper (bio by John
Pictures w/ lyrics & guitar vocal-watch
it in full screen)
w/ pictures & piano)
vocal by Lori Sealy-A
MUST listen! Close your eyes. Ponder, even pray Cowper's profound
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
Here is a story that is said to be
behind these incredibly insightful and beautiful words of Cowper's hymn.
Reportedly this is the last hymn William Cowper ever wrote, and
here is the story that is said to be behind it.
Cowper often struggled with depression and doubt. One night he decided
to commit suicide by drowning himself. He called a cab and told the
driver to take him to the Thames River. However, thick fog came down and
prevented them from finding the river (another version of the story has
the driver getting lost deliberately). After driving around lost for a
while, the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper’s
surprise, he found himself on his own doorstep: God had sent the fog to
keep him from killing himself. Even in our blackest moments, God watches
over us. Yes, whether this
story is true or not, in either case we can rest assured that our God
ever watches over us dear tried and afflicted saints.
Here is another version of the story
of Cowper's last hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way..."
Whatever form the pressures toward
matrimony were taking, they were obviously causing deep psychological
problems for Cowper, for on Friday, January 1, 1773, an hour or two
after hearing Newton preach at the morning service in church, Cowper was
walking in the fields around Olney when he was struck by a terrible
premonition that the curse of madness was about to fall on him again.
Struggling to make a declaration of his faith in poetic form before his
mind was enclosed in the darkness of depression, he struggled home,
picked up his pen, and wrote a hymn that many regard as a literary and
spiritual masterpiece....Soon after writing these memorable lines, the
“dreaded clouds” arrived, and Cowper’s mind plunged into an abyss of
madness. During the night of January 1–2, he had terrible dreams and
hallucinations. In the middle of these nocturnal terrors he came to the
insane conclusion that God had commanded him to take his own life in the
manner of Abraham wielding his knife against his son Isaac. Apparently
ignoring the point that in the Bible God intervened to prevent the fatal
blow from being struck, Cowper attempted to obey this imaginary command.
His suicide was thwarted by the action of Mary Unwin. She sent for
Newton in the small hours of the morning. On arrival at Orchard Side,
Newton was appalled by his friend’s condition. (John
Newton From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken and Philip
Yancey - a book that is difficult to put down and one I
ALL OF LIFE A MIRACLE!
R. Kent Hughes writes that...
The sweet doctrine of God’s
providence is this: God sovereignly works in and through the
everyday, non-miraculous events of life to effect His will. Such a God,
of course, is great beyond our imaginings because He maintains all of
life, involves Himself in all events, and directs all things to their
appointed end while rarely interrupting the natural order of life (Ed:
Is this mysterious? Absolutely, but don't explain it away just because
you cannot comprehend it. Remember that one of God's attributes is that
Incomprehensible). He is far greater
than our imaginings because He arranges all of life to suit and effect
His providence. This makes all of life a miracle. God provides
and controls in three grand arenas—history, nature, and the lives of
individual people. God’s providential control of life is illustrated
by virtually every narrative in the Bible. His providence is an
axiom (an established rule or generally accepted proposition or
principle, a self-evident truth) for all biblical narrative....
The sweet providence of God is the
province of God’s people. The prophet Jeremiah sang of it: “For I know
the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not
for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Paul gave
it this cherished expression: “And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good, for those who are called according to
his purpose” (Romans 8:28-note).
Christians, the most important thing about you is what you believe about
God. What you believe defines you. What you believe determines how you
live. So I must ask, do you believe with your whole mind and heart that
God is all-powerful? Do you believe with everything in you that God is
spatially and specially present with you? Do you believe wholeheartedly
that he knows everything, even your inarticulate words and thoughts
before you say them? Do you believe that God is absolutely sovereign in
all of life? Do you believe that God’s providence is working in and
through your life to effect your good? If so, you have embraced the God
of Genesis and the Christ of the Bible because “in Him the whole
fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9-note).
And you are ready to live. (Genesis
Beginning and Blessing - Preaching the Word)
LOOKING AT THE
WRONG SIDE OF THE RUG?
The Master is providentially
interweaving the seemingly disconnecting strands of circumstances and
live events in each of our lives in a way that is often difficult for us
to perceive, but all of which are providentially perfect in the Master's
sovereign hand and His perfect plan! (cp Ro 8:28, Ge 50:20). C H
Spurgeon tells an anecdotal story which speaks to God's providential
weavings in each of our lives...
I think it was Mrs. Hannah More who
says that she went into a place where they were manufacturing a carpet.
She said, “There is no beauty there.”
The man said, “It is one of the most beautiful carpets you ever saw.”
“Why, here is a piece hanging out, and it is all in disorder.”
“Do you know why, ma’am? You are looking at the wrong side of the
The etymology of provident is
enlightening for it is derived from the Latin providere
which is composed of pro = beforehand + videre
= to see, which gives us a good picture of the meaning of providence
- God sees beforehand! Obviously when applied to God, providence is
closely related to God's omniscience (He sees all and knows all at all
times). The distinction is that in His providence, God not only sees but does!
In other words, God provides
for the future which He alone can see! This transcendent, eternal truth
will (or should) provide you comfort. However, the doctrine of divine
providence might arouse anger or even frighten you, depending on what you believe about God the Father and Jesus
His Son. Although theologians wax long and eloquent on this topic, in
simple terms, the pivotal questions are "Is God able?" and "Do I
Here is a Short
Exercise to Challenge and Encourage your faith
(Remember Ro 10:17-note): Study the following passages that
have the phrase
"He is able" (in the NAS translation)...
is from the mouth of one of the greatest rulers in history after he had
been humbled by God!
are some of the last words of the greatest apostle in history as he
prepares to meet his Maker.
are some of the most comforting words ever penned for those who are
being tested and tempted.
are some of the most encouraging words ever written for those who
wrestle with the doctrine of eternal security.
As Spurgeon once quipped...
The keys of providence swing
at the girdle of Christ. Believe it, Christian, nothing occurs here
without the permit or the decree of your Savior...He that has gone to
prepare a place for us by his presence has prepared the way to that
place for us by his providence.
Steven Cole has some
interesting thoughts in his sermon on "God's Providential Protection"...
“What rotten luck I’ve been having
lately!” “I’m having a bad day!” “Oh, well, whatever will
be will be, and there’s nothing that we can do about it!” (Ed:
The Spanish equivalent is "Que
Sera, Sera" = "What will be, will be!" a beautiful but
not Biblical song by Doris Day!) You’ve probably heard people say all of
the above. Perhaps you’ve even said or thought something similar
yourself at times. But all of those declarations are at odds with
biblical truth, because each statement goes against the truth of
God’s providence. There is no such thing as luck or pure chance. If
we have a bad day, it is because the Lord ordained these circumstances
for our benefit. Bad days don’t just happen! “Whatever will be will be”
reflects a view of our circumstances as being caused by impersonal fate.
The Bible often teaches and illustrates the doctrine of God’s providence
(I will give a definition later), and it should be a source of great
comfort and instruction for every believer. It means that God is not
distant, passive, or unconcerned with the daily events in our lives.
Rather, as our loving and caring Heavenly Father, He actively governs
the daily events of our lives, usually behind the scenes, without in any
way robbing us of the duty of making responsible choices....When we face
trials and opposition in our service for the Lord, we should trust Him
to protect us by His providence and to work out His sovereign plan for
our lives...Deists deny God’s providence by asserting that He created
the world, but He is no longer actively involved in it. Others say that
God is active in the events of the world, but that He is not sovereign
over evil. Rather, evil is the result of free will. But the Bible
teaches that God is actively controlling or directing even evil events
and evil people in such a way as to accomplish His sovereign will, and
yet He is not the author of evil and is not responsible for it (as Eph.
states). But no evil person or act changes or thwarts God’s sovereign
Wayne Grudem defines God’s
providence "God is continually involved with all created things in such
a way that He (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties
with which He created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every
action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as
they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill His purposes."(Systematic
Theology An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Wayne Grudem) ... (Cole
amplifies Grudem's three points)
(1) God’s providence means
preservation, that “God keeps all created things existing and
maintaining the properties with which he created them”. Hebrews 1:3-note
tells us that Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power.” The
Greek word translated “uphold” means to carry or bear. Grudem says, “It
does not mean simply ‘sustain,’ but has the sense of active, purposeful
control over the thing being carried from one place to another” (ibid.).
also asserts that “all things hold together” in Christ. If Jesus were to
“let go,” the entire universe would instantly disintegrate! Thus God did
not just design the laws of science and nature and step away from them.
Rather, He actively maintains such laws.
(2) God’s providence means
concurrence, that “God cooperates with created things in every
action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as
they do”. This includes God’s causing things to happen that we would
think of as merely “natural” occurrences. For example, the Bible says
that God causes the rain and snow to fall on earth, along with the wind
to blow and the lightning to flash (Job 37:6-13; Ps. 135:7). God also
gives food to the wild animals and birds (Ps. 104:27-29; Mt. 6:26). God
governs what we might call random chance events, such as the casting of
lots (Pr. 16:33). Also, God causes things to happen where His creatures
also play a role. For example, I may water and fertilize my grass or a
farmer his crops, but God causes them to grow. I can put water into the
freezer, but God makes it freeze (Job 38:27, 29-30). God also governs
human affairs. He determines the time, existence, and boundaries of the
nations (Acts 17:26). He sets up rulers and takes them down again (Da
4:34-35; Ps. 22:28). He governs every aspect of our lives (Jer. 10:23;
Pr. 16:9; 20:24), including the number of days that we will live (Ps.
139:16). He is even sovereign over evil, although He is not tainted in
any way by it nor is He responsible for it (Ge 50:20; Acts 2:23;
4:27-28; 1 John 1:5). But He uses evil men and events to carry out His
sovereign plan, even as He is doing in our story with this evil plot to
(3) God’s providence means
government, that “God has a purpose in all that he does in the world
and he providentially governs or directs all things in order that they
accomplish his purposes”. “He does according to His will in the host of
heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His
hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Da 4:35-note).
God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11-note).
The doctrine of God’s providence is very practical and comforting on
a daily basis. If we live in a world of random chance, it is a most
scary place to be! You never know what bad things might happen to you or
your loved ones, and so all you can do is hope for “good luck.” Or, if
as some Christians believe, God is not sovereign over evil, then when
terrorists fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and kill thousands
of people, or a crazy gunman kills your loved one, that’s tragic, but
there was nothing that God could have done about it, since He gave them
“free will.” But if even that evil event was under God’s providence,
then we know that He can work it together for good to those who love Him
and are called according to His purpose (Ro 8:28-note). Those who lost loved
ones can know that those wicked men did not in any way thwart God’s
sovereign plan. Rather, those evil men were inadvertently carrying out
His sovereign plan for history and they will face God’s eternal
judgment! Thus, God has a sovereign plan for each of us. Evil men cannot
thwart God’s purpose. God carries out His sovereign plan through His
often behind-the-scenes providence. Finally, Trusting God to work
sovereignly through His providence does not mean being passive or doing
nothing. (For more explanation and exposition see Steven Cole's
God's Providential Protection: Acts 23:12-35)
A "CHANCE" ROMANCE
JUST HAPPENED TO HAPPEN
One of my favorite Biblical
illustrations of God's wonderful providence is in the little book of
Ruth where we read...
So she (Ruth the Moabitess) departed
(from her mother in law's home) and went and gleaned in the field after
the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of
the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. (Ruth
Comment: In Ruth chapter 1,
Naomi's husband takes his family to Moab. Why? There was a famine in
Bethlehem. Who controls famines? What would have happened if God had not
allowed a famine in Bethlehem? Would Ruth the Moabitess ever have ended
up in Bethlehem? And so we begin to see the "links" in the chain of
God's providential working behind the scenes in the history of nations
Beloved, do you believe that He is
working "behind the scenes" in your life?
Well, He is, whether you believe it or not! God has not "checked out,"
regardless of what you are experiencing. His is there. He is working.
His is active. He is loving and caring. And He promises to complete the
good work He has begun in you (Phil 1:6-note)
and ultimately will cause all things to work together for good in your
life (Ro 8:28-note).
Let the truth of the doctrine of
divine providence permeate your mind and your heart, for as Jesus
promised, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!
(Jn 8:31, 32) This is the blessed benefit of God's providence. As you
read through the Bible, consider placing a "P" in your Bible
margin when the Spirit illuminates some aspect of God's providence, a
truth which saturates the pages of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
After Naomi's husband died and Ruth the Moabitess
lost her husband, Ruth chose to follow her mother in law, Naomi,
back to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:16). Chapter 2 of Ruth finds Naomi venturing into the
to glean food for her and Naomi. The writer records that Ruth just "happened to
come" to Boaz's field. From the human perspective, it might
appear that Ruth accidentally stumbled onto Boaz's fields, but the Hebrew
verb conveys the thought that the event
described was beyond human control. It is clear that this divinely
orchestrated event was
God's providence at work in a most wonderful and mysterious way. The
grain fields in Palestine in Ruth's day were not enclosed by fences, but
were open fields demarcated by landmarks which were not obvious. In
other words, there was no sign saying "This field is property of Boaz."
Boaz (whose mother was Rahab the harlot - Mt 1:5) happens to come to his
fields the same day and happens to notice Ruth which leads to a face to
face meeting and eventually to their marriage and birth of a son name
Obed, who would become the grandfather of Jesse, who in turn would
become the father of David, whose lineage would one day bring forth
"Jesus Christ, the son of David" (Mt 1:1). And so in the providence of
God, Ruth the Moabitess is brought into and is specifically included by
Matthew as one of the three women named (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth) in the line
of the Messiah (Mt 1:5, 6)
The skeptic might ascribe Ruth's
sojourn to Bethlehem and to the field of Boaz as mere coincidence.
But not if God is sovereign and providentially in control of even the
number of the hairs on our head or the demise of a sparrow. The English
dictionary says that coincidence is the occurrence of events that
happen at the same time by accident, but seem to have some
connection. The world describes as mere coincidence the a remarkable
concurrence of events or circumstances without an apparent causal
connection. As you might surmise, there is not a single use of the word
coincidence in all of Scripture! Ruth's "happening" did not just
happen by accident, by a stroke of good luck, by fate or fortune or by
any other term the unbelieving world might ascribe. God providentially
ordered her steps.
While providence supports,
Let saints securely dwell;
hand which bears all nature up
Shall guide His children well.
In one of the great examples of a
man's belief in God's providence,
at a time when evil
Haman had set a course to destroy forever the
For if you remain silent at this
time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place
and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you
have not attained royalty for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)
Comment: Note that although
Mordecai never mentions God's Name, clearly his declaration is a strong
indicator of His trust in God's providence. He knows that if the Jews
are exterminated, the line of the Messiah will be eradicated and Jesus
could never become Man and He would never redeem man from his sin and
its wages, eternal death! To be sure, Mordecai may not have fully
understood all of God's purpose for His Suffering Servant, but he surely
knew God's promise to "Father Abraham" that "in you all the families of
the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3, cp Ge 13:15 where
descendants is the Hebrew word zera or "seed" in the
singular), a promise which Paul explains refers to and is
fulfilled in Christ, the Messiah (Read Galatians 3:16, cp Galatians
3:8). (See Spurgeon's sermon -
Providence—As Seen in the Book of Esther)
Many Biblical resources state that
providence is the major theme of the Book of Esther, despite the fact
that there is never a direct mention of God. And yet as alluded to
above, God's providential hand is behind the twists and turns of the
story, preserving His chosen people from destruction.
As alluded to above, the doctrine of
providence permeates the pages of Scripture, despite the fact that most
translations never actually use the word providence! Two New Testament
passages that are often quoted as describing God's providence are
And we know that God causes all
things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are
called according to His purpose. (Ro 8:28-note)
also we have obtained an inheritance,
having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things
after the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11-note)
Webster's 1828 says
Foresight; timely care; particularly
active foresight or foresight accompanied with the procurement of what
is necessary for future use, or with suitable preparation. How many of
the troubles and perplexities of life proceed from want of providence!
In theology, (providence is) the care and superintendence which
God exercise over His creatures. He that acknowledges a creation and
denies a providence, involves himself in a palpable contradiction; for
the same power which caused a thing to exist is necessary to continue
its existence. Some persons admit a general providence,
but deny a particular providence, not considering that a
general providence consists of particulars.(!) A belief in divine
providence, is a source of great consolation to good men. By divine
providence is often understood God Himself
THE DOCTRINE OF THE
PROVIDENCE OF GOD:
STRENGTHENING, STABILIZING, TRANQUILIZING
A W Pink wrote that...
The providence of God is His care of
and provision He makes for His creatures, with His supervision and
superintendence of them. The providence of God in His government of the
world is a subject of deep importance to the Christian, for by proper
views thereof he will learn to see God's activities in the daily works
of His hands....Nothing is more strengthening to faith,
stabilizing to the mind, and tranquilizing to the heart of a
Christian, than for him to be enabled to discern his Father's hand
guiding, shaping, and controlling everything which enters his life; and
not only so, but that He is also governing this world, and all people
and events in it....The advantages of a clear grasp of this foundational
Truth of Divine providence are many.
First, it delivers the Christian from being carried away by the tide
of public opinion. Few things have a greater tendency to lead
Christians into error, than the apparent success of public opinion.
People in general judge of a cause by its seeming success, and
often Christians are greatly influenced by this pernicious principle.
Opinions spread by infection, rather than by a thorough investigation of
the evidence. But an accurate acquaintance with the ways of Providence,
as revealed in Scripture, is calculated to deliver from this prejudice.
There we discover that God has often granted much "success" to His
enemies, and by it they were hardened in their rebellion. Mere success
is no proof of Truth, and lack of success is neither evidence of error
nor of God's displeasure.
Second, a proper acquaintance with the grand truth of Divine
Providence, should also be of real help in guarding us against having
recourse to artifice and deceit, in the propagation of the Truth.
The Apostle Paul, in spite of all his zeal for the Gospel, disdained all
worldly wisdom in his efforts to advance its progress: he commended the
Truth to every man's conscience in the sight of God. Then let us stick
to the means of God's ordering, and rigorously shun all human
inventions. Temptations to compromise, to lower the standard, to bring
in fleshly devices so as to "draw the young people," are multiplying
Third, a proper acquaintance with this blessed doctrine of Divine
Providence provides consolation amid so much which distresses the godly.
The more a true believer ponders the character of the times in which
his lot is cast—the more is his heart saddened. The affairs of this
world appear to be completely under the dominion of the Prince of
Darkness—but in the grand truth of God's government there is real
comfort and solid support for the heart. From it we learn that even the
very opposition which is made to the kingdom of Christ, is part of the
plan of Divine wisdom, and will be overruled for the glory of God and of
His Son. It is true that "The whole world lies in wickedness" (1Jn
5:19), yet not in the sense that God has relinquished its government.
The wrath of Satan shall be obliged to praise God, and any device of it
which has not that tendency, He will "restrain" and not allow to be
Walter A Elwell writes that
while providence essentially speaks of foresight or making of
When applied to God the idea takes on
a vastly larger dimension because God not only looks ahead and attempts
to make provision for his goals, but infallibly accomplishes what he
sets out to do. And because it is God's governance that is in view, it
encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world
to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and
destiny. Providence, then, is the sovereign, divine superintendence of
all things, guiding them toward their divinely predetermined end in a
way that is consistent with their created nature, all to the glory and
praise of God. This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all
things by God is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in
The Extent of Providence.
Simply put, providence encompasses every aspect of the created order.
From beginning to end, from heaven to earth, from animate to inanimate,
from individuals to nations, from hours to ages, from weeds to wheat,
from birth to death, from catastrophe to calm—everything is within the
loving presence and involvement of the heavenly father. In his wisdom,
power, righteousness, and love he is hastening slowly to work out his
own eternal purposes for his own glory and for our eternal good. Because
this is such an all-pervasive theme throughout the Scriptures it is
possible only to give a selective, though representative account of what
is taught there....
God's Involvement in Human Life.
Every aspect of human life is included in God's providential orderings.
Just as with the formation, growth, existence, fortunes, and destiny of
the world as a whole, the nations of the earth, and Israel in
particular, so is it with the individual. God formed us in the womb (Job
10:8-12; Psalm 139:13-14; Jer 1:5), ordained what all lives should be
(Ps 139:15-16), guides us in our life's circumstances (Job 5:18; Pr
3:5-6; Acts 18:21; James 4:13-15), meets our temporal needs (Lev 26:4-5;
Job 36:31; Matt 5:45; Acts 14:16-17), sends prosperity and adversity
(Job 36:11; Isa 45:7; Lam 4:5, 11), and ultimately takes us off this
earth in death at his own appointed time (1Sa 2:6, 25; Job 14:5; 2Pe
1:13-14). None of this should cause anxiety. In fact, we are told all of
this to encourage and strengthen us in the uncertainties of life. We
must remember that it is God our heavenly Father who is ordering our
lives. He knows and loves us infinitely; even the hairs of our head are
numbered (Matt 10:30). He who clothes the grass and flowers of the field
in striking beauty will also take care of us (Matt 6:25-32) and nothing
is left to chance. A heavenly Father guides our lives. (Providence
in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology -
Recommended - well-done, thorough article)
Easton's Bible Dictionary says
Providence literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote
God's preserving and governing all things by means of second causes (Ps.
18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). God's providence extends
to the natural world (Ps. 104:14; 135:5-7; Acts 14:17), the brute
creation (Ps. 104:21-29; Matt. 6:26; 10:29), and the affairs of men (1
Chr. 16:31; Ps. 47:7; Pr. 21:1; Job 12:23; Dan. 2:21; 4:25), and of
individuals (1 Sam. 2:6; Ps. 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13-15). It
extends also to the free actions of men (Ex. 12:36; 1 Sam. 24:9-15; Ps.
33:14, 15; Pr. 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2 Sam.
16:10; 24:1; Rom. 11:32; Acts 4:27, 28), as well as to their good
actions (Phil. 2:13; 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 5:22-25).
As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by
God's permission (Gen. 45:5; 50:20. Comp. 1 Sam. 6:6; Ex. 7:13; 14:17;
Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27, 28), and as controlled (Ps. 76:10) and overruled
for good (Gen. 50:20; Acts 3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin,
but only limits, restrains, overrules it for good.
The mode of God's providential government is altogether unexplained. We
only know that it is a fact that God does govern all his creatures and
all their actions; that this government is universal (Ps. 103:17-19),
particular (Matt. 10:29-31), efficacious (Ps. 33:11; Job 23:13),
embraces events apparently contingent (Pr. 16:9, 33; 19:21; 21:1), is
consistent with his own perfection (2 Tim. 2:13), and to his own glory
(Ro. 9:17; 11:36).
THE BEAUTIFUL BENEFICENCE
OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
C H Spurgeon gives some
examples of the divine beneficence of providence...
A poor harlot determined she would go
and take her life on Blackfriars Bridge. Passing by these doors one
Sunday night, she thought she would step in, and for the last time hear
something that might prepare her to stand before her Maker. The text
was, “Seest thou this woman?” (Luke 7:44). I dwelt on Mary
Magdalene and her sins, her washing the Savior’s feet with her tears,
and wiping them with the hair of her head. There stood the woman, melted
away with the thought that she should thus hear herself described and
her own life painted. Oh, to think of saving a poor harlot from death,
and then, as God pleased, to save her soul from going down to hell!
“Sir,” said one to me, “I had been to
bargain about a pair of ducks on Sunday morning, and I passed by the
door, and I thought I would just look in. There and then the Lord met
with me, and those ducks were forgotten, for I found a Savior.”
The good old Puritan met his son.
When the young man came in, he said, “Father, I had a very special
providence as I rode here today. My horse stumbled three times very
badly, yet I was not thrown down.” “And I have had an equally special
providence in riding here,” said the father. “My horse never stumbled
all the way, so I was not thrown.” - C H Spurgeon
Our friends need not be troubled by
the flying of a dove. It will soon go out of the window, no doubt. Let
us believe that it has come as a messenger of good. Oh, that the blessed
Dove would his own self come from heaven and bring salvation in his
wings! (Note: These were Spurgeon’s extemporaneous words when he
noticed that some in his congregation were nervous about a dove which
had flown into the sanctuary.) - C H Spurgeon
I was engaged to preach last
Wednesday at Halifax, where there was a heavy snowstorm. When I arrived,
I found from five thousand to six thousand people gathered to hear the
Word. We met together in the afternoon and worshiped God, and again in
the evening. In front of me there was a huge gallery, capable of holding
two thousand persons. In the evening when the people were about to
retire, and when there was scarcely more than a hundred persons there, a
huge beam gave way, and down came a portion of the flooring of the
gallery with a fearful crash. Only two persons were injured with broken
legs. Had this happened any earlier, not only must many more have been
injured, but a panic must necessarily have ensued similar to that which
we remember in this place. Had such a thing occurred, I feel certain
that I should never have been able to occupy the pulpit again. But mark
another thing. All day long it thawed so fast, that the snow seemed to
leave a mass of snow and water together. This ran through the roof on
us, to our miserable annoyance, and I was almost ready to complain that
we had hard dealing from God’s providence. But if it had been a frost
instead of a thaw, the place must have fallen several hours before. And
then your minister and the greater part of his congregation would
probably have been in the other world. - C H Spurgeon
Everything is in the Divine purpose,
and has been ordered by Divine wisdom. All the events of your life- the
greater, certainly; and the smaller, with equal certainty. It is
impossible to draw a line in Providence and say this is arranged by
Providence and that is not. God's Providence takes everything in its
sweep- all that happens. Divine Providence determines not only the
movement of a star, but the blowing of a grain of dust along the public
God's Providence knows nothing of things so little as to be beneath its
notice, nothing of things so great as to be beyond its control. Nothing
is too little or too great for God to rule and overrule. All that a man
undergoes is also ordained of Heaven.
God ordained.... when we would be born; where we would be born; who our
parents would be; what our lot in infancy would be; what our path in
youth would be; and what our position in manhood would be. From the
first to the last it has all happened according to the Divine purpose,
and ordained by the Divine will.
Not only the man but all that concerns the man, is foreordained of the
Lord- "The very hairs of
your head," that is to say, all that has anything to do with you, which
comes into any kind of contact with you and is in any sense part and
parcel of yourself, is under the Divine foresight and predestination.
You shall neither die before your time, nor live beyond it. All that
concerns you, from first to last, all that is of you and in you and
around you, is in the Divine purpose. Fate is hard and cruel, but
predestination is fatherly and wise and kind. When we see that all
things are arranged by Him who orders all things according to the
counsel of His own will, then we bow our heads and worship.
Our happiness lies very much in our complete submission to the Lord our
God. Oh, it is a blessed thing when we know that God is ordering all the
events of Providence. Then we dissolve our own will into the sweetness
of His will and our sorrow is at an end!
Since even the very hairs of our head are all numbered; since everything
is really ordained by the Most High concerning His people, let us
rejoice in the Divine appointment, and take all as it comes, and praise
His name, whether our allotment is rough or smooth, bitter or sweet.
Let us cheerfully say, "If the Lord wills it then we will it, too. If He
has purposed it, even so let it be, since all things work together for
good to those who love God, even to those who are called according to
His purpose. (From
The Hairs of Your Head Numbered - C H Spurgeon)
PROVIDENCE—Rightly Places us.
Suppose the mole should cry, "How I could have honoured the Creator had
I been allowed to fly!" it would be very foolish, for a mole flying
would be a most ridiculous object; while a mole fashioning its tunnels
and casting up its castles, is viewed with admiring wonder by the
naturalist, who perceives its remarkable suitability to its sphere. The
fish of the sea might say, "How could I display the wisdom of God if I
could sing, or mount a tree, like a bird;" but a dolphin in a tree would
be a very grotesque affair, and there would be no wisdom of God to
admire in trouts singing in the groves; but when the fish cuts the wave
with agile fin, all who have observed it say how wonderfully it is
adapted to its habitat, how exactly its every bone is fitted for its
mode of life. Brother, it is just so with you. If you begin to say, "I
cannot glorify God where I am, and as I am," I answer, neither could you
anywhere if not where you are. Providence, which arranged your
surroundings, appointed them so that, all things being considered, you
are in the position in which you can best display the wisdom and the
grace of God.
Question 11 of the
Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q: What are God’ s works of
A: God's works of providence
are, his most holy, (Ps. 145:17) wise, (Ps. 104:24, Isa. 28:29) and
powerful preserving, (Heb 1:3) and governing all his creatures, and all
their actions. (Ps. 103:19, Mt. 10:29–31)
Believe in a universal
providence; the Lord cares for ants and angels, for worms and for
worlds; he cares for cherubim and for sparrows, for seraphim and for
insects. Cast your care on him, he that calls the stars by their names,
and leads them out by numbers, by their hosts. ‘Why sayest thou, O
Jacob, and thinkest O Israel, my way is passed over from God and he has
utterly forgotten me?’ Let his universal providence cheer you. Think
next of his particular providence over all the saints. ‘Precious
shall their blood be in his sight.’ ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.’ ‘We know that all things work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose.’ While he is the Saviour of all men, he is specially the
Saviour of them that believe. Let that cheer and comfort you, that
special providence which watches over the chosen. ‘The angel of the Lord
encamps round about them that fear him.’
Spurgeon alludes to the mysterious
truths of divine providence and freedom of the will - If you turn to
the pages of inspiration, and read the lives of some of the most eminent
saints, I think you will be obliged to see the marks of God’s
providence in their histories too plainly to be mistaken. Take, for
instance, the life of Joseph. There is a young man who from early life
serves God. Read that life till its latest period when he gave
commandment concerning his bones, and you cannot help marvelling at
the wondrous dealings of providence. Did Joseph choose to be hated
of his brethren? But, yet, was not their envy a material circumstance in
his destiny? Did he choose to be put into the pit? But was not the
putting into the pit as necessary to his being made a king in Egypt as
Pharaoh’s dream? Did Joseph desire to be tempted of his mistress? He
chose to reject the temptation, but did he choose the trial? No; God
sent it. Did he choose to be put into the dungeon? No. And had he
anything to do with the baker’s dream, or with Pharaoh’s either? Can you
not see, all the way through, from first to last, even in the
forgetfulness of the butler, who forgot to speak of Joseph till the
appointed time came, when Pharaoh should want an interpreter, that there
was truly the hand of God? Joseph’s brethren did just as they liked when
they put him into the pit. Potiphar’s wife followed the dictates of her
own abandoned lust in tempting him. And yet, notwithstanding all the
freedom of their will, it was ordained of God, and worked according
together for one great end; to place Joseph on the throne; for as he
said himself, “Ye meant it for evil, but God intended it for good, that
he might save your souls alive!”
Pastor Ray Pritchard records a
few of the many benefits of trusting in the doctrine of divine
A. Providence frees us from
This is clearly the message of
Genesis 50:20. If ever any man had the right to get even it was Joseph.
We get bitter because we doubt God’s goodness and we don’t see his
invisible hand at work in our lives. We think God isn’t involved in our
situation and that’s why we get angry and try to get even and hurt the
person who has hurt us. If you really believe God is at work in your
situation, you can just stand back and let God do whatever he wants to
B. Providence gives us a new
perspective on our tragedies.
That perspective might be stated this
way: God is involved with us even in the worst moments of life. I
believe that in the great issues of life we will generally not have an
answer to the question “Why did this happen to me?” That is, we won’t
know why our mate got sick or why we lost our life savings or why God
didn’t intervene when we were being sexually abused. Most of the time we
are simply left to wonder why these things happen. Who would dare to say
to a woman, “This is why your child was stillborn” or to the grieving
people of the church in Nigeria, “This is why Dr. Ologunde died so
suddenly"? But it is at this point that God’s providence is so
crucial. It doesn’t tell us everything we would like to know about the
mysteries of life, but it does assure us that God is there and that he
cares for us. He is somehow involved even in our darkest moments in a
way we cannot see—and probably wouldn’t understand even if we could see
it. Because of God’s providence we can keep believing in God even in the
face of many unanswered questions. He can bear the burden of all our
C. Providence gives us courage to
keep going in hard times.
Because God is there, we know that he
cares for us, even when life is tumbling in all around us. Last Monday
night I was in my study when a man suddenly knocked on my door and came
in about 9:15 PM. He was weeping as he sat down. “It’s over,” he said,
“It’s over.” I knew what he meant. He mentioned that he had been
listening to WMBI. Recently they’ve been playing a song that has kept
him going. It contains this seven-word phrase: “Life is hard but God is
good.” Then he quoted Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in heaven; he does
whatever pleases him.”
That’s what God’s providence does for
us. It doesn’t answer every question, it doesn’t make our problems go
away, and it doesn’t give us an easy road. But it does tell us that
there is a pattern to the seemingly random events of life and that God
is designing something beautiful out of that which now seems to be only
a chaos of clashing colors. Life is hard—make no mistake about that, but
God is good. Both those statements are true all the time for all of
D. Providence forces us to make a
choice by faith.
The older I get the more I understand
that faith is a choice, not a feeling. Many times we won’t feel like
believing in God. But faith is a personal choice we make to believe that
God is good and that he can be trusted in every situation. Faith rises
above feelings to choose to believe even when our circumstances may
argue against it.
E. Providence helps us understand
why Jesus died.
Listen to these amazing words from
Acts 2:23, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and
foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by
nailing him to the cross.” There you have both sides of the truth. Jesus
died “by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge.” That tells us that the
Cross was not an accident or some afterthought in God’s plan. But who
crucified him? Remember that Peter is preaching to the men who
participated in that evil deed. “You, with the help of wicked men, put
him to death.” His death was no accident. God foreordained it from the
foundation of the world. Yet the men who crucified him were guilty of
the most heinous crime in human history. They were morally guilty, but
what happened to Jesus happened because of God’s divine plan. God’s
providence leads us to Jesus and Jesus leads us back to the Cross.
He Maketh No Mistake
by A M Overton
My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache
But in my soul I’m glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.
My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way.
Tho’ night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.
There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim;
But come what may, I’ll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.
For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He’ll make,
Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,
He made not one mistake.
In the end that will be the testimony
of every child of God. Until that morning comes and the sunlight of
God’s presence fills our faces, we move on through the twilight still
believing that though life is hard, God is good. When we finally get to
heaven, we’ll look back over the pathway of life and see that through
all the twists and turns and seeming detours that “He made not one
mistake.” Until that morning comes and the sunlight of God’s presence
fills our faces, we move on through the twilight still believing that
though life is hard, God is good. And in the end we will say with all
the children of God as we look back on our earthly pilgrimage, “He made
not one mistake.” (The
Invisible Hand Coming to Grips With God’s Providence)
William Graham MacDonald
offers some excellent and interesting Practical Applications
of the doctrine of divine providence...
(1) For some gamblers the need
to win—the subconscious desire for providence—is a need greater felt
than that for the money itself. Those believers who truly understand the
extent to which God has provided for them past, present, and future will
not fall into that temptation.
(2) Providence guarantees that there is built into every
temptation a way of escape (1Cor 10:13-note).
(3) One of the most staggering thoughts you can imagine is this.
You will only meet in your lifetime far less than one-hundredth of one
percent of all the people in your generation, and you will really get to
know by face and name only a much smaller fraction. One has to live with
the fact that he will never meet in this life hundreds of millions of
interesting people. Providence becomes one’s consolation: you will meet
certain ones whom God brings across your path (e.g., Ge 14:18-20; 24:15;
29:4-12; Ex 2:5, 6; 1Sa 9:17; 25:23, 24; 1Ki 18:7; Acts 21:16).
(4) The truth of providence takes the chance out of chance for
God’s people. That is, “The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision
is wholly from the Lord” (Pr 16:33). The casting of lots was used to
single out Jonathan when King Saul’s word had been unknowingly violated
(1Sa 14:24-5). The infant church, having two equally well-qualified
candidates for one important office, affirmed their belief in providence
by prayer and the drawing of straws (Acts 1:21-26).
(5) Astrology with its supposed influences on human characters
and events is a poor counterfeit for biblical providence.
(6) The eye of faith recognizes God’s timely interventions which
other eyes fail to see. (Ed: Lord we believe. Help our unbelief.
Amen [Mk 9:24])
(7) The proper response to providence is thanksgiving to the
personal God. Confession of luck denies providence. (Baker
Encyclopedia of the Bible Walter A. Elwell Editor. Baker Books
The Puritan writer Thomas
Watson has the following notes on providence writing that...
There is no such thing as chance or
blind fate—but there is a providence which guides and governs the
world. (see Pr 16:33) Providence is God's ordering all outcomes
and events of things, after the counsel of his will, to his own glory.
 I call providence—God's ordering things, to distinguish it from
his decrees. God's decree ordains things that shall happens, God's
providence orders them.
 I call providence the ordering of things after the counsel of
 God orders all events of things, after the counsel of his will, to
his own glory; his glory being the ultimate end of all his actings,
and the center where all the lines of providence meet. The providence
of God is "the queen and governess of the world." It is the eye which
sees, and the hand which turns all the wheels in the universe. God is
not like an artificer who builds a house, and then leaves it—but like
a pilot, he steers the ship of the whole creation...
God's providence reaches to all
places, persons, and affairs...providences, which are casual and
accidental to us, are pre-determined by the Lord...providence is
greatly to be observed—but we are not to make it the rule of our
actions...Divine providence is irresistible...God is to be trusted
when his providences seem to run contrary to his promises...The
providences of God are chequer-work, they are intermingled...The same
action, as it comes from God's providence, may be good; and as it
comes from men, may be evil...ADMIRE God's providence...Learn quietly
to SUBMIT to divine providence...You who are Christians, believe that
all God's providence shall conspire for your good at last...Let it be
an antidote against immoderate FEAR, that nothing comes to pass but
what is ordained by God's decree, and ordered by his providence... Let
the merciful providence of God cause THANKFULNESS... (For more
detailed discussion see -
Body of Divinity - Scroll Down to
"14. The PROVIDENCE of God")
The Providence of God
SUGGESTION: Observe the following Scripture
references on your own to see if you agree with Torrey's analysis and to
build up your faith in God's providence
Consider making you own list of the truths about God's providence in
your daily journal. Consider using these Scriptures to lead your Bible
study class through a simple
inductive Bible study
on the providence of God. Remember that one of the great
benefits/effects of God's Word of Truth is to sanctify us
(John 17:17 = Jesus' prayer for each
, to set us apart from this passing world and unto our unchanging
Father, in short, to make us holy as He is holy
(See 1Pe 1:13, 14-note,
1Pe 1:15, 16-note
and be challenged and motivated by the truth of 1Pe 1:17-note!)
1. Is His care over His works. Ps
2. Is exercised in
a. Preserving His creatures. Ne 9:6;
Ps 36:6; Mt 10:29.
b. Providing for His creatures. Ps 104:27,28; 136:25; 147:9; Mt 6:26.
c. The special preservation of saints. Ps 37:28; 91:11; Mt 10:30.
d. Prospering saints. Ge 24:48,56.
e. Protecting saints. Ps 91:4; 140:7.
f. Delivering saints. Ps 91:3; Isa 31:5.
g. Leading saints. Dt 8:2,15; Isa 31:5.
h. Leading saints. Dt 8:2,15; Isa 63:12.
i. Bringing His words to pass. Nu 26:65; Jos 21:45; Lk 21:32,33.
j. Ordering the ways of men. Pr 16:9; 19:21; 20:24.
k. Ordaining the conditions and circumstances of men. 1Sa 2:7,8; Ps
l. Determining the period of human life. Ps 31:15; 39:5; Ac 17:26.
m. Defeating wicked designs. Ex 15:9-19; 2Sa 17:14,15; Ps 33:10.
n. Overruling wicked designs for good. Ge 45:5-7; 50:20; Php 1:12.
o. Preserving the course of nature. Ge 8:22; Job 26:10; Ps 104:5-9.
p. Directing all events. Jos 7:14; 1Sa 6:7-10,12; Pr 16:33; Isa 44:7; Ac
q. Ruling the elements. Job 37:9-13; Isa 50:2; Joh 1:4,15; Na 1:4.
r. Ordering the minutest matters. Mt 10:29,30; Lk 21:18.
3. Is righteous. Ps 145:17; Da 4:37.
4. Is ever watchful. Ps 121:4; Isa 27:3.
5. Is all pervading. Ps 139:1-5.
6. Sometimes dark and mysterious. Ps 36:6; 73:16; 77:19; Ro 11:33.
7. All things are ordered by
a. For His glory. Isa 63:14.
b. For good to saints. Ro 8:28.
8. The wicked made to promote the
designs. Isa 10:5-12; Ac 3:17,18.
9. To be acknowledged
a. In prosperity. Dt 8:18; 1Ch 29:12.
b. In adversity. Job 1:21; Ps 119:15.
c. In public calamities. Am 3:6.
d. In our daily support. Ge 48:15.
e. In all things. Pr 3:6.
10. Cannot be defeated. 1Ki 22:30,34;
11. Man’s efforts are vain without. Ps 127:1,2; Pr 21:31.
12. Saints should
a. Trust in. Mt 6:33,34; 10:9,29-31.
b. Have full confidence in. Ps 16:8; 139:10.
c. Commit their works to. Pr 16:3.
d. Encourage themselves. 1Sa 30:6.
e. Pray in dependence upon. Ac 12:5.
f. Pray to be guided by. Ge 24:12-14; 28:20,21; Ac 1:24.
13. Result of depending upon. Lk
14. Connected with the use of means. 1Ki 21:19; 22:37,38; Mic 5:2; Lk
2:1-4; Ac 27:22,31,32.
15. Danger of denying. Isa 10:13-17; Eze 28:2-10; Da 4:29-31; Ho 2:8,9.
William S Plumer
Providence is the care of God over
created being; divine superintendence. (Johnson)
Providence is the care and superintendence which God exercises over his
Providence is the divine superintendence over all created beings; the
care of God over his creatures. (Worcester)
The doctrine of divine Providence is that all things are sustained,
directed, and controlled by God. (Leonard Woods)
By the law of providence, I mean God's sovereign disposal of all the
concerns of men in this world—in the variety, order, and manner, which
he pleases—according to the rule and infinite reason of his own
goodness, wisdom, righteousness, and truth. (John Owen)
The word providence is taken from the Latin, and by its etymology means
foresight, not merely in the sense of seeing before—but in the sense of
taking care for the future, or rather an ordering of things and events
after a pre-determined and intelligent plan. It supposes wisdom to
devise, and power to execute. (Bethune)
Providence is the superintendence and care which God exercises over
Providence is the care which God takes of all things, to uphold them in
being and to direct them to the ends which he has determined to
accomplish by them, so that nothing takes place in which he is not
concerned in a manner worthy of his infinite perfections, and which is
not in unison with the counsels of his will. (Dick)
God's conserving all things means his actual operation and government in
preserving and continuing the being, powers, dispositions, and motions
of all things. (Clarke)
The providence of God is his almighty and everywhere present power,
whereby as it were by hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and
all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and
barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty,
yes, and all things come, not by chance—but by his fatherly hand.
God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful
preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions.
According to preceding views and to the Scriptures, God's providence
1. In His preserving all that He has made. He upholds all things by the
word of his power. Heb. 1:3. "All eyes look to You, and You give them
their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of
every living thing." Psalm 145:15, 16. This dependence of creatures is
universal and perpetual. Could one link in the chain thereof be broken,
the least evil that would follow would be annihilation.
2. In governing all that he has made. First, he restrains the creature.
By the law of gravitation He keeps solid worlds in their places. By the
power of His hand He withholds free agents from both natural and moral
evil. Secondly, He guides His creatures. It is His voice that rolls the
stars along, and marshals all the stars of heaven, and works wonders
among the inhabitants of the earth. Without Him atoms and planets,
angels and devils, saints and sinners can do nothing.
"Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3
"For I know that the Lord is great; our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas
and all the depths!" Psalm 135:5-6
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!" Revelation