God’s ProvidenceSeries: Thankful For. James Dewhurst November 8, 2020
Today, I want to talk to us about the greatest blessing we have ever received, or ever will receive in this life. This blessing mostly works behind the scenes, and seldom ever gets due credit. This blessing saves lives every single day. This blessing performs miracles that most call coincidences, every single day. This blessing protects the naive from danger, sends resources to the needy and shuts doors on those headed for certain disaster. This blessing heals, holds, helps, redirects and repurposes its recipients!
We’ll get back to that BLESSING in just a minute…
But first, there is an opposite side to the religious spectrum, which teaches that an intimate relationship between the created and their Creator, is a foolish impossibility. Deism is the belief that God is not a warm, close, or involved God, but rather a cold and distant creator who doesn’t hear or respond to his creation. That after God created the world, he left man alone to hack away at life through his human logic and reason, without any help from heaven. That God judges from a distance and we fight alone!
The biggest problem with the philosophy of Deism is that Christians have a Bible!
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)
2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (ESV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (ESV)
What these verses describe is an unmatched blessing called – The Providence of God!
The dictionary definition of the word Providence is: The Protective Care of God!
The theological definition of the word Providence is: How God directs all things — animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil — toward HIS worthy purpose.
John Adams – “There is no such thing as human wisdom. All is the providence of God.”
Charles Spurgeon – “The providence of God is nothing more than his goodness in action.”
Augustine – “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s Providence.”
We’re safe, strong and secure, not because of the absence of danger, or the result of an election, but because of the providence of almighty God! God is in charge church!
A.W. Tozer – “While it looks like things are out of control, behind the scenes there is a God who has not surrendered his authority.”
Billy Graham – “God is unchanging… He’s still is and always will be on the throne.”
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (ESV)
I want to talk to us this morning about the doctrine of God’s providence! The word “providence” comes from the Latin word for “provide” which has two parts: “pro” (Latin: “on behalf of”) and “vide” (Latin: “to see”). It means “to supply what is needed; to give sustenance or support.” And so the noun “providence” has come to mean biblically, the act of “providing for or sustaining and governing the universe by God.”
There is both a linguistic and theological meaning to the word Providence. Linguistically, “pro” means “on behalf of”. So, “pro-vide” can mean “to see on behalf of.” We say in English: “I’ll see to that.” “See to” means “take care of, provide for.” In other words, “Seeing to” something is acting on behalf of something. It is “providing for.” Therefore Providence, is the act of God’s “seeing to” the universe. God always sees to that!
2 Chronicles 16:9
9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” (ESV)
1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” (ESV)
Abraham was on the brink of losing his only son, Abraham replied to anxious Isaac in verse 7, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”
Imagine being Abraham and offering your one and only son as a sacrifice, and at the last moment, Jehovah Jireh shows up and provides a ram. God always provides!!!
You don’t need to worry about a ram, when you know the character of the Lamb!
In Genesis 22, whenever it says “provide”, the Hebrew word is, “see.” Very simply Abraham said to Isaac, “God will see for himself the lamb.” Here’s what I want you to get today, God never sees without acting. He is Jehovah Jireh. He is not a passive participant in a world that exists alone without his sustaining power. Wherever God is looking, God is acting. If God perceives, he performs. If God inspects, he effects. Wherever God patrols, He provides. Whenever God “sees it” he also “sees to it”!
So, what is the summary of the doctrine of providence? God is For Us!
Providence means that the hand of God is working in the glove of human events!
Some of us are looking back over this unbelievable year, and looking at the current chaos all over this nation. Your exhausted. Your frustrated. Your angry. Your scared. And your asking the same question that Paul asked 1970 years ago, in:
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (ESV)
God has the power to make great doors swing on small hinges!
-When the cry of a baby named Moses met the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter in the Nile River, that changed the destiny of a nation, it wasn’t coincidence it was Providence!
-When God uses that same former river orphan by the name of Moses, some 80 years later, to force pharaoh to set Israel free from 450 years of slavery it was Providence!
-When 80 year old Moses stood on the banks of the Red Sea, with Egypt’s angry army pressing behind him, as the water parted in front of the Israelites it was Providence!
No matter what you walked through yesterday or are facing today, the providence of God will get you to tomorrow! (God’s Provision is working out your problems!)
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (ESV)
+ “knit me together”: speaks of needlework and embroidery done by hand with detail.
(God was intimately involved in putting every detail of you together by his hand!)
+ “wonderfully made”: separate, distinguished, created to do wonderful things.
+ “days ordained”: initiated, structured and numbered by God himself.
The providence of God formed you, called you, ordained you and will sustain you
Hebrews 1:3 declares that “God is sustaining all things by the power of his word.”
Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all of your needs according to his riches in glory.”
Don’t let your pain blind you from God’s Providence!
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