GOD’S INVISIBLE HAND:
COMING TO GRIPS WITH THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
The Providence (literally, “Pro-Video” = To See Before) of God is His almighty and everywhere present power, whereby, as it were, by His 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 to come, are not by chance—but by His Fatherly hand.
Col 1:15-17, Heb 1:3, Ps 115:3,145:4-5,9-12,14-16, 18-20,
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 and for His children’s good.
“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
(Rom 8:28) Prov 3:5-6
The doctrine of God’s Providence puts on display a number of God’s attributes: Jer 9:23-24 (mentions 3)
Sovereignty—---He is in control.
Omnipotence—-He is infinitely powerful.
Predestination—He is in charge of how everything turns out.
Omnipresence—He is present everywhere and involved
Omniscience—- He knows everything. He is all-Wise.
He makes no mistakes.
Love---------------He is Good. He has the best interests of His
children at heart; consequently, The Person
and Work of Jesus Christ and Heaven.
Justice/Righteousness- He judges men and angels.
He displays His wrath and punishes
all sin; hence, The Cross and Hell.
God’s Providence determines:
When it happens
How it happens
Why it happens
And even what happens after it happens.
In “cause and effect”, He is the first cause and reserves the right to intervene and change logical outcomes.
The Universe is not a “closed system”, God, in His Providence intervenes in the natural world with the supernatural; He performs the miraculous.
This is true of:
All events, In every place, from the beginning of time.
He exercises His Providence for our good and his glory.
He is not the author of sin, yet evil serves His purposes.
(Satan is said to be no more than “God’s little errand boy”, he does nothing without God’s permission.)
He uses man’s will to serve his purposes.
We will never fully understand His Providence.
We can, however, and should become sensitive to His Invisible Hand. We can develop eyes that see His hand; at times, before events unfold and, quite often, after they happen. It’s one thing for God to work in our lives, it’s another altogether for us to realize He’s working and praise and worship Him because of it. God wants to be known, exalted and glorified for who He is and all that He does! Take the scales from our eyes and let us see You!
Example: The life of Joseph- Gen 45:5-8 & 50:20
PROVIDENCE FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE:
One view: Being in the right place at the right time!
Regarding Joseph: At just the right time;
His brothers threw him into the cistern.
The Midianites came along.
He was sold to Potiphar.
Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him.
He met the baker and the cupbearer.
The cupbearer remembered Joseph.
Pharaoh called for him.
He was promoted to Prime Minister.
Jacob sent his sons to Egypt.
The brothers met Joseph.
Jacob’s family moved to Egypt.
Pharaoh offered them the land of Goshen.
The Hebrew people settled there for 400 years just as God prophesized to Abraham and Joseph knew (reason why he gave orders not to be buried in Egypt) and were then delivered out of slavery by Moses exactly according to God’s timing.
PROVIDENCE: SEEING GOD’S INVISIBLE HAND
TO KNOW GOD IS AT WORK IN OUR SITUATION AND INTIMATELY INVOLVED IN ALL THE DETAILS:
Frees us from bitterness.
Gives us a new perspective on our tragedies and helps makes sense out of suffering.
Gives us courage to keep going in hard times with hope and confidence.
Convinces us, over time, that God makes no mistakes:
“My Father's way may twist and turn, My heart may throb and ache. But in my soul I'm glad to know, He makes no mistakes.
My cherished plans may go astray, my hopes may fade away. But still I'll trust my Lord to lead, for He surely knows the way,
Though the night be dark and it may seem that day will never break, I'll pin my faith, my all on Him, He makes 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, though dark to me, He made not one mistake.” (A.M. Overton, 1932)
THE TAPESTRY OF GOD’S WILL AND MAN’S WILL WOVEN TOGETHER
The Crucifixion- Acts 2:23
Judas- Luke 22:3, 21-22
Assyria attacking Israel (The Northern Kingdom)-
What brought on the attack?
1) King’s conspiracy w/ Egypt (Man’s action)- 2 Kings 17:3-5
2) Israel had sinned (God’s action)- 2 Kings 17:7
3) A closer look at the Conspiracy-
OUR WAKE-UP CALL-
TRUSTING THE WORLD GETS US IN TROUBLE
Isa 30:1-3,5, 31:1 (opposite Ps 20:7)
Assyria attacking Judah (The Southern Kingdom)-
TRUSTING GOD CREATES OPPOSITE OUTCOME
(Ps 20:7 opposite Isa 31:1) Isa 37:4b, 6-7,10, 29, 36-38
Outcome- take Psalms 33:18-22 into your heart
GOD’S PROVIDENCE RE: THE LOST VS THE SAVED
General Revelation vs Special Revelation
General Call vs Efficacious Call
Common Grace vs Specific Grace- Ps 145:20, Eph 1:5-12
God’s Love for the “World” vs God’s Love for His Children
Ps 37 Contrasts (alphabetic acrostic),summary- vs 22-24
Romans 9:6-24, focus on 22-24
PROVIDENCE AND OUR OBEDIENCE
Does it matter?
A healthy, reverent, respectful, Fear of God- Heb 10:31
Uzzah- 2 Samuel 6:1-7
The Man of God in 1 Kings 13
THE TEN TESTS IN THE WILDERNESS
1 Cor 10:1-11, focus on 11
1) Pharaoh’s Army- Ex 14:10-12, 14
2) Bitter Water- Ex 15:22-27 (just 3 day from the Red Sea)
3) Lack of Food- Ex 16:2-4
4) Lack of Water- Ex 17:1,7
5) The Golden Calf- Ex 32:1
6) Hardships of Desert Life- Num 11:1-3
7) Lack of Meat- Num11:4-35
8) Size & Power of Their Enemies- Num 14:1-35
9) Rebelled Against Authority- 2 people first- Num 12:1-10
Then Korah- Num 16:1-50
10) Dwelling On The Negatives, Complaining- Num 21:4-9
Summary Statement- Psalms 78:11-17, 18-22, 40-41
GOD’S APPLICATION TO US OF THE TEN TESTS
Hebrews 4:4-11 (read Ryrie note on 4:5-9)
Moving out of “The Wilderness” (working) (Romans 7) into “The Promised Land” (Resting) (Romans 8)
by shifting internally from:
living life “by the flesh”, “by works through human effort” to:
living life “by The Spirit”, “by grace through faith” (Romans 6)
How? “Cross the Jordan” through Brokenness, having come to the end of ourselves, and enter into Christ as our identity and start experiencing our union with Christ in death, burial and resurrection; abiding in Him as our Life.
Jesus Christ IS The Promised Land!
How would you like God going before you, fighting your battles, protecting you from the evil one, providing everything you need pertaining to life and godliness and making your life count, bearing fruit and producing divine good, the “gold, silver and precious stones” that go with you into eternity, rather than the “wood, hay and stubble” of human good that is burned up in the last day?
2 Chronicles 16:9
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His (totally surrendered)”.