The Bible teaches that God has created the universe, He is preserving the universe, and He sovereignly controls the universe. This sovereign control is referred to as God’s providence. Here are a few examples of God’s providence:
God is in control of history.
Daniel 2:20-21: Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.
Application: God is at work accomplishing His purposes no matter what the government is doing or what is going on in the world. We must be confident that God is in control of all the events in the world.
God is in control of the circumstances of our lives.
James 4:13-15: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
Application: When something bad happens we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty and trust that His plan is good.
God is in control of how long we live.
Job 14:5: Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.
Application: We should be wise in how we live, however we should not live our lives with a fear of death. God is in control of our lives, and He already has our days numbered.
God is in control of small details.
Proverbs 16:33: The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
Application: Since God is control of even the smallest little detail we should be very careful not to complain about the work God is doing.
God is in control of what people do.
Genesis 50:20: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Application: God is in control of all of creation, including human beings. However, this does not nullify our responsibility to do what is right.
God is in control of the salvation of sinners.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7: What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
Application: Because God is sovereign over our salvation we can be confident that our salvation is sure. We can also be confident as we share our faith with others that it is God who will work to save.
The idea of God’s providence also affects God’s provision for His people. The Bible teaches that God is providentially making provision for the good of His people.
Romans 8:28: 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.
In the midst of tragedy it can be almost impossible to believe that God is working for good, however we must remember that God has used great tragedy for great good in the past. In fact, God used the murderous intentions of men to make salvation available to all peoples.
Matthew 19:17-18: They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.
Matthew 19:30: Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
The doctrine of God’s providence is essential to the Christian life. God’s rule over creation allows us to live with the confidence that God is active in our lives. Ultimately, we are in God’s care and we can be confident as we face what seems to be an uncertain future. We can pray confidently because we know that God has the power to act upon our requests, and we can face uncertainty knowing that God is aware of our situation and involved in it.