Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Hidden Providence of God

Q. How does the knowledge of God's creation and providence help us?
A. We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from His love. All creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they can neither move nor be moved.
~ The Heidelberg Catechism, Q #28

Yesterday, I had the privilege of preaching at my church--Grace Covenant--and my sermon was on the topic of God's providence from the introduction to the story of Joseph in Genesis 37. Sometimes when the topic of God's sovereignty comes up, we hear someone say something like this, "If God is really in charge, then He must be incompetent. Look at the world around us and tell me that it's not a mess!" And, sometimes, when life does not go like we had hoped, we are even tempted to say something like that, and if we do not say it out loud, it probably enters our minds. Maybe it is when we read a definition of providence, like the one in the answer to question 27 of the Heidelberg Catechism that says this:
Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which He upholds, as with His hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from His fatherly hand. 
Or, maybe it is when we read passages like Romans 8:28 and think, "God, is this really true? Are you really there? Because I really could use a sign or some kind of indication that You're working in my life." Well, Genesis 37, and the rest of the story of Joseph that follows, is probably one of the best places to go to address thoughts like that, which is why it was the passage for this sermon (even though it is a little long for a sermon passage). That narrative, in the context of the whole story of Joseph, is one of the greatest illustrations of God's providence and Romans 8:28 in the entire Bible. You know why? Because what we have there is not a series of propositions or definitions but a narrative that proves the point—a story that kind of reminds us of our experience with God. In fact, we can often see in Joseph's story many parallels to our own, and those parallels can teach us about providence and help us to interpret our own stories.

So, if you are interested in hearing more. You can listen to the sermon here or read the transcript here. I pray that it will encourage your soul and deepen your trust in God and love for Him.

By His Grace,

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