The power and providence of God
In our world we have some people that are very powerful. We also have nations like ours that are very powerful. However there is no power in the universe that even begins to compare to power of God and his word. For instance,
Hebrews 11:3 †By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
So by Godís power and through his spoken word the worlds were framed and set it order. No one except God has this kind of power. By this same word everything that we know and enjoy on this earth is preserved.
2 Peter 3:5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,† 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.† 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
So in other words God is the creator of life and the sustainer of life. It doesnít matter if it organic or inorganic all things are upheld by the power of his word. David was man who a great understanding of just how powerful God is and what respect we should show for him. Please notice his words in:
Psalm 29:1 A Psalm of
David. Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and
strength.† 2 Give unto the
LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of
holiness.† 3 The voice of the LORD
is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many
waters.† 4 The voice of the
LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.† 5 The voice of the LORD breaks the
cedars, Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon.† 6 He makes them also skip like a
From Genesis to Revelation we read about the power God over and over again and the amount of power that He has is beyond our ability to comprehend. However, there are many in the world today who have no respect for God and his power. People today try to invent all kind of theories to explain away creation and discredit the Bible but these come and the go and the word of God always stands firm in the end. But it doesnít really matter how many ways a person tries offer and some other explanation for God and his power it still will not take away from the truth. Everyone of these people will eventually become a believer but it will be to late for them because they will have already died. They will wish that they had paid attention to writers of
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.† 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
You see everyone must give an account and since everyone will stand before the judgment seat of Christ this is why I say that eventual everyone will eventual believe. However for many it will be to late. There is growing number of people today claiming to be atheist. Atheism is just an attitude or a philosophy. Those who claim to be atheist refuse to acknowledge God simply because of the philosophy of unbelief. The donít deny God because of lack of evidence because there is plenty of it they simply want to uphold their belief. It doesnít matter how much evidence or logical argument you show some people it will not change their mind because they donít want to change. A person cannot be forced to believe they must make the decision on their own to open their hearts to the truth.
It only then that a person can get to the point where they can set their pride and their self-will to the side so that they can begin to embrace the power and providence of God. Now† I donít know much about Benjamin Franklinís religious background but a statement that he made at the 81 at Constitutional Conventions tells me that he defiantly believed in the providence of God. He said,
ďI have lived, sir a long time, and the longer I live , the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without His aid or permission.Ē
Like Mr. Franklin every Christian needs to recognize that God is involved in your life and in him we live and move and have our very being. Knowing this should cause us to grow closer to God but if we decided to deny him he will deny us. Paul teaches Timothy this very lesson in,
2 Timothy 2:11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.† 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.† 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
This morning as we look at the providence and power of God I want to focus in on some difficult questions which test the faith of some Christians. For example:
Why are the wicked allowed to prosper?
Why are believers allowed to suffer?
Why must there be disappointments, diseases, disasters and death?
Why does God allow evil rulers and godless systems of Government to arise and exercise tyranny over mankind?
Now these are not questions that are easy to answer but Godís Word does gives us insight on how to answer these questions. As we attempt to answer these questions I think it important that we keep three things in mind.
1. Time means nothing to lord.
2 Peter 3:8 †But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. †
So even though 40 years may seem like a long time to us, from Godís perspective it but a blink of an eye.
2. We need to keep in mind that vengeance belongs to the lord and that no evil no matter small or big may be will escape Godís final judgment.
Ecclesiastes 12 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.†
There was farmer in a small town who was bragging about his unbelief and he decided to do a experiment to where he worked in his garden on Sunday instead of going to church to see what the results would be. Well, garden grew more than his Christian friends so in his own mind this proved to him that there wasnít a God. So he wrote a letter to editor of a local news paper and said the following,
ďI broke the ground on Sunday, planted on Sunday, cultivated on Sunday, and last October I harvested a better crop of corn than any of my neighbors. How do you account for this?Ē
The editor of the newspaper printed this but added one sentence as a response, He wrote,
ďThe Lord does not make final settlement in October.Ē I think would have also been good to point out what Jesus says about God in,
Matthew 5:45 †for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
3. We need to keep in mind is what Paul wrote in,
Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
It is important that we understand that many times we may not understand Gods way of doing things but we must learn to trust in his decisions. The only thing we can know for sure are the things that God has chosen to share with us in his written word.
Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
So as Christians we must learn to have faith and complete confidence in God that he work all things in our lives according to his perfect wisdom and justice. There are many questions that we have about this life and about life after death that we may never find answer that completely satisfies us, but we should never allow these questions of curiosity to cause us to doubt God almighty.†
In the OT Job asked God some of the same questions we have probably asked him on occasion. He asked, Why God, why? But, never answered Jobís question instead he asked Job, ďWhere were you when I made all thingsĒ? You see God was making it clear to Job his infinite power and wisdom and was teaching him that Job simply needs to trust in the Lord. Christians would do good to think about God response here and learn to trust in Gods wisdom.
So when we deal with difficult questions we need to keep those points in mind.
1. Time means nothing to the Lord
2. Vengeance belongs to the Lord
Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
3. Godís ways are sometimes past our finding out.
With this in mind who are we to question God almighty who created us in areas that have not been fully revealed to us through his word?
Let us now turn our attention to things related to human suffering.
Out of all the mysteries of life one of the most prevalent questions among Christians is why does God allow the innocent to suffer and are we to view all human suffering as punishment from God.
While we may not be able to answer the questions related to the topic we certainly can look a several point that we need to keep in mind.
1. We need recognize the fact that God didnít create evil in the first place. Instead Gen. 1 and 2 says that everything God made was good. So evil did not come from God it originated with the devil and the choice he made to rebel against God. At the beginning of time the human race was perfect and without sin or evil in their bones. Of course we all know that God gave them one restriction not to eat of the tree of life. Well staring with Eve they allowed the devil to influence them and they chose of their own free will to rebel against God and to usher in evil into the human race. So thanks to the Devil and the choice that Adam and Eve made, sin and the sufferings that go along with sin entered into the human race and is still here today.
Jesus many times is called the second Adam but unlike the first Adam who
separated us from God through sin Jesus came to reconcile us with God. Even
though we can become right with God we are still going to suffer the physical
2. We must accept the fact that this earth is just a temporary dwelling place.
James 4:14† For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
You see whenever you start comparing eternity in heaven to the short speck of time we live here on earth it should help us tremendously to face the sufferings of this life. Paul writes,†
Romans 8:18 ††For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.† 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Whenever Jesus comes back again to raise the dead and judge all people, those who have lived and died in Christ will be given a perfect body that is like Christís perfect resurrected body. Now the apostles didnít know and we donít know exactly what that perfect body will be like until the great day the Jesus returns. We are given this guarantee by the fact the Jesus was raised from the dead.†
So keeping this glorious hope in the back of our mind should make whatever we go through in this life seem insignificant as think about eternity in heaven.
3. Another we need to consider about human suffering is that many times it can teach us to become stronger in the Lord and to rely more upon him. Lets look at several passages that teach on various types of suffering.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,† 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.† 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;† 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.† 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.† 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,† 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
With all these verses in mind we need to remember that sometimes Godís strength made perfect in weakness. You see whenever we go through sufferings in our life it is not that God is punishing us but many times we learn great lessons from our suffering because we realize just how dependant we really are on God. Sometimes it takes a tragedy in someoneís life to wake them up and realize just how important it is to serve God and follow after his ways. So, when we do going through a difficult time in our life let use as an opportunity to grow to closer to God and never lets us forget to trust in Godís power and his providence. I want to close the lesson out this morning by reading a poem to you that coveys the idea of Godís providence.
If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds would roll away,
The shadows flee;
Our present griefís we would not fret,
Each trial we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet Ė for you and me. ††
If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
Ah, this deep darkness leads to light,
These dreary paths will soon be bright,
Someday lifeís wrongs will be made right:
Faith tells us so.
If I could see! If I could know!
We often say.
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way,
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to him the more;
He leads us till this life is oíer
Trust and obey!