Providence Is the Hand of GOD What is providence?
The word "providence" comes from the Latin providentia (Gk. pronoia [provnoia]) and means essentially foresight or making provision beforehand.
On the human plane it may be used positively, as when Tertullus praised Felix by saying,
Acts 24:2“And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,”
Or negatively, as when Paul admonishes us in Romans 13:14 : “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
When applied to GOD, the idea takes on a vastly larger dimension because GOD not only looks ahead and attempts to make provision for his goals, but infallibly accomplishes what he sets out to do.
And because it is GOD'S governance that is in view, it encompasses everything in the universe, from the creation of the world to its consummation, inclusive of every aspect of human existence and destiny.
Providence, then, is the sovereign, divine superintendence of all things, guiding them toward their divinely predetermined end in a way that is consistent with their created nature, all to the glory and praise of GOD.
This divine, sovereign, and benevolent control of all things by GOD is the underlying premise of everything that is taught in the Scriptures.
Here's a theological definition:Providence is the means by which GOD directs all things — both animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil — toward a worthy purpose, which means HIS will must finally prevail. Or as the psalmist said, "his kingdom ruleth over all" (Psalm 103:19).
In Ephesians 1:11 Paul tells us that GOD "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Our GOD is running the universe today, friends, even though there are (some) who (think) that it has slipped out from under HIM.
WRONG ! HE ( GOD ALMIGHTY ) Is very much in charge of ALL of HIS creation, period.
Providence also speaks of the inscrutability of GOD'S providence and the vain attempts of the wicked to hide from the all-seeing control of GOD, calling them "exiles from eternal providence" ( The Wisdom of Solomon.) There are ( three words ) we need to keep in mind before we can properly understand the providence of GOD in relationship to the material universe and to man in particular. 1. The first word is 'creation'. We understand by "creation" that GOD, by His fiat word, spoke this universe into existence. The only way that you and I, certainly as Christians, will ever understand how this universe began is by faith. We understand that GOD brought this universe into existence, and the only way that we know this is by revelation. "...Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). 2. Then the second word is 'preservation'. That's a tremendous word. It is by GOD'Spreservation that the universe is held together.Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Christ "upholds all things by the word of his power." Colossians 1:17 says, "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." I think it is remarkable that we have a universe that runs like clockwork today ! Who runs it?
The Lord Jesus Christ runs the universe. He upholds all things by the word of His power. 3. The third word is providence. Providence is the way that God is directing the universe. He is moving it into tomorrow — He is moving it into the future by His providence. Providence means "to provide." GOD will provide. On Golgotha The LORD JESUS CHRIST was crucified. HE was the Lamb that GOD provided. HE was ( and is ) "the lamb of GOD, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
Foundational Ideas. Providence is a pervasive idea in the Scriptures, which makes it difficult to summarize.
However, there are some general statements that can be made, before a specific look is taken at the various aspects of providence. Underlying any discussion of providence are these fundamental principles.
First, GOD is sovereign in this universe and in complete control of all things ( 1 Chron 29:11-12 ; Psalm 24:1 ; 115:3 ; 135:6 ).
Nothing is able to stand up to him, defy him, or do that which will defeat him in the end. Not only is this true on earth; this is true among the so-called gods. In fact, there are no other gods, only idols;
GOD alone is GOD in all the universe ( Deuteronomy 4:35 Deuteronomy 4:39 ; Isa 45:5-6 ; 1 Cor 8:4-6 ; 1 Tim 1:17 ) and nothing is impossible for HIM ( Jer 32:27 ; Luke 1:37 ).
Second, The One and only GOD created the world; hence, it is HIS and subject to HIM -
( Deut 10:14 ; Job 9:5-10 ; Psalm 89:11 ; 95:3-5 ; 1 Cor 10:26 ).
It is impossible that anything or anyone, whether in heaven or on earth, whether supernatural being, king, or simple peasant, should imagine that they are self-sufficient or answerable only to themselves,
( Isa 45:11-12 ; Jer 37:17-23 ; Dan 4:35 ; Rev 20:11-13 ).
Third, The GOD who alone is GOD and who made and governs this world has an eternal plan for it.
This plan is not just what he desires will be done but is in fact the very essence of this world's existence and the explanation of it ( Psalm 33:11 ; Prov 19:21 ;Eccl 3:14 ; Isa 14:24-27 ; 46:8-11 ). Fourth, GOD'S [will and purpose] are realized in and through JESUS CHRIST ( Eph 1:9-10 ; 3:11 ).
GOD'S will is not the outworking of some impersonal abstract principle, as with Greek thought, --
but the personal, saving will of a heavenly FATHER!
GOD is involved directly in our affairs and we have learned through revelation (reason alone could never have guessed this) that HE became [one] (with us) through the incarnation of HIS SON for our redemption !!
This was part of an eternal purpose that (existed) before the world began and was effectuated in time at the moment of GOD'S own choosing. HE decided when the time had arrived and brought it all to pass.
On the basis of this, GOD has spread HIS [beneficence] throughout all the ages and will someday draw all things together in CHRIST, for "from HIM and through HIM and to HIM are all things" ( Rom 11:36 ).
Finally - although the plan of GOD has been partially revealed to us, (in its totality) (it remains an ultimate mystery.)
We are not capable of grasping what it ultimately means because GOD HIMSELF is ultimately beyond us
( Job 11:7-9 ; 26:14 ; 36:26 ; Eccl 3:11 ; Eccl 11:5 ; Isa 40:28 ; 55:8 ).
This limitation on our part is not designed by GOD to humiliate us, but to humble us, to help us realize our creaturely status and find our appropriate place in his scheme of things.
We are not GOD.
We will never understand the depths of GOD. This should call us to faith and trust in him and teach us to obey him, whether we discern what GOD intends or not. Our deepest prayer should be, as JESUS taught us -
(Matthew 6:10) “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Providence means that the hand of GOD is in the glove of human events.
GOD is at the steering wheel, He is [not ] the backseat driver.
Providence is the unseen rudder on the ship of state.
GOD is the pilot at the wheel during the night watch.
As someone has said, "He makes great doors swing on little hinges."
GOD brought together a little baby's cry and a woman's heart down by the River Nile when Pharaoh's daughter went to bathe.
The LORD pinched little Moses and he let out a yell. The cry reached the heart of the princess, and GOD used it to change the destiny of a people. That was providence. That was the hand of GOD.
The eternal destiny of all human beings is in the hands of GOD.
The redeemed know that in some inexplicable way it is GOD who has planned and effectuated their salvation
( Ephesians 1:3-8 Ephesians 1:11-12 ).
To GOD is due all the praise for the salvation of those who are redeemed.
The status of the lost is more problematic, but no one, not even the unredeemed, are ultimately [outside]the will of GOD -
( Prov 16:4 ; Rom 9:14-18 ; 1 Peter 2:7-8 ). They are not forced to be lost, but choosing to reject GOD'S offer of mercy does not somehow free them from the control of GOD.
Even their rejection has been included in the eternal plan of GOD.
( This is perhaps the worst part of it for them...) In their attempt to be free from GOD by rejecting HIM,
even if at the cost of their own souls, they find that there is no such thing.
There is a special providence for those who put their entire trust in GOD.
Our times are in HIS hands ( Psalm 31:15 ) and HE is directing our steps ( Psalm 40:5 ; 73:23-24 ).
Throughout all of our lives there is a special deliverance from:
Evil and calamity -
( Job 5:17 Job 5:19-21 ; Psalm 32:7 ; 33:18-19 ; 56:13 ; 91:9-10 ; 2 Tim 4:18 ).
Healing and help in time of need ( Psalm 30:2 ; 37:40 ; 54:4 ; 103:2-5 ; Heb 4:16 ).
Preservation and protection ( Psalm 37:28 ; 138:7 ;Prov 3:25 ; 14:26 ; 18:10 ; Isa 43:1-2 ).
Blessing and strength ( Psalm 65:4 ; 84:11 ; Rom 10:12 ; 2 Cor 4:7 ; 2 Tim 4:17).
1 Peter 5: - Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.