Teaching God’s Providence In History
In a recent church service, my pastor referred to a quotation in which Abraham Lincoln was called “one of the greatest theologians of America.” At first I was taken back by this statement. Over the decades, Lincoln’s fame has won him many accolades, but “theologian” was not one I had heard before, not one I would have given to him.
My pastor continued, “Lincoln did not earn this title because he produced some system of doctrine or defended a particular denomination’s teaching, but because he saw the hand of God immediately in the affairs of nations.” Now this meaning of “theologian” made sense. From what I had studied about Lincoln , he constantly referred to God’s providential leading and control in history. This illustration prompted me to think about the teaching of history. Would that every teacher of history be such a “theologian,” constantly settling before his students the great truth of God’s providence in history.
“History, when rightly written, is but a record of providence and he who would read history rightly, must read it with his eyes constantly fixed on the hand of God.” This statement of a nineteenth-century historian sums up the responsibility of the Christian teacher of history, for “he who would teach history rightly, must teach it with his eyes constantly fixed on the hand of God.”
For more information on this topic, see The Providence of God in History, a booklet available from BJU Press.
by David Fisher. Updated October 21, 2015.
Is Synchronicity A Good Sign
When working with the Law of Attraction, the meaning is slightly different. Specifically, synchronicity signs are things that you see or experience that have a common meaning, helping to guide you toward a particular path. They’re commonly thought to be signs from the universe that foster your personal development.
The Providence Of God
SEE ALSO ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
The word “providence” is found only once in the Bible, a usage which refers to human providence , and yet Divine Providence permeates the pages of Holy Writ from Genesis to Revelation! This great truth ought to cause all of God’s children to shout “Hallelujah! Our God Reigns!” Amen. Indeed a healthy understanding of God’s providences should produce praise from His people, for as John Piper rightly said
In all the setbacks of your life as a believer,God is plotting for your joy.
Louis Berkouwer challenges the modern church’s belief in divine providence observing that
: Berkouwer’s question should challenge all of God’s children — Do we really believe and have firm, unshakeable confidence in the great doctrine of divine providence? May we study the Scriptures diligently for the answer and as we do, may the Spirit lead us into all truth regarding the Providence of God. Amen.
William Graham MacDonald observes that providence is
Providence is defined in our English dictionaries as the act of seeing and providing or preparing for the future, and Biblically refers to Gods foresight and power to watch over and protect and provide for His creatures . Listen to the words of Jesus that give us a wonderful description of divine providence
PROVIDENCE:OF THE UNIVERSE
Ray Pritchard writes that providence is
Deep in unfathomable minesHe treasures up His bright designsAnd works His sovereign will.
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What Are Some Examples Divine Providence In The Bible
We see Gods providence in Abraham telling his son Isaac, God will provide the needed sacrifice . God caused Pharaohs daughter to hear the cry of a tiny baby, and later used well-taught, sensitive Moses to change the destiny of His chosen people . Naomi struggled to understand Gods dealings with her and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, but she didnt doubt His plan . God worked in the hearts of the pagan Egyptians, King Artaxerxes, King Nebuchadnezzar, and King Darius. The Father also worked in Jobs circumstancesgiving Satan permission to ruin the patriarchs lifeand Job grew in vibrant faith.
Gods providence is written throughout the book of Esther, even though the casual reader might not be aware of it. Godwhose name is not mentioned in the bookorchestrated a beauty contest, a kings insomnia, and a dinner banquet to advance His purposes and rescue His people from Hamans evil plans and the kings irrevocable edict.
In a wonderful New Testament example, Saul of Tarsus persecuted the early church, but the entire timeas Saul kick against the goads of conviction after witnessing and approving of Stephens deathGod providentially prepared him for future ministry.
Gods Providence Revealed In Scripture
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Have you ever heard a non-Christian say, Everything happens for a reason? I have, and probably more times than I can count. Im not sure what to think when I hear it. On the one hand, Im glad when a non-Christian expresses doubts that purposeless things happen. After all, one can quickly move from belief that some things have no purpose, to belief that life has no purpose, to sheer nihilism that bears fruit in suicide or sociopathic behavior. On the other hand, I know that when most non-Christians confess that everything happens for a reason, they do not have the right reason in mind. Usually they are just admitting belief that blind, impersonal fate controls everything. But of course, how can blind, impersonal fate have a reason for everything? Purpose comes only from personal agents who make a plan and follow it. If everything happens for a reason, somethingor rather, Someonemust decide the reason for it.
No Such Thing as Chance
Providence in and through Us
Everything for a Reason
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How Should We Respond When Life Hurts
When we hurt, were inclined to forget Gods provident care. Stephen Witmer says, We suffer from providence amnesia. According to the Heidelberg Catechism, we should study Gods providence so we can be patient in adversity thankful in prosperity, and with a view to the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father.
Albert Mohler notes, Death, acute and chronic physical pain, profound mental anguish, and manifold other forms of suffering face both believers and unbelievers on a daily basis. what distinguishes the Christian biblical worldview is its affirmation that God is the sovereign Lord in whom all creatures, forces, and experiences find their purpose and meaning. The sovereign Lord gave the world His ultimate sign of power and providential love on the cross, Mohler said.
Christians dont like to use the words bad luck, but, Piper wrote, they dont have anything to put in their place, if they dont have a vocabulary that includes Gods providence. But Christians, even though they may not comprehend Gods secret scripts, can always trust Him. God is not passive or uninvolved. Where He patrols, He controls, Piper said.
Many hurting believers find comfort in a poem by William Cowper: God Moves in a Mysterious Way. Cowper wrote, Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face. God does not answer all our questions in tough times, but what appears to be hurtful might be the help we desperately need.
God Controls The Hard Things To Bring About Good
One aspect of Gods providence is his participation in human affairs. There are dozens of examples in the Bible of Gods personal involvement in the lives of individuals.
But this does not always mean things will be peachy.
For example, Josephs envious brothers sold him as a slave . Still, he told them later that Gods providential hand was involved. Joseph could see in hindsight how even the evil of his forced slavery was used by God to save Egypt and its surrounding nations from famine.
He said to his brothers, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today .
God is able to direct even the worst things in our lives to bring about good, because God is good . By acknowledging both Gods governance and his goodness, we honor him.
One biblical character named Job also knew a lot about suffering. He understood that even when God sends suffering, he deserves praise, because he is still accomplishing his good purposes. Job said, The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away blessed be the name of the Lord .
God conducts even the hardship in our lives, that he may bring about goodness, as we see in both Jobs and Josephs lives.
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Basic Forms Of Providence
Basically, there are two possible forms of belief in providence. The first is belief in more or less divine beings that are responsible for the world generally and for the welfare of humans specifically. Although omnipotence as an attribute of gods is rare, it is true that, as a rule, gods and other divine beings have considerable power not only over human destiny but also over nature. The gods take care of the world and of humankind, and their intentions toward humans are normally positive. The capriciousness and arbitrariness of the gods of paganism exist for the most part only in the imagination of those Christian theologians who attempted to denigrate the pagan religions. Gods and humans are generally connected into one community by reciprocal duties and privileges. The belief in evil spirits does not contradict this belief in providence but, on the contrary, strengthens it, just as in Christianity the belief in Satan might serve to strengthen the belief in God.
What Is The History Of The Word Providence
The word providence has a long history that goes back many centuries to Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas. It also was adopted as a foundational belief of Catholic, Reformed, and Lutheran theology. Reformed theology, brought into Protestant mainstream by John Calvin, was a common belief of the early American settlers from Europe. For this reason, the capitalized version of the word, Providence, was commonly used to refer to God as their protector and provider.
In American History, it was used by English Clergyman Roger Williams in 1636 when he had fled the Massachusetts Bay Colony to escape religious persecution. He settled in an area that he named Providence Plantations, which is known today as Providence, Rhode Island. There, he also founded the first Baptist church in America. His theological perspective on leaving the safety of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and trusting God for divine provision and protection was his motivation for naming the colony Providence plantation. The name Providence plantations continues to be part of the official state name of Rhode Island to this day.
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What Does It Mean When You Keep Seeing The Same Word Everywhere
Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one stumbles upon some obscure piece of informationoften an unfamiliar word or nameand soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. … Intuition tells us that Baader-Meinhof strikes with blurring accuracy, and too frequently to be explained away so easily.
The Testimony Of The Councils
From the creeds we learn that God the Father is the omnipotent creator of heaven and earth that God the Son descended from heaven, became man, suffered and died for our salvation, and is to be the judge of the living and the dead that the Holy Ghost inspired the Prophets and the Apostles, and dwells in the saints all of which implies Providence, natural and supernatural. The Profession of Faith prescribed for the Waldenses in 1208 declares God to be the governor and disposer of all things corporeal and spiritual . The council of Trent defines that evil is in the power of man, and that evil deeds are not to be attributed to God in the same sense as good deeds, but permissive only, so that the vocation of Paul is God’s work in a much truer sense than the treachery of Judas. The Council of the Vatican sums up past doctrine in the statement that God in His Providence protects and governs all things .
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The Testimony Of Scripture
The teaching of the Old Testament on Providence is assumed by Our Lord, who draws therefrom practical lessons both in regard to confidence in God and in regard to the forgiveness of our enemies while in St. Paul it becomes the basis of a definite and systematic theology. To the Athenians in the Areopagus Paul declares:
- that God made the universe and is its supreme Lord
- that He sustains the universe in its existence, giving life and breath to all things , and hence, as the source whence they all proceed, must Himself lack nothing nor stand in need of any human service
- that He has directed the growth of nations and their distribution , and
- this to the end that they should seek Him in Whom we live and move and have our being, and whose offspring we are .
We All Will Face Trials And Opposition In Our Service For The Lord
A. No servant of Christ is exempt from trials and opposition.
Paul was not what you would call an ordinary believer. God has not used any other man in the history of the church as mightily as He used the apostle Paul. That being the case, you would think that God would grant this great man smooth sailing so that he could accomplish as much as possible. But if you have read your New Testament, you know that that is far from the truth. Here is how Paul himself catalogued what he had gone through:
in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches .
B. The trials and opposition that we face often comes from those who are religious rather than from the pagans.
So the first lesson is that we all will face trials and opposition in our service for the Lord.
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The Old Testament Is A Story Of Providence
More By Kevin
The story of the Old Testament is nothing if not a story of divine providence. On every page, in every promise, behind every prophecy is the sure hand of God. He sustains all things, directs all things, plans all things, ordains all things, superintends all things, works all things after the counsel of his will.
This is not a small theme in the Old Testament. Providence is not merely an implied truth, deduced from a handful of obscure passages. No, the doctrine of divine providence is the soundtrack of Scripture. It is everywhere present even if at times you are not consciously aware of it. Like the book of Esther where Gods name is never mentioned but everything from a beauty contest to a kings insomnia serve to advance Gods purposes. The God of the Bible is a big God who does not leave things to chance. He does not simply react he predestines. He does not merely turn hard situations for our good he ordains hard situations for our good. Our God is never confused and never caught off guard. His will, to quote Augustine, is the necessity of all things.
What is Providence?
The God of Sovereign Sway
Even death is in the Lords hands.
The Lord brings death and makes alive he brings down to the grave and raises up . There is no other god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life. I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand .
Power with a Purpose
God Is Great, God Is Good
Examples Of Providence In A Sentence
providenceprovidenceprovidenceEW.comprovidence New York Timesprovidence VarietyprovidenceWSJprovidence ForbesprovidenceEW.comprovidenceThe New York Review of Booksprovidence ABC News
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘providence.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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Sometimes God Does Miracles
We certainly see God at work in all the miraculous ways he acted in history. Some examples in the Bible include God parting the Red Sea for his chosen nation Israel , sending a worldwide flood , and saving Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from being burned alive when they were thrown into a Babylonian furnace .
The Testimony Of The Fathers
The Testimony of the Fathers is, it need hardly be said, perfectly unanimous from the very outset. Even those Fathers and they are not many who do not treat expressly of the subject use the doctrine of Providence as the basis of their teaching, both dogmatic and practical . God governs the whole universe . It extends to every individual, adapting itself to the needs of each , and embraces even what we think is due to our own initiative . All things are created and governed with a view to man, to the development of his life and his intelligence, and to the satisfaction of his needs . The chief proof of this doctrine is derived from the adaptation of means to an end, which, since it takes place in the universe comprising a vast multitude of relatively independent individuals differing in nature, function, and end, implies the continuous control and unifying governance of a single supreme Being . Again, from the fact that God has created the universe, it shows that He must also govern it for just as the contrivances of man demand attention and guidance, so God, as a good workman, must care for His work . In addition to this, Tertullian and St. Cyprian appeal to the testimony of the human soul as expressed in sayings common to all mankind while Lactantius uses a distinctly pragmatic argument based on the utter ruin that would result to society, were the Providence of God generally denied.
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