Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not By Chance, Chapter 7: The Means of Providence

[As before, I apologize for the interruption in posting this series of lessons from the excellent book, Not By Chance, by Layton Talbert. See the end of the post for links to earlier chapters.]

The key thought of this chapter is that God has an infinite variety of "means" that He can use to effect His providential will. This chapter is mainly limited to explicit references from the books of 1 and 2 Kings. Here are several examples:

God providentially uses people, including a wicked king (1 Kings 16:11-13) and a poor, starving widow (1 Kings 17:9-16).

God providentially uses animals, including ravens (1 Kings 17:4-6), a lion and donkey (1 Kings 13:1-32), and dogs (1 Kings 22:38; 2 Kings 9:30-37).

God providentially uses inanimate objects, including a wall (1 Kings 20:28-30) and dry ditches (2 Kings 3:9-20).

God providentially uses "coincidence"—events which converge at some point and time. In other words, God arranges and coordinates events. The events of Esther 6, Judges 7, 1 Kings 22:34, and 2 Kings 8:1-6 all give illustrations of this.

God providentially uses human imagination, both visual (2 Kings 3:21-25) and auditory (2 Kings 7:6-7).

The story of Jonah gives several very specific examples of this. We read there that God prepared a "great wind" (1:4) that caused a "mighty tempest," a "great fish" (1:17), a gourd (4:6), a worm (4:7), and a "vehement east wind" (4:8). A review of the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) also gives several more illustrations.

It is worth remembering that when "things look bad" to us, we must remember that God may very well be working out something good in or through our lives! Do not "misread" God or misinterpret His motives (indeed, do we even know those motives in the present?). Do not doubt that God can intervene in our circumstances, for as we read in Genesis 18:14, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" Clearly, it is not!

For Previous Chapters:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

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