I. WSC Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence? A. God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.
II. It includes all things that happen – Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will
III. It includes second causes – Ex. 14:21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.
IV. It is all one providence – Joseph destined to rule Egypt, so was hated by brothers, put in hole, sold to Midianites, sold to Potiphar, etc…result Gen 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
V. It includes small details – II Chron 18:33&34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he (Ahab) died.
VII. It includes political leaders – Prov. 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
VIII. It includes protecting you from your enemies – Prov. 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
IX. It includes evil acts – Joseph’s brothers, marriage to Ruth, Acts 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross…
X. It does not excuse moral responsibility for evil acts…Acts 2:36-38 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent…
XI. There are two wills of God, his providential will and revealed will (Bible). You cannot know God’s providential will in advance. Deut. 29:29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
XII. You cannot know God’s providential will through
B. Private revelations
XIII. God’s providence works for your ultimate good – Rom 8:29
XIV. God has chosen to use prayer to accomplish his providential will – so pray, but avoid superstition such as the need for more people to pray to move providence.
XV. You cannot read providence – John 9:1-3 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus
Luther, #19, the Heidelberg Disputations: “That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened.”
XVI. Miracles, as defined by Scripture, have ceased – Heb 2:3&4 This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Thoughts on Providence by Thomas Boston
Beware of murmuring and fretting under any dispensations of providence that you meet with; remembering that nothing falls out without a wise and holy providence, which knows best what is fit and proper for you. And in all cases, even in the middle of the most afflicting incidents that happen to you, learn submission to the will of God, as Job did, when he said upon the end of a series of the heaviest calamities that happened to him, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job, i. 21. In the most distressing case, say with the disciples, “The will of the Lord be done,” Acts, 21:14.
Beware of anxious cares and fearfulness about your material well-being in the world. This our Lord has cautioned his followers against, Matt. 6:31. “Take no thought, (that is, anxious and perplexing thought,) saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” but let your souls learn to trust in God, who guides and superintends all the events and administrations of providence, by whatever hands they are performed.
Happy is the people whose God is the Lord: for all things shall work together for their good. They may sit secure in exercising faith upon God, come what will. They have good reason for prayer; for God is a prayer-hearing God, and will be enquired of by his people as to all their concerns in the world. And they have ground for the greatest encouragement and comfort in the middle of all the events of providence, seeing they are managed by their covenant God and gracious friend, who will never neglect or overlook his dear people, and whatever concerns them. For he has said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you,” Heb. 13:5.