Sunday Devotional: Why is Trusting in Divine Providence Important?

by David Crum

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In Christian theology, it is generally understood that divine providence highlights the sovereignty and omnipresence of God. The doctrine separates the adherents of deism from those who hold on to theism.

The Old Testament teaches that God was always involved with the Israelites. Even when wicked kings controlled lands, God relayed messages to prophets and sought those who followed Him.

In the same way, the New Testament focused on the Lord Jesus Christ as an active, personal Savior.

A denial of providence contradicts the Scriptures and the fundamental elements of Christianity. The denial may lead to humanism, which precedes a complete rejection of the Christian faith. William S. Plumer commented, “God’s providence is also over all the actions of all creatures. If anyone could act independently, he would be a god.”[1]

The rejection of providence places an emphasis on mankind, and of course, such logic leads to humanity seeking to determine its own future, including what is morally right and wrong. In today’s context, it produces spiritualism in a deity built in one’s mind. Providence should be prominent in apologetics but also in historical studies, as the Lord consistently taught that nothing occurs without the will of God:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

Not only is the Lord in charge of each individual, but He also oversees governments. While the notion of the Lord presiding over godless regimes and heathen lands is troubling to some believers, the reality is that Christians should expect this once they study the Scriptures. A fair question to ask: Does God assert judgment upon lands according to His will? The answer is yes, and the Scriptures teach so. Whether it is a defeat in battle or Israel being held captive, punishment occurs according to the purpose of the Lord.

A tyrannical or ungodly government that denies the Lord deserves nothing less than damnation. However, the leaders who humble themselves before their Creator can restore righteousness and prosperity in any land. Plumer elaborated:

Nor has God resigned any part of his government to fate or chance, both of which are blind and have no intelligence and, of course, no wisdom. He governs by a plan, which is never altered simply because it is his plan and, therefore can never be improved. Both fate and chance as agents are nothing, and know nothing, and can do nothing. Over all the earth presides one who has all and infinite perfections.[2]

Charles Hodge similarly wrote, “The Providence of God extends not only over nations, but also over individuals. The circumstances of every man’s birth, life, and death are ordered by God.”[3]

Providence produces humbleness and humility. The belief eliminates the concept of “by chance.” It further checks the believer to submit every aspect of their lives to the Lord. Whether a person suffers from an illness, there has been a death in the family, or the believer has lost their job, providence dictates their future, forcing reconciliation and submission to the authority and resolution of God. Puritan John Flavel instructed, “Ask yourself whether God has ever left you to collapse under your burdens.”[4] He later added:

I am not saying that believers are never afflicted. Nor do I say God always punishes every sin immediately. (If He did, who would stand?) But this I say: when God does afflict His children, it is a mercy. By such providences, the warning, as well as the promises, of God’s words are fulfilled.[5]

May the reader think of the great General Stonewall Jackson, who constantly proclaimed that Providence knows best.

[1] William S. Plumer, Jehovah-Jireh A Treatise on Providence, (1865; reprint Harrisonburg: Sprinkle Publications, 1997), 26

[2] Ibid., 37.

[3] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1988),459.

[4] John Flavel, Grace Essentials: God Willing Divine Conduct or the Mystery of Providence, (London: Grace Publications, 2019),33

[5] Ibid.











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