Providence Topical Study

<h2 class="heading-lg"><strong>What does the Bible say about providence?</strong></h2><h3 class="heading-sm">Providence as a function of divine sovereignty</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 103:19</a>, God&#39;s kingdom rules over all</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 135:6</a>, the Lord does whatever pleases him</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Daniel 4:35</a>, God does what he wills</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Ephesians 1:11</a>, we obtained an inheritance through Christ</span></span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Providence over the natural order</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 147</a>, God takes care of the earth</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Proverbs 16:33</a>, God makes the decisions even if we cast lots</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Matthew 10:29-30</a>, God knows the hairs on our heads</span></span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Providence over human history</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Job 12:23</a>, &quot;He makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Proverbs 21:1</a>, &quot;The king&#39;s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Daniel 2:21</a>, God controls who rules nations</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Acts 17:26</a>, God chose who will inhabit the earth and where they will live</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 8:28</a>, all things work together for good, according to God&#39;s purpose</span></span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Providence over individual lives and free action</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Psalm 139:16</a>, without God, nothing exists</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Proverbs 16:9</a>, &quot;The human mind plans the way, but the L<span class="small-caps">ord</span></span> directs the steps&quot;</span></li></ul><h3 class="heading-sm">Providence and moral actions</h3><ul><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 45:5</a>, &quot;And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.&quot;</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Genesis 50:20</a>, God intended it for good</span></span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Acts 4:27-28</a>, your plan had predestined to take place</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Romans 9:17-18</a>, God hardens the heart of whomever he chooses, like he did for Pharaoh</span></span></li><li><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span class="body-copy"><a href="">Ephesians 2:8-10</a> &quot;For by grace you have been saved through faith. . .&quot;</span></span></li></ul><h2 class="heading-lg"><strong>Sermon ideas about providence</strong></h2><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">A fully biblical account of providence holds in tension the concepts of divine sovereignty and human moral agency. Rejecting both deism&#39;s denial of God&#39;s active agency in history and fatalism&#39;s denial of active human agency, biblical providence affirms that while God rules the hearts and actions of all humans (<a href="">Prov. 21:1</a>, <a href="">Ezra. 6:22</a>), humans are truly free agents in the sense that their decisions are their own and they are morally responsible for them.</span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">A r<span class="body-copy">obust doctrine of divine providence sharpens the existential problem of the apparently gratuitous amounts of evil and suffering in the world. Pastoral sensitivity must recognize that the doctrine of God&#39;s providence cuts both ways. That the death of a beloved child happened within the permissive will of God can be a source of either deep comfort or high horror. Perhaps in such cases it is helpful to frame providence as God&#39;s gracious presence in the silence of suffering. The narratives of Joseph (<a href="">Gen. 37-50</a>), Ruth, and Esther all explore God&#39;s redemptive action in the midst of pain and the absence of miraculous intervention. Providence also points to the redemptive suffering of Christ (&quot;Providence made flesh&quot;) and God&#39;s settled intention to ultimately rid creation of evil (<a href="">Rev. 21</a>). Understood correctly, John Calvin notes: &quot;The necessary consequences of this knowledge are gratitude in prosperity, patience in adversity, and a wonderful security respecting the future.&quot; Providence and predestination. Zwingli notes that providence is the parent of predestination, the general description of God&#39;s sovereign control, of which predestination is its narrow application to the doctrine of salvation.</span> <span class="body-copy-sm">(John Calvin,Institutes, I:xvii.7)</span></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Thanksg<span class="body-copy">iving is the civic celebration of the doctrine of providence: &quot;The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which </span>is habitually insensible to the ever <em>watchful providence of Almighty God</em>.&quot; <span class="body-copy-sm">(Abraham Lincoln&#39;s proclamation of a national Thanksgiving Day, October 3, 1863)</span></span></span></p>