In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Last week we began to look at God’s providence and saw that God’s providence is shown by his preservation and governance of his creation. This week I want to look at how God’s providence is shown by his ordering creation in all its actions, and then how God’s providence works for God’s own glory.
So firstly this week I want to demonstrate that God orders his creation in all its actions. The Bible speaks unashamedly of God’s complete control of creation. For example Jesus says: ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father’ (Matthew 10:29-30). Hardly anyone notices the death of a bird, particularly a sparrow. But God does. In fact, it is God that causes the bird to finally fall off the perch. And it’s not just birds that God controls in creation, it’s everything. Humans think they have control over themselves, but God says otherwise: ‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases’ (Proverbs 21:1). Notice whose heart God directs wherever he pleases – the king’s heart! No one is out of God’s sovereign control, no matter how much money and power you may have.
In the Bible we even learn that God’s providential control extends to our sin. This is most clearly seen in the story of Joseph whose brothers sold him as a slave. Joseph later in his life says to his brothers: ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’ (Genesis 50:20). God used the evil of the brothers for the good of Israel.
So what is the purpose of God’s providence – his preservation, governance and control of all of creation? The Bible tells us that all of creation and God’s providence in creation are for his glory. Paul says: ‘For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!’ (Romans 11:36). And the elders in heaven fall before God on his throne and worship him saying: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being’ (Revelation 4:11-1). God’s providence earns him praise.
So do you recognise the providence of God extends to his control over you and do you give him the glory as a result?