by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Luke 12:22-31
I. Imagine having an illness that left you unable to move on your own
A. Suffering with this disease for 38 years! - John 5:5-7
B. And then a stranger comes up and cures your disease - John 5:8-9
C. No longer weak, no longer dependent!
D. The Jews accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath - John 5:16
E. But Jesus makes an interesting statement regarding this event - John 5:17
F. In other words, God has always being working in this world and will continue to work (including on Sabbaths).
II. The universe functions through the continued efforts of God
A. Colossians 1:17 - In Jesus, all things hold together
B. Hebrews 1:3 - Jesus upholds all things by the word of his power
C. Psalms 148:1-6 - God created and God establishes
D. Acts 17:28 - It is in God that we live, move, and exist
III. God is involved in the natural order of the universe
A. Psalms 104:10-24 - God provides for His creation
B. Luke 12:24 - He is even concerned about the life of birds
C. Psalms 135:7 - He controls the weather
D. Job 37:11-12 - He controls the clouds
1. The fact that God uses the natural laws for the most part to accomplish His goals does not mean He does not exist or is not involved
2. God’s rule doesn’t mean that other forces are not also in play
a. God is in control, but He allowed Satan to try Job - Job 1-2
b. Mankind still has free-will while being directed by God
IV. What we see small glimpses of are God’s providence
A. What we mean by “providence” is God’s foresight, his care, and his provisions.
B. God makes plans for the future and sees that those plans are carried out - Isaiah 46:9-11
C. In the book of Esther
1. A queen refuses to obey her drunken king - Esther 1:11-12
2. This leads to a Jewish woman becoming queen - Esther 2:17
3. Meanwhile her cousin just happens to overhear a plot against the king - Esther 2:21-23
4. But a plot is made to kill all the Jews! And Mordecai tells Esther - Esther 4:13-14
5. Meanwhile Haman decides not to wait and just have Mordecai hanged - Esther 5:14
6. But that very night the king has trouble sleeping - Esther 6:1-3
a. Haman is made to personally arrange for Mordecai’s honor
7. That night it is revealed that Haman’s plot against the Jews would put the queen in danger - Esther 7:3-6
8. In pleading for his life, Haman accidentally slips - Esther 7:7-8
9. God is not directly mentioned, but too many events fall into place at just the right time. God’s foresight is seen in His providing for His people.
D. Yet, if I asked exactly what did God do, you couldn’t tell me because He accomplished His will through His control of the universe.
1. Just like David and Goliath. We know God arranged for David to take out Goliath, but you can’t mark exactly what God did.
E. That is the nature of God’s providence. You don’t know what God has in mind in advance
1. Mordecai’s “who knows” - Esther 4:14
2. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego’s assertion that God could rescue them, but He might not - Daniel 3:16-18
3. Paul’s “perhaps” regarding Onesimus - Philemon 15
V. Let us never doubt God’s care and provision for each of us
A. Hebrews 13:5-6 - God is with us always
B. As God told Joshua - Joshua 1:9
C. God will guide us - Isaiah 58:11
D. He will work things out for the good of His people - Romans 8:28
E. And after this life He will receive us - Psalms 73:21-28