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Monday, April 28, 2014

Providence—“A Divinity That Shapes Our Ends”

By John Gipson

    The word providence is often on our lips, but we may not have a clear conception of its meaning.
    The idea is forethought. It comes from a combination of words: before and to think. Hence, forethought. The word is inserted into the New Testament by a  certain orator named Tertullus who took the lead in bringing charges against the    apostle Paul. In an effort to praise Governor Felix, Tertullus said, “Since through you we enjoy much peace and since by your provision (forethought, providence), most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation, in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude” (Acts 24:2-3). In the eyes of Tertullus, Felix was quite a man. The nation had been blessed by his providence. Felix had looked ahead, planned, and brought to pass needed reforms.
    Whatever the providence of Felix might have been, it is nothing compared to the forethought of God who planned our redemption from the foundation of the world.
    We see God’s providence throughout the realm of nature, in the guidance of the nations, and in the deliverance of Israel from bondage into the promised land.
    Benjamin Franklin said, “The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of the this truth, that God governs in the affairs of man; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
    We see God’s providence in individual lives: In David guarded from so many perils; in Joseph who could review the past and tell his brothers that they weren’t responsible for bringing him to Egypt—it was the forethought and planning of God.
    He who is truly thoughtful finds providence not only in the history of the world, but in his own personal and family history.
    He therefore has confidence in the future. If God sustained the Israelites in the wilderness so that they lacked nothing, can’t He provide for us? We need the same conviction with which Abraham spoke to his son, Isaac when he said, “God will provide . . .”        

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City Church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com


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