Christian Biblical Counsel: PROVIDENCE OF GOD

See Also Comfort; Trust.

1.   God sovereignly works all things according to his will.

Eph. 1:11. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

2.   God’s sovereign rule extends over all things.

Ps. 103:19. The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.

Acts 17:28. “For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ ”

Rom. 11:36. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

3.   God cares for the birds and the flowers and certainly will, then, care for his children.

Matt. 6:25–34.

Matt. 6:26. “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Matt. 6:30. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

4.   God controls all the forces of nature and provides for all his creatures, especially his children.

Ps. 104; Ps. 145; Ps. 147.

5.   God used ravens to care for Elijah.

1 Kings 17:1–6.

1 Kings 17:4–5. “And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.

6.   By sending his people manna from heaven each day, God revealed his faithfulness, power, and love.

Exod. 16.

7.   God is the potter, we are the clay. Be submissive to him.

Jer. 18:1–10.

Jer. 18:5–6. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”

Isa. 45:9–13.

Isa. 45:9–11. “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ Or shall
your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ” Thus says the Lord, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

8.   God uses wicked rulers to fulfill his purposes for his children.

Isa. 45:12–13. “I have made the earth, And created man on it. I—My hands—stretched out the heavens, And all their host I have commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, And I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city And let My exiles go free, Not for price nor reward,” Says the Lord of hosts.

Ezra 7:1–10. (God moved King Artaxerxes to give Ezra what he asked for, because “the hand of the Lord his God was on him.”)

Ezra 7:6. This Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.

Ezra 7:10. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

9.   God blesses those who by faith take refuge in him.

Ruth. (The whole Book of Ruth reveals this very beautifully.)

Ruth 2:12. “The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Ruth 2:20. (After Ruth had gleaned in Boaz’s field, Naomi praised him.) Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”

10. Not one of God’s promises goes unfulfilled.

Josh. 23:14. “Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.”

11. God will also carry out his threats.

Josh. 23:15–16. “Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all the good things have come upon you which the Lord your God promised you, so the Lord will bring upon you all harmful things, until He has destroyed you from this good land which the Lord your God has given you. When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed down to them, then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from the good land which He has given you.”

12. God used Gideon’s small band to defeat Israel’s enemies.

Judges 7:1–25.

Judges 7:2–3. And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’ ” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

13. God promises to go with those to whom he gives a difficult task.

Deut. 31:7–8. Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

14. Joseph acknowledged God’s providence in being sold into slavery.

Gen. 45:1–14. (Joseph made himself known to his brothers.)

Gen. 45:4–8. And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Gen. 50:15–21. (Joseph reassured his brothers of his forgiveness toward them.)

Gen. 50:19–21. Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

15. The Lord brings grief at times, but he also shows mercy.

Lam. 3:31–33. For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.

16. God decrees and brings both hardship and good times.

Lam. 3:37–42. Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, When the Lord has not commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed? Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.

17. God faithfully cares for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep.

Psalm 23.

18. When we please the Lord, he makes even our enemies to be at peace with us.

Prov. 16:7. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

19. All rulers are under God’s control.

Prov. 21:1. The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

20. God has sovereignly planned what shall come to pass and he sovereignly carries out his plans.

Isa. 46:10–13.

Isa. 46:10. Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’

21. It is God who gives rain. Pray for rain in time of need.

Zech. 10:1. Ask the Lord for rain In the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone.

22. The story of Jonah strikingly reveals God’s providence.

Jonah 1:4. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.

Jonah 1:17. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 2:10. So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah 4:6–8. And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

23. God chose Jeremiah to be a prophet even before he was born.

Jer. 1:4–5. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”[1]

[1] Kruis, J. G. (1994). Quick scripture reference for counseling (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

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