Sovereignty and Providence Part 1

Posted: December 2, 2011 in mens group OCT-DEC2011, Sovereignty

This is what we discussed at the mens group @HarvestChurchCentral Norfolk 7pm on Wednesdays.
I’d love to see you there 🙂

Last week we talked a little bit about the sovereignty of God.

I want to remind you of the doctrines of sovereignty and providence again.

What are the ingredients of sovereignty?
1.1 Ownership
1.2 Authorship
1.3 Control

What is the providence of God?
God’s execution of His plan in your life and in the entire universe!

No matter what, God will have His way. This is reassuring when we are going through trials of various kinds. Sometimes we might think God is not with us, but in the end, we will see that he has always been there.

When going through the trial, it will not make much sense, and that’s ok.

Usually we cannot see what God is doing until the trial is over, and even then sometimes we will not be able to see it. Some things will not make sense until we enter into Heaven.

C.S.Lewis speculated that the first words we utter in Heaven might be, “of course.”

And it has to be this way. If we could figure God out all the way, then He would not be so great. He knows more than me and you! He’s GOD!

Is 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

GOD WILL NOT ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU WANT, but you WILL want it that way in the end.

Usually when something horrible happens we respond in one of two ways.
1. We turn into God
2. We turn away from God

I once knew a girl who said she could not believe in God because she asked for something and did not get it. This is a common thing in the world we live in.
But God does not always give us what we want, and we do not always WANT what we want (or what we think we want!

Look at numbers where Balaam asks if He can curse God’s own people.
Balaam is approached by a tribe of God’s own enemies. Israel was about to attack them, and they were worried. But, they thought they had a trick up there sleeves. They had a plan to pay off a priest of the Lord, and to have Israel cursed. By the way, this is a ridiculous plan…

So the gentile king of the Moabites Balak sends for the priest of the Lord Balaam and asks him to curse Israel. Balaam says, “let me sleep on it, so I can hear from the Lord as to what to do.

Numbers 22:9-12
God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, ‘Behold, a people (the Israelites) has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me… (but) God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

Now, you gotta get this… He didn’t say I refuse to go because I want to do the Lord’s will. He didn’t say that the Lord was against them, and because of that so am I. He said, “GOD WON”T LET ME GO.”

If you read into the story more you’ll see that eventually Balaam found a way to curse the people of Israel.

Rev 2:14
I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality

He also died a crappy death by the hand of the Israelites in Numbers 31.
IF… if he had done the Lord’s will, I am sure he would have preferred the outcome much better.

Trials are good for us!

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God puts us through a time or season where we can develop as a Christian. I do not know any hardcore Christians who do not have a crazy story to share about there life. The trials they went through strengthened them, and they are blessed now because of them.

Theologian Benjamin B. Warfield was on his honeymoon with his wife at 25 when she was struck by lightning. She was paralyzed for the rest of her life. For almost 40 years he took care of her. He ever arraigned his schedule so that he was never gone for more than a few hours. They never got to travel like he wanted, but he never gave up on God. This is a few parts from a very long quote about the sovereignty of God by Warfield.
Take any occurrence that happens great or small, the fall of an empire or the fall of a sparrow which our Lord tells us never happens “without the Father” … God is assuredly aware of everything that happens in the universe. There are no dark corners in which the all seeing eye cannot pierce… Did our Father not speak of the sparrows to teach us this?… there was nothing to require Him to make this universe-or any other universe-except for His own pleasure; and there is nothing to compel Him to allow anything which he does not wish to happen, to occur in the universe which He has made for his own good pleasure… He does not stand hopelessly by, while they (horrible things) occur against His wish… and knowing that we are satisfied.

I cannot think of someone who has a better grasp on God’s sovereignty, than one who has experienced a devastating loss, and still remains in the Lord’s army.

I have never personally meet someone with more of a reason to disown God than my own mother. She is always sick and in the hospital. If you didn’t know any better, you would think she is at least 75, but she’s only 55. She has Chronic Arthritis that ripped through her whole body, destroying everything in its way. She only weights about 88 pounds, so she cannot have any form of surgery to help her health. She has stomach conditions that do not allow her to eat much, and every time she starts to make a recovery, she slips back into ill health.

In spite of all this, I have never once heard her blame God for her condition.
I have never heard her say, “why me.”

When she talks about the situation, she says, ‘if the Lord wills, I would like to be well again so I can get a part time job.”……

She wants to get better, so she can go to work, to help the family financially!

In all of these, the person(s) involved did not want what happened or what’s happening to continue, but at some point, they bowed down to the Lord in submission, and learned life-long lessons.

God loves us, and all He does, He does because He loves us!

Rom 8:28a
we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.

Remember this; the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
The devil does not take away, the Lord does.

Thomas Watson wrote, “whatever the affliction, it is the Lord who sends it.”

Psalm 88:7
Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

Matt 5:45
For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust

Don’t give up on God in the storms of life.

Most people do not give up on God in the good times, but in the storms of life. It seems that when tragedies come one of two things happen.
1. We turn into God
2. We turn away from God

Remember, God sends the waves, but He sends them for our good. And in that we rejoice.

God Bless.

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