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The Providence of God


  1. Providence is often misunderstood or not even recognized by Christians today
  2. We often use words like – good luck; by chance; good fortune; thank my lucky stars; coincidence – When it was really the providence of God.
  3. We can live in victory – IF – we know that God will fight our battles for us
  4. One of the greatest deficiencies among God's people is the lack of knowledge of, and faith in, divine providence.


Providence Defined

  1. “Divine providence, therefore, has reference to the preservation, care, and government which God exercises over all things that he has created, in order that they may accomplish the ends for which they were created.” W. F. Tillett, Providence and Power, 1926, p. 6
  2. General Providence -

1.     “The widespread care and supervision which God exercises over his created universe is commonly designated as his general providence, which embraces all creatures, the evil and good; in addition to general providence which the Heavenly Father exercises over and on behalf of all; He also cares for those whose willing wills are in accord with the Divine Will.” Ibid, p. 7-8

2.     Sunshine, rain, oxygen, water, food – these are general providence

1.     Psalm 65:9 – God visits the earth and waters it

2.     Job 38:41 – Who provides food for the raven?

3.     Matthew 5:45 – God sends rain on just and unjust

4.     James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above

  1. Specific Providence – God's intervention for specific results to meet His purpose and plans

1.     God uses two methods:

1.     Natural laws – Weather, biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics

2.     Divine Providence – Anything or anyone that suit His purpose and will, circumstances, situations,

2.     While it is distinct from the normal course of nature, yet it is always in accord with these natural laws. It is God working in a special way, but in a non-miraculous way.

  1. Scriptures to study

1.     Job 38:41 Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?

2.     Psalm 65:9 You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it.

3.     Psalm 78:19-20 19 Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? 20 Behold, He struck the rock, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?"

4.     Hebrews 11:40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

  1. Examples of Providence

1.     Abraham – Genesis 22:13 – Ram in the bushes (vs. 14) Called place “The Lord will provide” (Jehovah-jireh)

2.     Joseph – Genesis 45:8 – God sent me ahead to preserve life

3.     Esther – Esther 4:14 – Sent to the kingdom for such a time as this?

4.     Ethiopian – Acts 8:26 – Join thyself to this chariot

6.     Measuring by the wrong standard. “Man's primary purpose in existence is to honor and glorify God and to become as God-like as it is humanly possible to become. Now this being so, everything that takes him away from God is evil, and everything that brings him toward God is good.
It is quite possible that the frowns of this world are better than its honors. It is quite possible that illness is better than health.... The man who spends some time on his back in a hospital room often sees things in a clearer light than he ever saw them while he was going through life without a care.” (I Believe Because, B. B. Baxter)

Agents of God's Providence

  1. Physical elements

1.     Psalm 148:8

2.     Amos 4:7

  1. What appears to be an “accident”

1.     Exodus 21:12-12

  1. Men

1.     Cyrus – Isaiah 44:28

2.     David – Psalm 17:13

3.     Pharaoh – Romans 9:17

  1. Angels – Hebrews 1:14
  2. Holy Spirit

1.     John 15:26

2.     Ephesians 3:16

3.     Romans 8:14

4.     Romans 8:26-28


Some Aspects of Providence


  1. Providing for His children's needs – Philippians 4:19; Psalm 37:23-24; Matthew 7:7-11
  2. Protecting His children – Psalm 34:15-17; Psalm 21:11; Romans 8:28, 31
  3. Chastening His children – Hebrews 12:5-10
  4. Govern the nations of the world – Daniel 2:21; 4:25, 32
  5. Punishes wicked people – Assyria, Haman, Philistines
  6. Uses good people – Joseph
  7. Uses wicked people – Pharaoh


Providence and Free Will


  1. Some object – If God uses men to do His will then man is not a free moral agent.
  2. Not everything man does is the will of God or in His providence.
  3. We must distinguish between the evils men suffer and the evils men do.
  4. God directs where, when, and in what proportion men, nations, and the elements shall bless or punish.


Evangelism and Work and Will of God


  1. God prepares men for the task of soul winning.

1.     Jeremiah 1:4-5 – God knew, sanctified, ordained you a prophet

2.     Matthew 9:38 – Pray for the Lord to send laborers

  1. God opens doors that might have blocked the spread of the gospel.

1.     Acts 14:27

2.     Colossians 3:4

3.     Matthew 7:7

  1. God can open the door of the human heart.

1.     Acts 16:14

  1. God gets the gospel message to those seeking His way.

1.     John 7:17

2.     Acts 8:26-40

  1. Providence overcomes obstacles that hinder the spread of the gospel.

1.     Daniel 2:21

2.     2 Chronicles 36:22

3.     Revelation 5:1-8

  1. God provides for the needs of his saints.

1.     Jehovah-jireh (God Provides) Genesis 22:14

2.     Psalm 37:25

3.     2 Corinthians 9:10

4.     Philippians 4:19

5.     Malachi 3:10

  1. God provides protection for his people.

1.     Psalms 34:7

2.     Romans 8:28

3.     Romans 8:37-39

  1. Providence may raise up an Esther to save God's people OR it may hang a Haman on his own gallows.
  2. Providence will guide us safely through temptation and the snares of the devil.

1.     1 Corinthians 10:13

2.     Learn 3 vital truths from this verse

1.     You are not alone – Common to mankind

2.     Tailor-made for you – not tempted above what you are able to bear

3.     Provides escape – will make a way of escape

  1. Providence will block the path of our choice

1.     Acts 16:6-7

  1. Providence does not exclude suffering, accidents, death, even martyrdom.

1.     Luke 13:3, 5

2.     Providence and “guardian angels” do not prevent all harm

  1. God, in providential love, often finds it necessary to chasten his children.

1.     John 15:20

2.     2 Corinthians 12:8-9

3.     Psalm 116:15


Providence Today

  1. We must conclude that God's providence is of such a nature that we cannot prove that each event is God's special working.
  2. God Still Works

1.     Philippians 2:13 – It is God who works in you to do His will

2.     1 Corinthians 10:13 – God will not allow you to be tempted

3.     God promised to never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5-6

4.     Things are mindless – Romans 8:28

5.     God is aware of each of us – Knows, Loves, Judges

  1. Real Life Examples

1.     Romans 11:33-36 Who knows the mind of God?

2.     Hebrews 6:10 God will not forget your work and love

3.     Matthew 10:42 – Give a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple

4.     Ephesians 3:20 – To Him that is able, exceedingly, abundantly, above, all we ask or think

5.     I can give you some examples from our lives and work in Russia

1.     Visa – Kirov omitted

2.     Rita – “Maybe we need God in our lives.”

  1. Providence is best recognized “in the rear view mirror.”
  2. POEM: There is an eye that never sleeps, beneath the shades of night.
    There is an ear that never shuts, when sink the beams of light.
    There is an arm that never tires, when human strength gives way.
    There is a love that never fails, when earthly love decays.
    But there's a power which man can wield, when mortal aid is vain.
    That eye, that arm, that love to reach, that listening ear to gain.
    That power is prayer, which soars on high, through Jesus, to the throne.
    And moves the hand which moves the world, to bring salvation down.
    (Author Unknown)


Most of this outline is adapted from an article “The Wonderful Providence of God” in Christianity: Then and Now, John Waddey, editor, November, 2008

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