The "Why" Question and the Providence of God

The “Why?” Question and the Providence of God
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The “question” exposition bears a repost since its first posting in 2008. Tolle Lege…
As creatures, especially as women ministering to our children, we are well-familiar with the “why” question. Whether a question of life, death, illness, personal events in our lives or the details of history and life in our world as we know it, we have questions and those questions need answers. This is especially so when it comes to the questions of God’s providence in His universe and His “working all things for good” in the life of His people.  As women ministering to women, we are constantly responding to those questions as it relates to their personal lives in the every day events of work, home, family, personal history and gifts in the church. Often there is bewilderment marked by unhappiness and a resolve of discouragement because their “why” questions are not answered for them due to their lack of understanding of God’s providence in working in and through them for His glory and their good. They do not understand God’s sovereignty and providence from His Word and doctrine and thus have no comfort and peace about their lives. Their biggest question is “who’s in control” and when their theology is incorrect or they have no knowledge of what God’s Word says about His providential control of His world, they are tossed about and do not have that peace that passes understanding.  God is our “peace” and “gives peace” and that “peace” includes “all things” and when we know Him as He declares Himself in Scripture, His peace is ours and the foundation of the “why” question is answered.  No, we may not know what tomorrow will bring and God’s eternal purpose in His providence specifically for us but we are at peace in our hearts and minds that our God loves us with an everlasting love and that He has designed and ordained the “whatsoever” for us and that knowledge gives us “peace” with God now and forever. The Bible is filled with this wonderful doctrine and thus we must answer those “why” questions with God’s Word, study His providence, sovereignty and attributes and then we will experience peace and rest for our souls and be able to apply it in a practical way to daily life.

One of the most important books to read is Loraine Boettner’s “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” which is an easy read and will open your eyes and understanding. To whet your appetite, here is a snippet:*_TheologyGirl

“Throughout the Bible the laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attributed to God’s providential control. All things, both in heaven and earth, from the seraphim down to the tiny atom, are ordered by His never-failing providence. So intimate is His relationship with the whole creation that a careless reader might be led toward pantheistic conclusions. Yet individual personalities and second causes are fully recognized,—not as independent of God, but as having their proper place in His plan. And alongside of this doctrine of His Immanence the Scripture writers also present the kindred doctrine of His Transcendence, in which God is distinctly set forth as entirely separate from and above the whole creation.

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature. “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point. God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He was only in one place, and had but one object of attention.” And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do. The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.”1414 Systematic Theology, II, pp. 583, 585.

It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others are left to perish in unbelief. And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight.” Only the Scripture doctrine of the fall and redemption will give us any light on what we see about us.” __Loraine Boettner**

“A man’s goings are established of Jehovah,” Psalm 37:23

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*TheologyGirl-ReformedWomen, Editor-Publisher Copyright: Heavenly Notes & Devotions From The Heart ©1984-2017
** “The Providence of God,” Chapter V, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, pp. 35,36 

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Predestination, A Manifestation of His Glory

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“Whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that hath He done.
In heaven, in earth, in the seas, and in all deeps.”  Psalm 135:6

“This doctrine of Predestination represents the purpose of God as absolute and unconditional, independent of the whole finite creation, and as originating solely in the eternal counsel of His will. God is seen as the great and mighty King who has appointed the course of nature and who directs the course of history even down to its minutest details. His decree is eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign. It extends not merely to the course of the physical world but to every event in human history from the creation to the judgment, and includes all the activities of saints and angels in heaven and of reprobates and demons in hell. It embraces the whole scope of creaturely existence, through time and eternity, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations. Everything outside of God Himself is included in this all-embracing decree, and that very naturally since all other beings owe their existence and continuance in existence to His creative and sustaining power. It provides a providential control under which all things are hastening to the end of God’s determining; and the goal is, “One far-off divine event – Toward which the whole creation moves.”

Since the finite creation through its whole range exists as a medium through which God manifests His glory, and since it is absolutely dependent on Him, it of itself could originate no conditions which would limit or defeat the manifestation of that glory. From all eternity God has purposed to do just exactly what He is doing. He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and “does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou?”  Daniel 4:35. Since the universe had its origin in God and depends on Him for its continued existence it must be, in all its parts and at all times, subject to His control so that nothing can come to pass contrary to what He expressly decrees or permits. Thus the eternal purpose is represented as an act of sovereign predestination or foreordination, and unconditioned by any subsequent fact or change in time. Hence it is represented as being the basis of the divine foreknowledge of all future events, and not conditioned by that foreknowledge or by anything originated by the events themselves.”

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Loraine Boettner, “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” II, 13

Waiting on God, A Plea In Prayer

Theology Girl Reading Series
Book: Waiting On God!
Rev. Andrew Murray
January 2012

We continue this New Year with our reading/study series “Waiting on God.”  Be encouraged to follow along with us as we grow in grace and knowledge of God. _TG

WAITING ON GOD:
A Plea in Prayer.

‘Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on Thee.’—Ps. 25:21

FOR the third time in this psalm we have the word wait. As before in ver. 5, ‘On Thee do I wait all the day,’ so here, too, the believing supplicant appeals to God to remember that he is waiting on Him, looking for an answer. It is a great thing for a soul not only to wait upon God, but to be filled with such a consciousness that its whole spirit and position is that of a waiting one, that it can, in childlike confidence, say, Lord! Thou knowest, I wait on Thee. It will prove a mighty plea in prayer, giving ever-increasing boldness of expectation to claim the promise, ‘They that wait on Me shall not be ashamed’!

The prayer in connection with which the plea is put forth here is one of great importance in the spiritual life. If we draw near to God, it must be with a true heart. There must be perfect integrity, wholeheartedness, in our dealing with God. As we read in the next Psalm (26: 1, 11), ‘Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity,’ ‘As for me, I will walk in my integrity,’ there must be perfect uprightness or single-heartedness before God. As it is written, ‘His righteousness is for the upright in heart.’ The soul must know that it allows nothing sinful, nothing doubtful; if it is indeed to meet the Holy One, and receive His full blessing, it must be with a heart wholly and singly given up to His will. The whole spirit that animates us in the waiting must be, ‘Let integrity and uprightness’—Thou seest that I desire to come so to Thee, You know I am looking to Thee to work them perfectly in me;—let them ‘preserve me, for I wait on Thee.’

And if at our first attempt truly to live the life of fully and always waiting on God, we begin to discover how much that perfect integrity is wanting, this will just be one of the blessings which the waiting was meant to work. A soul cannot seek close fellowship with God, or attain the abiding consciousness of waiting on Him all the day, without a very honest and entire surrender to all His will.

‘For I wait on Thee’: it is not only in connection with the prayer of our text but with every prayer that this plea may be used. To use it often will be a great blessing to ourselves. Let us therefore study the words well until we know all their bearings. It must be clear to us what we are waiting for. There may be very different things. It may be waiting for God in our times of prayer to take his place as God, and to work in us the sense of His holy presence and nearness. It may be some special petition, to which we are expecting an answer. It may be our whole inner life, in which we are on the lookout for God’s putting forth of His power. It may be the whole state of His Church and saints, or some part of His work, for which our eyes are ever toward Him. It is good that we sometimes count up to ourselves exactly what the things are we are waiting for, and as we say definitely of each of them, ‘On Thee do I wait,’ we shall be emboldened to claim the answer, ‘For on Thee do I wait.’

It must also be clear to us, on Whom we are waiting. Not an idol, a God of whom we have made an image by our conceptions of what He is. No, but the living God, such as He really is in His great glory, His infinite holiness, His power, wisdom, and goodness, in His love and nearness. It is the presence of a beloved or a dreaded master that wakens up the whole attention of the servant who waits on him.  It is the presence of God, as He can in Christ by His Holy Spirit make Himself known, and keep the soul under its covering and shadow, that will awaken and strengthen the true waiting spirit. Let us be still and wait and worship until we know how near He is, and then say, ‘On Thee do I wait.’

And then, let it be very clear, too, that we are waiting. Let that become so much our consciousness that the utterance comes spontaneously, ‘On Thee I do wait all the day; I wait on Thee.’ This will indeed imply sacrifice and separation, a soul entirely given up to God as its all, its only joy. This waiting on God has hardly yet been acknowledged as the only true Christianity. And yet, if it be true that God alone is goodness and joy and love; if it be true that our highest blessedness is in having as much of God as we can; if it be true that Christ has redeemed us wholly for God, and made a life of continual abiding in His presence possible, nothing less ought to satisfy than to be ever breathing this blessed atmosphere, ‘I wait on Thee.’   ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God!’