It has been stated that providence cannot be explained, but you will know it when you see it! According to Dictionary.com, providence means having or showing foresight; providing carefully for the future. I suppose Webster’s New World Dictionary offers a better definition for providence defining it as the benevolent guidance of God or nature. However, I’m more inclined to agree with the theological term for providence to mean God’s continuous activity where he makes events work out according to his purpose.
David proclaimed God providentially rules over the physical universe. In Psalms 103:19 we learn “The LORD hath prepared his throne on the heavens; and his kingdom over all”. The throne depicts God’s seat or stool in which he sits upon in heaven. The heavens define that which is lofty such as the sky and the celestial bodies. And kingdom represents an empire, a realm, or reign.
Job made known God providentially rules over the animal world. Job 12:7-10, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Many people are pet lovers, and oftentimes are seen holding conversations with their pets. If the personification of the animal world were characteristically possible, how many would take Job at his word and ask their pet(s) if God rules over the animal world, and the answer be yes? Surprise, surprise, surprise!
In addition, Job stated that God providentially rules over the nations of the world. Job 12:23, “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again”. The Lord once declared unto the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:5, “…repent, and do the first works; or else I will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent”. The Lord did not make the exact same statement to the churches of Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicea. Yet, he did warn them all to repent. If God does not providentially rule over the nations of the world, what happened to those five congregations? Even more so, what happened to all seven congregations between Revelation 2:1-3:19? Things that make you say hmmm!
God also providentially rules in the affairs of men. In Esther 4:13-14, “Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” While the Book of Esther never records the name of God, or the Lord, this story is a great biblical illustration of God’s providence. God ultimately ruled in the affairs of Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people when it was learned that Haman, the newly promoted official over the princes of king Ahasuerus, had gotten permission from the king to put all of the Jews to death because Mordecai would not publicly bow in reverence to him. How did God rule in their lives?
Borrowing a tagline from Paul Harvey, the Beltway church of Christ encourages you, in Esther 5:1-7:10, to read “The rest of the story” this week to see how the providence of God ruled in the affairs of men.