Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Mystery of Providence

"I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me." Psalm 57:2

"The greatness of God is a glorious and unsearchable mystery....It is the great support and solace of the saints in all the distresses that befall them here, that there is a wise Spirit sitting in all the wheels of motion, and governing the most eccentric creatures and their most pernicious designs to blessed and happy issues. And, indeed, it were not worth while to live in a world devoid of God and Providence."

I have been reading this over the past couple weeks and have found it to be an amazing book! It has got me thinking about things that had never occurred to me before, and realizing how much I have to be thankful for. Yesterday, during nap time, I was able to read through the chapter, Family Affairs, and I wanted to share some excellent thoughts from it that struck me.

"Well then, if God has set ‘the solitary in families’ (Ps. 68. 6), built a house for the desolate, given you comfortable relations, which are springs of daily comfort and refreshment to you, you are upon many accounts engaged to walk answerably to these gracious providences. And that you may understand wherein that decorum and agreeable comportment with these providences consists, take up the sense of your duty in these brief hints: Ascribe to God the glory of all those providential works which yield you comfort. You see a wise, directing, governing Providence, which has disposed and ordered all things beyond your own plans and designs: ‘The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps’ (Jer. 10. 23). Not what you planned, but what a higher counsel than yours determined is come to pass. Be exact in discharging the duties of those relations which so gracious a Providence has led you into. Do not abuse the effects of so much mercy and love to you. The Lord expects praise wherever you have comfort. Use relations to the end Providence designed them. Walk together as co-heirs of the grace of life; study to be mutual blessings to each other; so walk in your relations that the parting day may be sweet. Death will shortly break up the family; and then nothing but the sense of duty discharged, or the neglects pardoned, will give comfort."

"Your God, who has given you a heart thankfully to record your experiences of His goodness, does renew experiences for your encouragement. One morsel of God’s provision, especially when it comes in unexpected, and upon prayer, when wants are most, will be more sweet to a spiritual relish than all former enjoyments were."

"The wisdom of Providence is also greatly revealed in the manner of dispensing our portion to us. It many times allows our wants to pinch hard, and many fears to arise, with a design to magnify the care and love of God in the supply (Deut. 8. 3). Providence so orders the case, that faith and prayer come between our wants and supplies, and the goodness of God may be the more magnified in our eyes thereby."

"And now let me beg you to consider the good hand of Providence that has provided for, and suitably supplied you and yours all your days, and never failed you hitherto. And labour to walk suitably to your experience of such mercies. That you may do this, let me press a few suitable cautions upon you. Beware that you do not forget the care and kindness of Providence which your eyes have seen in so many fruits and experiences. It was God’s charge against Israel ‘that they soon forgat his works’ (Ps. 106. 13). A bad heart and a slippery memory deprive men of the comfort of many mercies, and defraud God of the glory due for them."

"Do not distrust Providence in future exigencies. Thus they did: ‘Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?’ (Ps. 78. 20). How unreasonable and absurd are these queries of unbelief, especially after their eyes had seen the power of God in such extraordinary works."

"Do not murmur and complain under new straits. This is a vile temper, and yet how natural to us when wants press hard upon us! Ah, did we but rightly understand what the demerit of sin is, we would rather admire the bounty of God than complain of the straithandedness of Providence. And if we did but consider that there lies upon God no obligation of justice or gratitude to reward any of our duties, it would cure our murmurs (Gen. 32. 10)."

"Do not show the least discontent at the lot and portion Providence carves out for you. O that you would be well pleased and satisfied with all its appointments! Say: ‘The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage’ (Ps. 16. 6). Surely that is best for you which Providence has appointed, and one day you yourselves will judge it so to be."

"Do not neglect prayer when straits befall you. You see it is Providence dispenses all, you live upon it; therefore apply yourselves to God in the times of need. This is evidently included in the promise (Isa. 41. 17) as well as expressed in the command (Phil. 4. 6). Remember God, and He will not forget you."

"Do not worry your hearts with sinful cares. ‘Behold the fowls of the air’ (Matt. 6. 26), says Christ; not the fowls at the door that are daily fed by hand, but those of the air, that do not know where the next meal is coming from; and yet God provides for them. Remember your relation to Christ, and His engagements by promise to you, and by these things work your hearts to satisfaction and contentment with all the allotments of Providence."

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1