Our Mighty Working God

Matt 10:29-31

 

29“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31“Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows

 

We are living in times when the people have largely lost confidence in leadership.  We hear and see so much corruption and immorality even among our elected political officials. Freedoms we once took for granted, in many cases are being taken from us, one by one, little by little. Belief in God is looked upon as ignorance and superstition. It is wrong to pray, in our schools, wrong even to mention God of our Being, or speak of His creation........

 

It is very inspiring, to remember that many of our founding fathers believed and relied upon God’s providential care.  For example, in 1787 during a time the Constitutional Convention was convened, Benjamin Franklin in speaking of the struggles the nation had passed through  stated:

 

[1]All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind of providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proof I see of this truth--that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall without his notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without his aid?”

 

It is because of the faith of many of  our founding fathers,  that we have numerous evidences of the Christian faith in the various aspects of our government. One of the more prominent ones is the stamping of the expression on coins, “In God We Trust

 

The provision for chaplains to be in the senate, the house of representatives, and military services, and think about this, the  President of the United States takes his oath of office with his hand upon God’s Holy Word the Bible.

 

We are grateful for all of these evidences that reflect and remind us our nation’s faith in the existence of God and His continuing presence.   Brethren we need to pray, for our nation, its leaders, and other nations, who are moving swiftly away from anything that is sacred and holy.

 

From the beginning to the end of the Bible the scriptures clearly indicate that God guides and controls the affairs of men.  Such passages as Gen. 12:1-3 would have been utterly meaningless had not God been guiding and  controlling  the affairs of men. 

 

Read the passage with me: Genesis 12:1-3

1Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing; 3and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

 

Surely all will agree that God was working in the life of this sage old patriarch,  guiding his every move.  The ultimate purpose being the formation of the Hebrew nation, and the fulfillment of the promise “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. “ The great apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, would later write in his Galatian letter, chapter three verses 7-9

 

7Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 

 

In the study of Joseph’s life, we see the development of ordinary events in  such a way as to carry out the will of God.  There are only two or three times in the story do we see the hand of God directly influence the course of events. Yet, in all of this story there is the obvious fulfillment of the will of God. As Joseph is sold into Egypt by his brethren, as he rises to be governor of the land, and as he ultimately sends wagons to bring his father’s household into Egypt, we see the fulfilling of God’s plans.

 

The same unfolding of God’s will is seen in the story of Esther in the court of Xerxes, when her presence and courageous actions saved the entire Hebrew people. God providentially worked through a godly wonderful woman, conversely through the affections of a king to bring about His will and care for the Hebrews. 

 

 In the New Testament one of the more striking evidences of God’s providential influence is seen in the account of Saul of Tarsus. At one point in the story the Lord directs Ananias  after his objections  to go to Saul in these words,  Acts 9:15

 

“Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine

 

 As we continue his life’s account, we see this young educated lawyer yielding to God’s will, and  becoming the great apostle to the Gentiles whom God used in bringing the gospel to the entire Roman and Gentile world.   We watch him stand in the courts of governors and who preaching could make kings tremble..  We see him undergo severe persecutions of many kinds.   We see the complete plan God had for his life fulfilled in exact detail when Christ speaking to Ananias stated:

 

Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake   (Acts 9:15-16)

 

 In God’s direction of the affairs of men there are times when   He utilizes the talents, position and powers of men and nations who are alienated from His will,  notice the case of Cyrus 

 

1Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 2Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. (Ezra 1:1-2)

 

The apostle Paul writing later in the epistle of Romans Chapter 13:1 states:

1Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

    

 In Old Testament note , when God’s people, the Israelites, were disobedient and needed punishment, He used  the nations to punish and take them into captivity. The kings of Babylon, the Egyptian Pharaohs and the Roman powers all played their parts in God’s plans to bless His people and work His eternal plan for mankind, Christ and His church the ultimate goal of His Divine Mystery and Plan.

 

But notice another passage exemplifying God’s love and concern for man, and His working on behalf of humanity. In Matt. 10:29-31, there are these words of we noticed in the opening  text for this study:

 

29“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31“Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

 

This scripture indicates clearly that God is concerned even about the falling of a single insignificant sparrow and is even more aware of the details in our lives than we ourselves.

the very hairs of your head are all numbered

 

It is further interesting to compare this story with the way that of  Luke 12:6-7

 

6“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows

 

Notice that two sparrows were sold for one penny; five sparrows for two pennies. A sparrow was of so little value that if one wanted four he had an extra one thrown in for nothing. Yet God is concerned even about the sparrow.  Do we find the  joy and comfort we ought to in these passages?

 

you are of more value than many sparrows.

 

Not only did God create the worlds and all life therein,  He continues to sustain them by the  Word of His Power.  We read  Hebrews 1:1-3

1God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

 

It is all to easy for us to confuse coincidence with providence.  There are many times a believer feels that he can see God’s hand in some event in his own life, whereas a non-believer classifies it merely as a coincidence. The fact is,  that we cannot prove that any one given event is absolute, unquestionably evidence of God’s providence.  However, it is possible when all the events of a life are viewed together, we see evidences of God’s providential working in that life. The whole pattern of events in one’s life cannot simply be marked off as coincidence.

 

There are precious times and events  in my  own life, where  I been able to see a clearly that God was and is guiding and shaping the events which happen.   And those events compel me to confess the truthfulness of the statement of James  (James 1:17)

 

17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

 

If I could choose but one passage from the entire Bible, as an evidence that the scriptures teach the providence of God, I would choose Romans 8:28. Here the apostle Paul, after years of preaching the gospel of Christ under the most kind of adverse  circumstances, was able to say

 

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

 

This  passage does not say that all things are good, far from it, but it does say that God superintends the affairs of our lives in such a way that all things work together for our ultimate good.  There are two conditions here:  namely we must love Him and  be called according to His purpose.

 

Providence is taught in Paul’s writings to the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 9:8-10

 

8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.  

 

 

 

 Charles Spurgeon, whose preaching was so widely heard in London during  the last century stated:

 

     God is every day preaching to us by similitude. When Christ was on earth He preached in parables. Providence is God’s sermon. The things which we see about us are God’s thoughts and God’s words to us; and if we were but wise there is not a step that we can take which we should not find to be full of mighty instruction. God warns you every day by his own words; He speaks to you by the lips of His servants, His ministers; but besides this by similitude He addresses you. He leaves no stone unturned to bring His wandering children to Himself. “ (Everybody’s Sermon).

 

Providence and prayer are inseparably linked together, we believe implicitly   that prayer changes things  James 5:16 and apart from this belief, life would be frightening . There are many who doubt God’s providential working because of life’s many ills; but the same people take for granted the innumerable blessings of life.  Those  whose lives are focused upon God and pray to Him, show evidence of special blessings that are not known in the lives of those who are alienated  from God.

 

All men have needs which they themselves are incapable of meeting.  Some come to us  through the goodness of other fellowmen, but others can only be met by the kind hand of  Providence.

 

 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Eph. 3:20).

 

On one occasion Jesus taught his disciples,

 

9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   (KJV 1611)      Matthew 6:9-11

 

Our Lord prayed while here on earth, and taught his disciples to pray. Prayer is everywhere throughout the scriptures. Luke’s eighteenth chapter opens with the words, “He spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray.” (Luke 18:1).  Paul wrote, “pray without ceasing.” (I These. 5:17).

 

James the Lord’s fleshly brother gave us this great treatise on prayer. (James 5:13-18).

 

“Is any among you suffering? let him pray. Is any cheerful? let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up ... Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its workings. Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”

 

The story is told of two farmers, one an atheist and the other a Christian. Both planted their respective crops, and as the summer wore on, the Christian, who rested and worshipped on the Lord’s day each week, saw that his neighbor’s crops appeared to be better than his own. The unbelieving neighbor, who worked seven days each week without stepping, also saw this and chided his Christian friend. The Christian’s answer was simply, “God does not necessarily settle his accounts in September.”

 

There is often more to the story than is visible to human eyes, but we can depend upon the fact that God’s righteous judgment will ultimately settle all accounts.

 

In Conclusion:  G. C. Brewer (1884-1956) wrote his auto- biography after learning he had terminal cancer, in his book writes:.

 

 The surgeons ... found that which we had all feared and suspected, and, of course we all knew then that I had only a limited time in which to live ... 

 

The readers may wonder how any one reacts to a sentence such as that,  that has been pronounced upon me ... For myself, I am perfectly resigned and willing to say the Lord’s will be done. I have always believed and preached often that the Lord would be with us in the ‘valley of the shadow of death.’ I am fully confident that my name is written in heaven where the names of all of God’s first born children are enrolled. (Heb. 12:23). The Lord taught us to rejoice because of this fact ...  It is coming to me in the seventy-second year of my life and no doubt this is the way the Lord wants it to be, and what the Lord wills, I accept. I am glad, however, that I can rely upon what I have preached and prayed all the days of my life. I have prayed for the Lord to be with me in the last hour, and I have trusted that he would do all that he promised ... I may live on for some months yet to come or the hour may pass within thirty days or less--no one can tell. But that I am fast approaching the hour of my departure is of no question at all. The Lord’s will be done! Amen.”

 

Brother Brewer’s statement is of full faith he had in the providence of our Heavenly Father.

 

We close with the words of John Greenleaf Whittier:

I know not where his islands lift

Their fronded palms in air;

I only know I cannot drift

Beyond his love and care.

 

It is with this faith that we confidently serve our Lord.

contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658

 

 



[1] Miracle of Philadelphia, Katherine Drinker Bowen, Little, Brown and Co,. Boston, pg 126