Read: Job 2
How inclusive is this work of God’s Providence? The Catechism emphasizes that it includes everything that takes place: both that which is considered “good” and that which would seem to be “bad.” He upholds and governs the heaven, earth, and all creatures. Very specifically, this includes everything on the earth and all events of history on the earth.
Lest there be any doubt concerning the extent of this Providence, the Catechism states that “herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.” That is truly comprehensive.
Most who confess to believe in God would readily agree that all the “good” things come from our Father (fruitful years, riches, and health). Many insist that we must earnestly pray for these good things. If we do not receive these things, it is because our prayers are not fervent enough or not uttered in the strong faith that God will provide. Did not Jesus teach, “Ask and you shall receive?”
Others have insisted that the “bad” things (sickness, poverty) come not from God but from the devil. Is not God a loving God? Does He not earnestly love all His creatures? Would a loving God cause sickness or suffering on any of His creatures? The devastating things which occur fit in with the character of the devil.
Scripture, however, clearly teaches that all things without exception are under the direct control of our Father. Job (cf. Job 2) experienced that truth. He confessed that God sends both the good and evil (Job 2:10). Whether we understand or not, He sends these in His wrath on the reprobate unbeliever; but He sends these also on the believer in His grace.
King David acknowledged this control by God. Concerning Shimei, who was cursing the king as he was fleeing his son Absalom, David said, “Let him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to” (2 Sam. 16:11).
To deny that God sends “bad” things would be to deny His sovereignty. It would place the devil on a par with God. This would be a devastating view for the Christian who is suffering some serious sickness or terrible adversity. We would be questioning our very faith in God. Rather, our Father is Sovereign over all things. Thank God that this is absolutely true.
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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