Read: Job 1
The Catechism, true to form, again brings the doctrine of “providence” down to us in a very practical manner. It does not ask, “Can prayer change His providence concerning me?” It does not claim that I have the right to complain about God’s way with me or use this truth of providence to excuse my sin. (If God determines all these things, then I could not help but commit certain sins!) Rather, the catechism asks about the “advantage” to me of this doctrine. It is not a question, “Will God work all things to my advantage?” The Christian makes the bold assertion that all things will work out to my advantage. Psalm 119 repeatedly asserts this truth. The Psalmist insists that affliction has been for his profit.
One is overwhelmed by this fact. Life can sometimes be so confusing. One may think that everything is against him. All seems hopeless. And, let us face the facts, were it not for the truth of God’s providence, there would be no hope—ever. But the Christian confesses that the profound doctrine of providence is of great value and comfort to him. It speaks to him when he receives of God’s hand health and prosperity. It speaks to him in a comforting way when he must endure great trial, pain, and adversity. Everything will work out to his advantage.
The emphasis here must be: what does the doctrine of providence mean for me? We must not treat this doctrine in the abstract. Were we to ask ourselves, what does this doctrine mean for “people,” then this study would have no comfort for me.
This is not a selfish attitude. It is rather the way to lead us to recognize the great work of our Father. Imagine: from eternity our Father has determined my way. All works for my good only for Jesus’ sake.
What a comfort it is for the Christian who knows that God works all things for his good.
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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