Providence: Part 3

Question:  Now give the third main part of the doctrine of God’s providence.

Answer:

Casper Olevianus voorkantYou see around you both human beings and other creatures, and since you have to deal with both, you should not doubt that the providence of God rules over both of them.

For in the first place, the Majestic One holds the schemes, the wills, the might, and the power of all people (be they good or evil) in His hand in such a way that He can either put them in a conciliatory frame of mind toward you or restrain and overcome their wantonness.

We have an example of the former in Genesis 33:4 when Esau ran to meet his brother Jacob and embraced him, fell on his neck, and kissed him. Esau, of course, had earlier been his brother’s enemy. Jacob, however, called upon God to turn and soften Esau’s heart, and God did so. He changed Esau’s innermost thoughts and schemes against Jacob and without Esau’s assistance moved him to show friendship to Jacob. Thus we too should call upon God, in whose hand are all the thoughts and counsels of our enemies. Note also Exodus 3:21: “I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians,” says the Lord, “and it shall be, that when you go, you shall not go empty-handed.”

We have an example of the latter in Genesis 35:5: “When they (namely, Jacob and his family) journeyed, the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the children of Jacob.”

So far as other creatures are concerned, the providence of God rules over them in such a way that God the Lord Himself governs all that they are able to do to believers, and He turns it to the good of those who are His.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Caspar Olevianus, A Firm Foundation, p. 29

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