So your life was pretty ordinary today? God did not descend in a fiery or cloudy pillar and speak to you. No angel descended and spoke to you as one did, for instance, to Manoah, Gideon, Zacharias, and Mary. No sea parted in front of you. When you used the last of your flour, it really was the last of your flour. You had to go to the grocery store and buy another five-pound bag. Your life was so ordinary, in fact, that you failed to see God’s providence actively working in every mundane detail. That’s a mistake because God is acting as immediately, deliberately, and personally in the routine circumstances of a believer’s life as He did when He intervened with a miracle.
Just because God does not announce His presence, explain why you had a flat tire today, your boss yelled at you, or your electricity and plumbing worked without a hitch is no excuse for failing to recognize the hand of God ordering the details of your life. God is as intimately involved in your safe drive to work or the good operation of your vacuum cleaner as He was in turning the water into wine or feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish. In this dispensation, miracles are not the evidence of God’s blessing or the proof of His presence. And failure to recognize God’s sovereign providence in the mundane affairs of life both dishonors the Lord and debilitates the believer.
Since He is fully in charge of something as commonplace as the flight of an insect, God wanted His people to recognize His work in their lives when it wasn’t immediately evident. So on two occasions He prophesied that He would act to deliver them by means that might seem unusual but altogether natural. Following the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, He promised to “send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you” (Ex. 23:28). That was at the beginning of their lengthy wandering in the wilderness. Forty years later, just before Israel entered the Promised Land, God reiterated His promise: “Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish” (Deut. 7:20). Interestingly, the Spirit of God did not see fit to record a firsthand account of the Lord using hornets to defeat Israel’s enemies, but in his retrospective on Israel’s history, Joshua reminds the people after the event that God “sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow” (Josh. 24:12).
God was reminding them and us that He is Lord of the hornets, just as He is Lord of the trees, of the gentle breezes and gale force winds. He is Lord of the dust and Lord of the oceans, just as He is Lord of COVID-19 and Remdesivir. And He is Lord over the actions and inactions of every man, woman, and child. No, God does not make men sin, but He can and does permit or stop any action at any time that does not accord with His purpose of glorifying Himself and blessing His church.
The writers of the New Testament were as adamant about the reality of this truth as the writers of the Old Testament were faithful to record examples of God’s providence. Paul gives us this unequivocal declaration: “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” (Rom. 8:28). We know, he affirms, that God is at work making all things—not many, not even most, but all—work together for those who love God. It might also be said that God orders all things in the lives of sinners, too, but not for their ultimate good.
You and I will never lead the lives the Lord wants us to live until we recognize, rest, and rejoice in the daily providential care with which the Lord governs our lives. It is not foolish, childish, or superstitious to see God’s hand behind the sting of a hornet or the butterfly’s pollination of a flower, the timely arrival or withholding of rain, the safe drive across town or the fall off a stepladder. God wants us to live that kind of life. Are you?
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