Monday, December 22, 2014

SERMON: Everything happens for a reason

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 8/1/2014

Providence is the continuous activity of God in His creation by which He preserves and governs. The doctrine of providence affirms God’s absolute Lordship over His creation and confirms the dependence of all creation on the Creator. It is the denial of the idea that the universe is governed by chance or fate.

It is sometimes supposed that God knows the future, but cannot control it; that He upholds the world, but does not intervene in it; or that He gives general direction, but is not concerned with details. The Bible rules out all such limitations of his providence.

Providence is the continuous activity of God in His creation by which He preserves and governs. The doctrine of providence affirms God’s absolute Lordship over His creation and confirms the dependence of all creation on the Creator. It is the denial of the idea that the universe is governed by chance or fate.

It is sometimes supposed that God knows the future, but cannot control it; that He upholds the world, but does not intervene in it; or that He gives general direction, but is not concerned with details. The Bible rules out all such limitations of his providence.

“The Lord has established His throne in the Heavens, and His kingdom rules over all” (Psalms 106:9). This text makes it clear God knows the future and controls it.

God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust,” Jesus says (Matthew 5:45). Speaking of God’s intervention in the world, He continues, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny. And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30).

One man in whose life God worked extensively was Joseph. God made Joseph the favorite son of his father Jacob. While this made Joseph’s life easy, it came with a large burden. His brothers hated him and plotted to kill him. Instead of killing him though, they sold him to a group of passing merchants who took him to Egypt. The brothers told their father Joseph had been killed by a wild animal and produced his coat covered with blood.

Joseph was sold into slavery by the merchants and then later thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In each instance, Joseph received injustice. Yet God worked in his life and finally used these unjust circumstances to raise him to prime minister of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, where he would save his family from starvation as well as establish the beginnings of the great Hebrew nation.

God does the very same thing in each of our lives.

God allows us to create the tangled mess we sometimes make of our lives. The difficulties, disappointments and wrongs are all for a purpose. People might go against God’s will of command, yet they fulfill His will of events. People’s motives may be evil, yet God uses their actions for good.

Christians are never in the grip of blind fortune, chance, luck or fate. All that happens to them is divinely planned. As Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

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