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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Works of providence

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Nelson Roth
Big picture, providence, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, is the care that God exercises over all things that He has created, in order that they may accomplish the ends for which they were created.  

Another factor in hearing God's voice is works of providence.

Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."

How does God reveal his will to us in circumstances? How do we have confidence in hearing his voice so that we know what to say 'yes' and 'no' to?

Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps."

The illustration from last week about a ship needing two lights to be directed through a dangerous channel at night also applies to works of providence.  If we were to use circumstance alone, as a single light, we could navigate to shore from a number of directions and some routes may result in being wrecked.

We can’t make decisions pulling petals from a flower.

Although, God does often open or close doors of opportunity in order to reveal His will to us; and in so doing He is speaking to us personally and leading.  A problem can exist with this so we must carefully discern.  The devil can also be working. Remember that he counterfeited each of Moses' miraculous acts before Pharaoh. 

So, when we interpret events, we must line up works of providence with the Word, and the witness of the Spirit. This is how we can confidently know what God is saying.

We must also be careful to not seek a sign in order to get an answer or hear God.  If God chooses to give one, He will.  Sometimes we're tempted to “put out a fleece” - Judges 6:36-40, saying, "If such and such happens by this time tomorrow - or whatever, I'll know it's God." However; just because something ‘happens’ may not mean it is God speaking.  And, rather than great faith, seeking a sign may really be more about my doubt looking for proof.

We can hear God through works of providence and our hearing is confirmed by His Word and the witness of the Spirit.

The Apostle Paul was clearly in tune with God in all three of these areas while on his second missionary journey. He had been looking for a city where he could settle in for a while. After being rejected and driven away from several cities, he arrived in Ephesus and they invited him to stay - Acts 18:19-21. Wow, just what he desired - it happened, he was given a great offer, it was something he was looking for.  But, here's what he did - he turned it down.  After considering everything, he believed that he was to travel on to Jerusalem.

Some closed doors may never open.  Some may eventually open. Some opened doors may not be God's will, while others might be His perfect will. 

How are you challenged about works of providence in hearing God's voice?

Things happen and things don’t happen – and in them all God is speaking.  Our part is discerning and hearing His voice.

Previous articles in this series about - Hearing God:
The capacity to hear God
Tuning in and hearing God 
The witness of the Spirit

Feel free to ask questions and/or post your comment below.

RM's vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

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