75. PROVIDENCE – THE PROTECTIVE CARE AND GUIDANCE OF GOD
(The Faith Forum Series -Batch 3)
The awesomeness of God is that he never loses control.
Even when we mess up, make mistakes or people do what they do, God still remains in control and if he has a calling on our lives, his plans don’t get foiled or thwarted by the actions of others or ourselves.
He keeps those he has called and chosen, protects them, preserves them and even chastens them and he never lets go control of them or of the call he has placed on their lives to fulfill, for HIS glory.
In the Bible, this is clearly seen in the lives of David, Moses, Joseph and Samson.
DAVID THE SHEPHERD BOY – CALLED TO BE KING
God called David as a boy, to be king of Israel and even had him anointed for this purpose. He then positioned him, through his God-given ability to skillfully play musical instruments, into the very palace of the king he was to replace.
The king however, who had grown distant from God, went from loving David dearly as a son, to hating him, due to the God-given favour that he perceived was on his life. David therefore found himself running, miles and miles away from the palace, as the king, who had correctly perceived that this boy was to be his replacement, wanted him dead.
It may have seemed to David in his weak moments, that things were not going as planned. God had called him to be king but yet confusingly, here he was in the wilderness, being relentlessly pursued by a king that wanted him dead.
Had God lost control of the situation? Did he make a mistake in saying that he had called him to be the next king? No. God still remained in control. He preserved David during those tough times, used it to develop him and his spiritual relationship with him, delivered him from king Saul and all his enemies and STILL put him on the throne, in HIS timing.
MOSES THE HEBREW BOY – CALLED TO DELIVER THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FROM SLAVERY, BONDAGE AND THE EGYPTIANS
Pharaoh (king of Egypt) was of the view that the Israelites (Hebrews) who were serving the Egyptians in bondage as slaves were multiplying too quickly. He was concerned and afraid that this would one day result in them outnumbering and overpowering the Egyptian people and securing their freedom.
In order to ensure that they remained as the slaves of the Egyptians forever, he therefore hatched an evil plan to control the numbers of the Hebrew population, by making a royal decree that all the male Hebrew babies were to be killed by the midwives, as soon as they entered this world.
Moses (a Hebrew) was born during this time when Pharaoh’s decree had been made.
However, God in his providence, ensured that Moses (whose life God had a call on), was preserved. He allowed things to work out in such a way where, the very one he intended to use to deliver the Hebrews from the Egyptians was kept alive as a baby and not just that but placed as a child in the very palace of king Pharoah, to undergo training for the call.
Nobody knew his purpose but God did and despite king Pharoah’s best efforts to prevent the Hebrews from one day obtaining freedom, God put Moses right in the midst of the enemy’s camp, to undergo training by the very enemy, whose rule over the Hebrews, he was one day going to be used by God, to bring to an end.
Yes, God, in his providence, has a sense of humour! It is as if he mockingly says to his enemies: You have tried your best to stop what I have purposed but guess what, I’m God! I am going to derail your purposes, STILL establish my plan and I am going to have some fun doing it! As hard as you try to stop it, my plan is already in motion and you wouldn’t even know it until its too late. That is what you call my sovereignty and hand of providence. The joke is on you!
He did a similar thing with David, who he also sent to the very palace (perhaps for training on palace etiquette) and within close proximity and interaction with king Saul, the very king he was to one day replace. Ironically, it was king Saul who called for David to live in the palace due to his ability to play music skillfully before him, not knowing at that point, that that very boy was anointed by God to replace him on the throne!
The providence of God strategically positions!
King Pharoah had not a clue as to Moses’ real purpose, when his daughter ‘happened’ to find him as a small, helpless baby in a basket floating on the water at a river. She had just so ‘happened’ to go to that river for a bath when she found the baby, which had been hidden there by Moses’ parents. Although she knew it was a Hebrew child and she was most likely aware of her Father’s decree, she fell in love with the baby, so much so, that she wanted to raise him as her own son. She therefore made arrangements to pay for the child to be cared for by a Hebrew woman (which, unknown to her was Moses’ own mother!) and when he got a little older, she took him to live with her (and king Pharoah) at the palace.
God’s providence is like that.
Moses perceived the call of God on his life before the actual calling came. In Acts 7:23-25, it says that when he was forty years old (although he was living the royal life in the palace like a Prince), it entered into his heart, to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.
Yes he was in Pharoah’s house in Egypt, had spent many years there from a child into adulthood and was accustomed to the royal life and treatment. However, he could not ignore the leading of his heart and it seems that, due to the early years he spent under the guidance of his Hebrew parents, the several years of pleasure at the palace, never made him forget his roots or who he was.
He knew deep down that his purpose (based on God’s will) was to grant deliverance to his people, the Israelites, who were in bondage in Egypt, although specific instructions that he was to do so and how, had not yet come from God. Verse 25 states, after he had defended an Israelite who was being oppressed by an Egyptian and killed that Egyptian, that, “…he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.”
He may not have known how God was going to use him or when or the specifics of his plan but he knew, deep down inside, that he was going to be used to relieve their oppression. He may have well thought that one day, he would assume the throne as the king of Pharoah and would deliver them then. Why else would God have allowed him to grow up in the palace?
But the providence of God cannot be traced or predicted.
We cannot tell how God will choose to act or when or how he will orchestrate events together for us, to fulfill our purpose.
The Bible states that, when Moses realised that it was known that he had killed an Egyptian in defence of an Israelite, he found himself fleeing for his life to Midian, as King Pharoah wanted him dead.
He may have well wondered what would become of his calling, as he was no longer in the palace and in favour with the King. Yet, God’s calling on his life (unperturbed by earthly events), remained. When he least expected it, God met him right there in the wilderness of Mount Sinai to which he had run to. Through a magnificent display of fire on a bush that was not burning, God spoke to him audibly and told him, “…Come, I will send thee into Egypt.”
God’s providence determines the time for the fulfillment of the call.
This may not have been the way Moses had envisioned he would deliver the Israelites. He may have well thought that this would never even happen again, given that he was on the run for his life. He may have been confused as to what was to become of what he had thought was his purpose and not know how it would be worked out, if it would be worked at all.
After all, he had messed up, seemingly. He may have even resolved within himself that maybe he had gotten it wrong and he was not to be the one to deliver the Israelites after all. Maybe he had concluded that the summation of the rest of his life would just be spent quietly in Midian.
The situation we find ourselves in however is not strong enough to override the call of God on our lives.
God’s plans for Moses were not foiled. He sent him back to Egypt and through him, Moses did fulfill his calling to deliver the Israelites from bondage.
It wasn’t in Moses’ timing or according to his methods but God was as always, on time. Furthermore, after God through miracles, secured the freedom of his people the Israelites (Hebrews) and they left Egypt on the way to a beautiful land that he had promised them, God had Moses take them en route, right back to that very Mount Sinai in the wilderness, where the burning bush had been.
JOSEPH THE DREAMING BOY – CALLED TO A POSITION OF HIGH AUTHORITY AND GOVERNANCE, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE PRESERVATION OF HIS PEOPLE
Joseph had a strange dream as a child, of sheaves (which are bundles of crop stems that have been tied together after reaping), bowing down to his sheaves.
This suggested that he would one day be in a position of high authority. Yet, if the dream had come from God, it certainly seemed dead. For, he was thrown into a pit by his own brothers who were jealous of him and his close relationship with their father and then sold for money to a stranger who was on his way to a far away land called Egypt, where, against his will, he was taken and ended up being a slave.
But was it really?
God used the very worst that the brothers of Joseph did and turned it around for good. His brothers did not realize at the time, that, in their desire to destroy him, even their wicked actions and purpose had already been provided for and factored into God’s divine purpose, for Joseph’s life.
The awesomeness of God is that he REMAINS in control. Some call it providence. Others refer to it as his sovereignty. Whatever mankind does, whatever happens, he has already factored it into his plan and purpose and he will STILL have his way.
Joseph still ended up as a ruler and over the very Egypt that he was sold as a slave into. The very land he entered as a slave and existed in as the least among the masses with no rights and no significance, God raised him up in, to the point where he became second in command to the then king (Pharoah) of Egypt.
As God will have it, he honoured the dream he had placed in Joseph’ heart as a boy and his brothers did bow down to him many years later, when they came to Egypt to buy food during a famine. When they bowed down to him, they did not realise at the time that he was their brother who they had sold as a slave into Egypt. All they knew at the time was that this man was to be esteemed and given the highest honour, as he was very powerful in all of Egypt, made all of the decisions pertaining to that country and was the king’s right hand man on all matters. While the king retained the title of Pharaoh, he had delegated the actual ruling over all of Egypt to this man. Without hesitation therefore and in deference, they humbly took the floor and bowed down to this powerful Governor.
It was only after Joseph revealed himself to them later, in tears, that they realized he was their brother, the one they had treated wickedly and tried to get rid of all those years ago, when he was only seventeen years of age. They had done their worst but God’s purposes for Joseph had included him going to Egypt, unknown to them at the time. They were motivated by evil but God used that for good.
SAMSON THE NAZARITE BOY – CALLED TO DELIVER THE ISRAELITES FROM THE PHILISTINES
Samson too, had a call on his life which seemingly was thwarted by his consistent mistakes in the choice of women.
Before he was born or even conceived, an angel appeared to the woman who was going to be his mother with specific instructions from the Lord, as to what she was to eat and drink while carrying him and how he was to be raised.
The angel told her that the child would be a Nazarite unto God from the womb and that he would begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, under whom the Israelites were subjected in bondage for forty years.
Samson however, played loose with the call upon his life due to his love of wayward women. Due to spiritual blindness when it came to his love life, these women were continuously his downfall. Through the last one he was captivated by, he was betrayed by her, captured by his enemies the Philistines, his eyes put out and placed in a public place where he was ridiculed by thousands of Philistines.
However, although he died at the end, he still fulfilled the call on his life before he did because nothing, no one and no circumstance (not even our own disobedience), can prevent God from fulfilling his purpose in our life when he is determined that it will be done.
While bound, without eyes and placed as a joke before thousands of Philistines which included all the rulers of the Philistines and while they were rejoicing that they had finally captured him, Samson prayed a final prayer to God, asking him to remember him and to give him strength one more time. God answered his prayer, and having resolved that he would die with the Philistines, Samson used his God-given strength to pull down the pillars upon which the building was upheld.
This resulted in his death but also the death of all of the Philistines (including the rulers and the government) who were there. In so doing, he therefore did begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines as God had created him to do, although I believe that his disobedience throughout his life with women, cost him his life as well.
Had he used wisdom in his affiliations with women and been obedient to God’s desire for him to be separate from ungodly women, I believe that he would have still been used by God to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines but in a different way and that he would not have lost his eyes or died in the process.
God’s providence overrides (not excuses) our poor choices, mistakes and actions.
As you study the scriptures, you will see other examples of persons whose lives God had a call on, like Esther, the orphan girl. God used her beauty, caused her to be favoured above all other women by the then king Ahasuerus, elevated her to the position of Queen and strategically positioned her in the palace, so as to deliver her people the Hebrews (who the king did not even know at the time was her people), from the king’s decree (which was inspired by wicked Haman), to have all the Hebrews killed.
In conclusion, this is the lesson about God’s providence: He is ALWAYS in control no matter what we do or what the devil does. He ALWAYS has the last say and if he has a call on your life to a particular purpose, no matter what happens, he will ensure that that call is fulfilled before you leave this earth.
You may have no idea how and your present reality may be far from where you feel you are called to be but do not worry yourself trying to figure it out. Trust God’s sovereignty. He is a God of logistics. He will work it ALL out in his timing.
(Written on 2nd June, 2017)