The first Christmas gift

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26)

Providence… more than a city in Rhode Island

Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld: Ruth in Boaz's ...

How are we to understand the way God orders the circumstances and events of our life? Is there some secret method of determining this and understanding it? Is it a secret that only special more spiritually enlightened Christians may know?

As the story of Ruth unfolds we find her a widow living in poverty as a refugee in the region of Bethlehem. She had made a covenant pledge to follow the God of Israel to her death. It now seems that may be exactly how she ends up. She takes up the risky provision of gleaning among the left overs of the barley harvesters and we read that…

So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. ~Ruth 2:3

She “happens” to arrive in Boaz’s field. Was this a happy accident, that she just stumbled into the field of an eligible bachelor? The use of this term here and elsewhere in scripture strengthens our understanding that God is the one guiding behind the scenes, ordering events and circumstances to introduce his blessing and salvation. The Lord’s sovereignty includes those seeming accidental occurrences of life.

Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”

What is Providence?
Millard Erickson provides this summary:

The providence of God means the continuing action of God in preserving his creation and guiding it toward his intended purposes. God maintains the creation that he brought into existence and is actively engaged in achieving his purposes in his creation and sin cannot thwart those purposes.

It means that we are able to live in the assurance that God is present and active in our lives. We are in his care and can therefore face the future confidently, knowing that things are not happening merely by chance. We can pray, knowing that God hears and acts upon our prayers. We can face danger, knowing that he is not unaware and uninvolved.

In short, God is not the absentee landlord of deism. He is actively working all things towards His intended purpose for his glory. How have you seen his providence at work in your life?

Related Post
God’s Providence Prevails

Social Network Christmas

If the very first Christmas had taken place in 2010…

Bethlehem Star Found

Apparently some scientists have used astronomical forecasting data to identify a bright star above the Middle East about 2000 years ago. Imagine that! I, personally, think it’s very cool! I was listening to a talk yesterday by an Aussie guy, Al Stewart (pastor of a Church in Wollongong), discussing these sorts of scientific “discoveries” and how they might cause us to reflect on God’s abiding control of the universe.

Increase in knowledge like this is probably intimated by a comment in Daniel. It certainly doesn’t undermine the miraculous nature of the event. We understand that God, as creator, orchestrated the universe to align at the precise point in time so that astronomers (Magi or “Wise men”) would be directed to Israel to visit he who is born King of the Jews!

Understanding the scientific process behind the event does not lessen its significance. It makes, me for one, appreciate that if God can distribute the stars and planets to point the way to Christ, then he can also:

  • direct my daily life
  • answer my prayers
  • provide me an income
  • send people into my life with whom I can build evangelistic relationships
  • watch over my loved ones
  • influence government and world leaders
  • build the church
  • redeem people to himself