The second part of Providence concerns God’s government over all things. This has to do with the wise and orderly handling of all creatures, to fulfill the purposes for which they have been made. God’s government is vast; all creatures are subject to Him. His kingdom rules over all, and it is an everlasting one. His dominion endures throughout all generations: The kingdom is the LORD’S, and He rules over the nations [i]. God has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all [ii]. God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His authority endures throughout all generations [iii].
Non-living creation is governed by the providence of God. The Lord places an inclination in it to carry out certain actions which they always follow. There is a divine influence by which weather conditions are actuated, and to which these elements attend with much precision that it were if they were living beings hearing the call and understanding the will of their Creator. Thus rain and snow come down from the heavens and fall to the earth by God’s direction. The earth drinks in that rain and snow, receives the seed cast in it, and thereafter brings forth life. It is fascinating that the Hebrews writers rarely use such expressions as “it rains;” they instinctively speak of God sending the rain.
Irrational animals are also governed, guided, and directed through providence by way of a God-given instinct. Birds build their nest with great precision, art, and skill. Where does this skill come from? With tenderness they cherish and provide food for their young. The ant, though it has no visible leader, stores food for the winter. It also provides man with an example of industry and diligence: “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest [iv].” And also “the ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer; the badgers are not mighty people, yet they make their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks … [v].”
Rational creatures, such as men and angels, are governed in a moral way. Providence oversees all men, all their actions, words and thoughts. All of these things are overruled by God’s providence to accomplish a good and perfect divine end; this includes the evil actions, as in Joseph’s case. As you may recall his brothers sold him into slavery, thinking to do evil against him. But God designed and overruled it for good in order to save many people alive: “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive [vi].”
How about the murder of Jesus Christ? The Scriptures declare that He was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, and consequently nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men [vii].
Hence, God overrules the evil actions of men to accomplish His purposes [viii]
[i] Psalm 22:28
[ii] Psalm 103:19
[iii] Psalm 145:13
[iv] Proverbs 6:6-8
[v] Proverbs 30:25-27
[vi] Genesis 50:20
[vii] Acts 2:23
[viii] Psalm 76:10