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

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  1. Peter November 20, 2009 at 10:48 AM #

    Of course, question arises regarding God’s sovereign control when it comes to sin and evil. So here’s a few more verses to consider (vss. from the ESV).

    … For it was the LORD’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the LORD commanded Moses. Joshua 11:20 (The Canaanites sinned in fighting the LORD’s people.)

    … the sword shall never depart from your house … Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor … 2 Samuel 12:10a, 11a cf. following chapters (rape, murder, and treason of and by David’s children)

    … Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 2 Chronicles 15:6

    … Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them [NIV: let them be defiled] through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 20:25-26

    … For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. Zechariah 8:10

    … the law came in to increase the trespass … Rom. 5:20

    … So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Romans 9:18

    … For from him and through him and to him are all things. Romans 11:36

    … him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Ephesians 1:11b

    … they refused to love God and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned … 2 Thessalonians 2:10b-11a cf. 1 Kings 22:13-28


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