In this study we see how God’s providence extends to all the creatures of His universe. Animate creates, or creatures with life, though they have only a vegetable or animal life, are under the care of divine providence.
Every blade of grass proclaims the existence of God, so it also declares a providence and instructs men to trust in Him. “Consider how the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Therefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the fire, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? [i] ”
Other creatures that live an animal life yet are irrational are also cared for in the providence of our wise and compassionate God. The psalmist asserts, “He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young raven which cry [ii].” All animal creatures look up to Him, and He gives them their food in due season. The beasts of the field and the birds of the air, God knows them all and tenderly provides for them. Not the sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge, will, and providence. The doctrine of providence and trust in it are to be learned from these creatures.
Rational creatures, angels and men, are especially the objects of divine providence. Angels good and bad are governed by the Almighty. Good angels are not only upheld in their being by God, but are directed by His providence and ordered by His will, here and there. He does according to His will among them, even in the armies of heaven [iii] . He orders them to do His pleasure in the various parts of the world, gives them charge over His people to keep and guard them in all their ways. Christ said that He could ask for twelve legions of angels from His Father and they would be summoned at once [iv]. Satan himself attempted to entice the Son of God quoting the Psalms, “[the Father] will give His angels charge concerning You, and they will bear You up in their hands lest You strike Your foot against a stone [v].”
Evil angels are under the restraints and checks of God’s providence. They cannot go anywhere or do anything without His permission. Consider the case of Job: “’But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.’ Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD [vi] … so the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.’” [vii] . Jesus encountered demons who deferred to His authority, “And [Jesus] was asking [the demon], ‘What is your name?’ And [the demon] said to Him, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ And [the demon] began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons implored [Jesus], saying, ‘Send us into the swine so that we may enter them [viii].’” Satan could not lay hand on Peter without the permission of God: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat [ix].”
Observe and take comfort in the fact that Satan cannot engage His people without authorization from God Himself.
[i] Matthew 6:28-30
[ii] Psalm 147:9
[iii] Daniel 4:45
[iv] Matthew 26: 53
[v] Mathew 4:6; Psalm 91:11-12
[vi] Job 1:11-12
[vii] Job 2:6
[viii] Mark 5:9-13
[ix] Luke 22:31