Blogging the Institutes | 1.16.7 | God’s Providence in the History of Israel

God’s providence is also on display in the history of Israel. The text tells us that God uses particular events as an examples of his providence. For example, God causes a south wind to blow and brought the Israelites a plentiful supply of birds (Exodus 19:13). When God wanted Jonah to be thrown into the sea, he sent a whirlwind. Now, some may object to these examples and claim that his involvement in those instances was contrary to ordinary way the world works.

What I infer from those instances, however, is that no wind ever rises or rages without God’s special command. He could not “make the winds his messengers and the flames of fire his minister” or “the clouds his chariot” (Psalm 104:3-4) if he did not control the clouds and winds through the special presence of his power. We are also taught that whenever a storm arises, it testifies to the special presence of God: “For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea” and “He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107:25, 29). He also declares that he curses people with scorching wind and mildew (Amos 4:9).

Take the example of having children as well. While humanity naturally posses the power for continuing the species, God describes it as a mark of his providence that some are childless and that some are blessed with children. Jacob acknowledges God’s hand in Rachel’s barrenness when he says, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld you the fruit of the womb” (Genesis 30:2).

Let me conclude by saying this: nothing is more ordinary than eating bread. But the Spirit declares not only that the produce of the earth is God’s special gift, but that “man does not live by bread alone” (Deuteronomy 8:3). It is not merely the bread which nourishes people but the secret blessing of God. If God nourishes us with bread, it is a serious threat for him to take away our bread like he does in Isaiah 3:1, “For behold, the Lord God of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread And the whole supply of water.” Indeed, why should we even pray for our “daily bread” if God wasn’t the one who supplied us with food?

God is a good Father to his children as the Psalmist reminds us, “he gives food to all flesh” (Psalm 136:25). In addition, when we hear on the one hand that “the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry” and, on the other hand, “The face of the Lord is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth” (Psalm 34:15-16), we can be assured that all creatures in the heavens and on the earth are at his disposal for service. He may employ them in whatever way he pleases. Therefore, God not only continues the order of nature but also uses natural things for his certain and special purposes.

2 thoughts on “Blogging the Institutes | 1.16.7 | God’s Providence in the History of Israel

  1. Pingback: Blogging the Institutes | 1.16.7 | God’s Providence in the History of Israel | Talmidimblogging

  2. Pingback: Blogging the Institutes: List of Posts – Raising Lazarus

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