Thursday, February 28, 2008

Providence Confirms the Word

In all your observations of Providence have special respect to that Word of God which is fulfilled and made good to you by them.

Flavel's point in this section is that the workings of Providence has a direct relation to the word of God. What God does in the world is a confirmation of what He has promised in His Word. This may sound a bit unreasonable, but when we see how Flavel extends his point, we come to understand. Flavel says that we can see the confirmation of the Word in either it's "threatening, caution, counsel or promise". Following this exhortation will not only confirm the truth of Scripture for us, but it will also, "direct and instruct us in our present duties under all providences". Our author then labors to bring various situations "under the Word".

  • The Word says it's a good idea to keep close to its rules and duties. Does the experience of Providence not prove this point? Can we not see that following the rules and duties of the Word are for our benefit? Would the drunkard and adulterer not agree with this text after his life has come crashing down?
  • The Word says that moving from integrity will not prosper you. "Did you ever leave the way of simplicity and integrity, and use sinful shifts to bring about your own designs, and prosper in that way"? Does it not always catch up with you? Even though it might seem to prosper for awhile, it will lead to greater judgment.
  • The Word says it is better to trust in the Lord than people. Has there ever been a time in your life when trusting in a man was more profitable than trusting in the Lord? Has He let you down? Have you not seen it confirmed that when we take for ourselves idols our jealous God will show them for what they are?
  • The Word assures us that sin is the cause for affliction and sorrow. As Flavel asks, "when did you grow into a secure, vain, carnal frame, but you found some rousing startling providence sent to awaken you? Flavel does give a disclaimer: "Nor, do I say that God follows every sin with a rod; for who then could stand before Him." But certainly, can we not see that sin carries with it consequences?
  • The Word promises that God will never leave or forsake believers. Has He ever left you? Have you been forsaken? Can you think of any dear saint that has been left by God? There have been difficulties, but have you ever been utterly forsaken and left by God? Certainlty not.
  • The Word of God claims to be the only relief and comfort in days of affliction. Do you see this confirmed in your life? Have you experienced that a Word from the Lord has carried more weight than a thousand others? Of you not seen that where nothing else could comfort you a precious Word of the Lord will quiet your soul?
  • The Word says that giving our goods leads to blessing and withholding them is not wise. Can you testify to the blessing of God after your heart of giving? Certainly Flavel is not presenting here a prosperity gospel. His point is that the Word and Providence confirms that it is better to give.
  • The Word says that to clear your conscience follow the way of the Lord. Do you know of a man whose conscience is not clear that is following all of the ways of the Lord? Do you not sleep easier after following His rules? Can you not see that if you follow the Lord it will lead to a clear conscience?

Flavel gives us but a sampling. Obviously, since the Word of God is fully true, and because every Word is profitiable, it is not surprising that this is the case. Therefore, the more we think and meditate upon the working of Providence on our lives the more we will confirm to ourselves the validity of the precious Word.

Return to The Mystery of Providence Chapter 9

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