Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 11

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.

  • Psalm 145:17

All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,
    whose plan is wonderful,
    whose wisdom is magnificent.

  • Isaiah 28:29

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

  • Hebrews 1:3

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

  • Psalm 103:19

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

  • Matthew 10:29-30

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

  • Psalm 104:24

But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

  • Genesis 45:7

The Lord does whatever pleases him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.

  • Psalm 135:6

Also referenced in the Shorter and Longer Catechisms, with links to these chapters, the chapters when God speaks to Job, are Job 38, Job 39, Job 40, and Job 41.

“Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy (Ps. 145:17), wise, (Isa. 28:29) and powerful (Heb. 1:3), preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions (Ps. 103:19, Matt. 10;29).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism

“Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

“Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence?
“A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving, and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.”

  • The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

One defining question might be the difference in God’s providence or God’s sovereignty.  John Piper defines God’s sovereignty as being only God’s right to do what He does combined with His omnipotence and it is done.  And Piper defines God’s providence as being His sovereignty plus God’s wisdom, justice, righteousness, etc.  In saying that “God’s works of providence” we must include all of the above.

And this is basically the tact taken by this question in the catechisms.  God is not only sovereign, God has a will that must be done.  His will is righteous and just.

What seems to not apply in the question’s answer is our free will, but then that leads to the next several questions.

Regardless of our free will, God’s overall sovereign plan is going to be carried out.  And to use John Piper’s definition of providence, the sovereignty of God is unassailable, but God will carry out His sovereignty with wisdom, justice, and righteousness.

And as He asked Job, “Where were you when I hung the stars in the sky or created the Leviathon?”  (tremendously paraphrased)

And now let us sing.

The song, In Christ Alone, is sung here by Kristyn Getty, accompanied by Keith Getty.  The ultimate of God’s providence is to have His Son pay our sin debt.  God did not will us to sin, but in knowing that we would abuse our free will, He already had set a plan in place.  This explains the question of God’s providence.  God’s almighty plan will be done.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

  • Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, In Christ Alone

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We cannot imagine the width and depth and height of Your glory.  We cannot imagine Your awesome power.  Your righteousness and justice are beyond our mental grasp.  We have free will, yet, Your will be done.  Only You, Father God, know when Christ will come again, but it is inevitable.  You know the number of hairs on our head and you know the days, the hours, the breaths that we have left here on earth.  May we live prepared for Your return, precious Jesus.  May we grow to be more like You.  For Your providence remains unbroken.  Why should we do as we do, in taking the wheel.  You are in control, now and forever.
In thy Name we pray.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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