"P" is for Providence
April 25, 2018
If there’s one thing the book of Esther teaches us in our on-air study this month, it’s that God is in control. Of the universe. Of the history of mankind. Of our individual lives. Let’s take a closer look at this sovereign ordering of our history that happens whether we acknowledge God’s hand or not.
Dr. McGee explained it this way:
Creation explains the origin of the universe.
Preservation explains how it continues.
Providence explains how God directs all things—animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, good and evil—all towards a worthy purpose. Providence is God’s glory on display and the ultimate fulfillment of His purposes.
God doesn’t have to report to anyone concerning His conduct. He runs the universe and runs it His own way.
“… According to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” -Ephesians 1:11
Providence is God at the steering wheel of the universe. It’s the way God coaches the man who is on second base. Providence means that God is behind the scenes, shifting and directing the happenings of the world. Providence is God’s hand in the glove of history, and that glove will never move until He moves it.
You might find it hard to believe that the book of Esther teaches the providence of God. How can it when God’s name is not even mentioned? He is there in the shadows, keeping watch over His own.
The word providence means “to provide.” God will provide. Providence means that God is in back of His creation today, in back of the human race, in back of those who are His own by redemption. God is giving men and women direction in the world today.
In the book of Esther we see that this is how God works. The young Jewish girl Esther was chosen by King Ahasuerus to be queen of Persia. Most people would call her “lucky.” But God was behind these events.
Her cousin, Mordecai, happened to overhear a ploy to slay the king. Yes, he was “lucky” to have overheard it. But God was overruling. Mordecai reported the plot, but his loyalty went unrewarded. The king didn’t recognize him at all. (Unlucky?) Then to make matters worse, Mordecai incurred the wrath of Haman (whom the king had promoted to a very influential office) by refusing to bow to him. In revenge, Haman determined to destroy not only Mordecai but all his people throughout the kingdom.
Then, one night the king could not sleep. He called for the book of records of the kingdom; we’d call them the meeting “minutes.” Surely, reading them would put the king to sleep. Yet on this night, he read what Mordecai had done to save his life and asked how he had been rewarded.
“Well, we are going to reward him now.”
The entire sequence of events sounds like luck, but it was God directing the plot. And God saved an entire people from extermination because of it. You can trace a bright thread of redemption all the way through Esther’s story—even all the way through the Word of God. If you look closely, you’ll see God’s thread of redemption in your life, too.
Dr. McGee said, “God permits an enemy or trouble to come into our lives so we will turn to Him.” It’s the only way He can get our attention sometimes.
Think about the path of your spiritual life. Have you turned to God in times of trouble when you would not have come otherwise?
Think of the times when you have asked God to show you His will on some decision. You may have never felt like you got an answer, yet God guided you through His providence, as He will guide any willing soul today.
Thank Him today for how He has quietly directed your steps.
“The providence of God can be tender or it can be tough,” Dr. McGee said. By His providence God moves in lives today, and He wants to move in your life, freely. Take a good, long look at how God moved in Esther’s story in a godless land, and you’ll see lessons there for us today.
EXCLUSIVE ONLINE CONTENT
Listen online to more about Esther’s story from Dr. McGee in these Sunday Sermons:
“For Such a Time as This”
“The Strange Providences of God”