Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
It used to be a statistical reality that if you were from a Judeo-Christian background, your experience of stress would be significantly less than all other groups. The reason was that in your worldview, even if you were only a nominal Christian, had an awareness of the sovereignty and goodness of God.
Sadly today, for many Christians, I suspect this may no longer be the case. Our trust in and Biblical understanding of God’s sovereignty has been diminished and this has had serious implications for faith and life. As a result many Christians today are given to worry. We have even made worry a respectable sin. Worry, to not trust in God’s sovereignty, is a sin. We miss the mark, we take our eyes off of Him, we see Him as less than we should, our gaze becomes divided, we struggle to take Jesus at His words (Matt 6:25–34).
Closely linked to God’s sovereignty is His providence. His providence is His superintending activity over His creation. You might say it is how He works out His sovereignty. Question 27 of the Heidelberg Catechism reminds of this, but in a devotional quality:
"Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. God's providence is his almighty and ever present power, whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures, and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand. "
If we cease to believe in a good and sovereign ruler who gives us all things “by his fatherly hand,” including trials, which He uses to deepen our faith, strengthen our character, to make us “perfect and complete” (Ja 1:2), we are left with the uncertainty of a God who is not all-sovereign and the possibility what we face might be all for naught. Yet Ro 8:28, which is more than cliché resounds: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.”
John Newton (the author of Amazing Grace) wisely said these words:
“[One of the marks of Christian maturity which a believers should seek is] an acquiescence in the Lord’s will founded in a persuasion of his wisdom, holiness, sovereignty, and goodness….So far as we attain to this, we are secure from disappointment. Our own limited views, and short sighted purposes and desires, may be, and will be, often over-ruled; but then our main and leading desire, that the will of the Lord may be done, must be accomplished. How highly does it becomes us, both as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! And how necessary is it to our peace! This great attainment is too often un-thought of, and over-looked; we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting that whatever befalls us is according to his purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good. From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repining’s, which are not only sinful, but tormenting; whereas, if all things are in his hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient; - then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility follow as he leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue…How happy are they who can resign all to him, see his hands in every dispensation, and believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!”
Consider Jesus’ words as He approached the cross in Mk 13:36. Jesus did not shrink from asking His Father what He humanly may have desired as advantageous (the removal of the pain of bearing God’s wrath because of our sin, the passion and the cross) but conceded that that which came from the Father’s hand was best and said “but not my will but yours be done.” Jesus knew, to liken it to Paul, that “my grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9).
And when we find ourselves in the midst of a difficult providence we lean on Him asking for more faith in Him, we cling to promises of hope and comfort, we sing, we rely on the help of God’s people, we remind ourselves of God’s providence and find peace.
May the Lord grant us His grace to remember His providence and mature in our understanding of it. May this solace in a chaotic world be a witness.
 Newton, John. Letters of John Newton. (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960), 137.
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