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Providence 101

May 8th, 2009

“…Tertullus began…saying, Seeing that by thee [Roman

procurator, Felix] we enjoy great quietness, and that very

worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence…”

(emph. mine, RMH)

(Acts 24:2, KJV [the term providence, here, is pronoias; it is the only such reference in the Bible; and, here, in a secular sense. Of course,  the concept of providence is everywhere in the Scriptures] )

Providence is a reference to God in  the world (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11).  To have a Christian world-view is to believe in purpose on earth (Eccl. 3:1) and transcendent purpose in heaven (Eccl. 3:11; Isa. 55:8-9).   Christ Jesus merges these two concepts (Eph. 1:10); so far as is practical (Deut. 29:29).

Jesus, himself, lived with a strong sense of providence, and encouraged others to do the same (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31).  Jesus’ view of providence was undoubtedly influenced by his earthly instruction in the Bible.  This would have included Psalm 104.  This is a long and loud praise of universal providence.  It begins and ends with a summons for the individual to recognize and participate in the providence of God.  The recurring phrase which marks the beginning and the ending of Ps. 104 is “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Ps. 104:1,35).  Further resources of providence include: Ps. 33:21; 97:10; Prov. 16:33; 20:24; and Gen. 45:5.

The Kingdom of God is an excellent context for discussing Divine Providence.  Kingdom is about God in history (Lk. 10:11).  The perception of God in history will influence how one characteristically  looks outward on the universe.

Robert M. Housby

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