Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Special care toward us

Calvin's Institutes - I.17 - Applying Providence
Sections 6-11 - the happiness of recognizing providence
Section 6 - Providence as solace for believers
Ps 55:2; 1 Pet 5:7; Ps 91:1; Zech 2:8; Gen 15:1; Jer 1:18; 15:20; Isa 49:15, 25; Ps 91:12.
God deliberates over every particular for each of us.
Matt 10:29-31.
"God has chosen the church to be His dwelling place."

Section 7 - God's providence in prosperity
God can frustrate the wicked to our advantage
Ex 3:21; 1 Kings 22:22; 12:10, 15; 2 Sam 17:7, 14; Job 1:12.
Only God's blessing can make something/one prosper.
So we can be grateful when things go well, patient in adversity, and free from worry.

Section 8 - Certainty of providence helps us in adversity
Joseph, Job and David were each comforted by looking to God in their trials.
Gen 45:5-8; 50:20; Job 1:21; 2 Sam 16:11; Ps 39:9.
"When we are unjustly wounded by men, let us overlook their wickedness... and learn... that whatever our enemy has wickedly committed against us was permitted and sent by God's just dispensation."
Eph 6:11-12; Deut 28:2, 15; Lev 26:23-24; Lam 3:38; Amos 3:6; Isa 45:7.

Section 9 - No disregard of intermediate causes!
The godly will thank the earthly minister of God's blessing for that blessing, besides thanking God from whom it ultimately came. When faced with a setback, the godly will impute any fault to himself and also take it as a lesson from the Lord.
Joab did this - 2 Sam 10:12: "We will stand fast for our people and the cities of our God; but let the Lord do what is good in His eyes."

Section 10 - without certainty of providence life would be unbearable
Our lives are in danger everywhere, all the time.
We would reproach God if we thought He left us open to all this by blind fortune.

Section 11 - certainty of providence brings joyous trust in God
We are relieved of every worry to know God holds all things in His power.
Ps 91:3-6; 118:6; 56:4; 27:1, 3; 22:4; 56:5; 71:14; 31:15; Isa 7:4; Ezek 29:4.
God restrains Satan from harming us.
Satan may hinder us (1 Thess 2:18), but only with God's permission (1 Cor 16:7).
"Ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries;
the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it."

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