Meditations on God 7

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. (Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

The picture that Emmons paints as he expounds at least one aspect of Ephesians 1:11 is that God sees all things at once and He sees all things constantly. This is a strong teaching on the omniscience of God. From all eternity God has known and seen all things in the eternal present, which is to say that all things are present with Him and His knowledge is certain. This great and glorious God does not depend on anyone to inform Him of anything past or present, but He knows all and all depends on Him completely. It is not just that He knows particular events from some outside way, but instead He governs every particle and knows their every connection and how its part fits in with the whole. As a clock has many springs and wheels and all work together, so God knows how all things fit together and how all things function. He knows this because He has created all things and in Him all things hold together. Not one event that happens to us or around us has any part of it that is not in His complete control and is part of His plan.

When we see one event happen, whether large or small, if we will take the time and effort (rather, pray that God would give us grace to have insight and the strength to take the time and effort) to meditate on those events, we can behold the hand of God in all things. We tend to think of the providence of God as being focused on us, but instead God is focused on Himself and His own glory. We tend to think of things as good or bad as to whether they make us feel good or bad or whether they are good or bad for our finances. But we must learn to see God in all things and know all things work together for good because He is sovereign over all things and the greatest good is for us to bow in humble submission to His sovereign wisdom.

As we meditate upon the fact that nothing in God’s chain of events can ever be broken regardless of how we feel about it or view it. God is supreme and independent and nothing can go apart from His perfect will in all things. Nothing ever happens apart from the perfect plan of God and so we can neither hurry up the plan of God nor can we slow it down. God’s timing is always perfect in accordance to His divine sovereignty whether it appears slower than we want or perhaps arrives quicker than is comfortable to us. But again, while our hearts may rebel or grumble with the circumstances of life, those circumstances have been ordered from all eternity past and nothing has changed with God and as such each circumstance is perfectly timed for the best. Oh how our hearts chafe when God does not deliver us when we want, yet that is to trust in our own wisdom rather than His. Again, we should seek the Lord to humble our hearts that we may trust Him in all our ways and steps rather than ourselves.

As we think through the issue of the extent and depths of the sovereignty of God, it is quite clear that not many in our day believe in the sovereignty of God to the extent that Emmons did. However, if you meditate upon that you will see that not many in our day believe in the sovereignty of God at all. They think of Him as more of a divine genie who will do what they want and when they want if they can work up enough faith. That is to make God out to be stronger than we are but who is at our service to do as we please. The entire universe was created by God and for God, or in the words of Colossians it was created through Christ and for Christ. The entire universe operates precisely and exactly as God created it and all events come to pass simply because it was His mere pleasure for it to come to pass. This is of great comfort to those who love God. We don’t rest in the winds of luck or fortune, we are in the hands of One who has an infinite love for Jesus Christ and all who are in Christ are love more than they can possibly imagine. Let us bow in worship rather than grumble.

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