Meditations on God 10

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.

In thinking through the glory of God as set out by Scripture and Emmons, we can only touch the hem of His garment. It is God who is in utter control and His plans will most certainly come to pass regardless of how many men oppose Him. When men oppose Him the most, despite the appearances of it all, they are still being used by Him to carry out His perfect plan and purposes. The Scriptures tell us that God works all things after the counsel of His will, so we must come to grips with this and admire and worship. This is not to say that God works evil into the hearts of men and forces them to do it, but it does tell us that sin is not greater than God and He is so glorious and sovereign that He uses those things for His glory as well.

How can it be that God’s providence directed toward one person can “sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more”? We can find many, many instances of that in Scripture. We can think of how God would move on one king and that had a great influence on many in terms of war and of famine. We can think of how God would move one woman who would seek the Lord and He would give her a son that He would raise up to have a great influence on many. We can think of lowly people and so-called great people that God would use to have great affects on many people. It almost seems as if Scripture is set out that way.

Think of the great effects Adam had on the whole human race by being the head of the human race and then falling into sin. We know what effects Noah had on the whole human race through his drunkenness and then his three children, one of whom he pronounced a curse upon. On the other hand, what a profound effect Noah had on the human race by building the Ark and then through him the whole human race came. We think of Jonah and how God brought him through the mouth of a large fish and used his preaching to turn hundreds of thousands of people to repentance.

Joseph was used by God to feed virtually the entire earth (known at the time) by sovereignly putting him in a position and then giving him wisdom. In doing that God used him to make Egypt a great power and save the lives of thousands upon thousands of people, but also to bring the Israelites to Egypt and so they needed Moses to bring them out. In that we have a picture of the Gospel. One solitary human soul can be used of God to have a great influence on thousands and millions of people and He does not do it because the men are great, but because He is great.

We should think of the apostle Paul and how God used him to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the known world. How many churches were the results of his labors? No one knows for sure, but they were all over the known world. Did all of those people hear of Christ because Paul was so great? No, people heard of Christ because God was great and He worked in Paul that they would hear and come to Christ. Not one person came to hear Paul preach but what God brought to hear Paul. Not one person understood what Paul was preaching about other than those that God gave them understanding. Not one person threw rocks at Paul other than those that God had ordained would do so. Not one wave crashed against the ships Paul rode in but those that God had ordained to do so. We must read the Scriptures with reverence and awe as we seek to see the hand of God in all things. After all, His hand is really there and it is working. We are either being blinded or we are being given light.

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