Reading Providence

“But they do not regard the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of His hands.” Isaiah 5:12b

Sometimes God’s own people are illiterate in the language of Providence. This arises first and foremost from an ignorance of God’s word. When we do not heed the Bible, when we do not understand the Scriptures, we lose the capacity to interpret everything else God is doing around us. So it was for the children of Israel in the days of Isaiah. They rebelled against the Lord, and He brought His judgments against them. But being ignorant of His truth as spoken by the prophets, they were utterly blind to His dealings with them in Providence, “they do not regard the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of His hands.” They rejected the WORD of the Lord, so they did “not regard the WORK of the Lord.”

What about you and I? Have we lost our ability to read what God is doing in the world around us and in our own lives? This may quickly happen when we forsake the means that the Lord has given for understanding Providence. Only the Word of God will help us rightly understand the Hand of God. Humble obedience to God’s commands will enable us to rightly respond to God’s ways.

Has He blessed you? A right understanding of this work of the Lord should lead to praise. “I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things (Isaiah 25:1).” Give Him the glory for it in your prayers and in your words. Don’t ignore these large letters of mercy written on the walls of your life. Wherever He has blessed, give thanks! Read His handwriting on the calendar of your days. He is speaking in every kindness shown to our souls. He is communicating through every comfort we enjoy. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17).”

And even in our afflictions there is a language of God we must learn. Is there a need for repentance? Then do so speedily, and thank Him for His merciful chastisement that He inflicted for your good. Christians must read His rod of reproof when it falls upon us. Do not ignore the Lord’s heavy hand, but humble yourself beneath it. Remember that some afflictions are intended solely to test your faith as well. Determine to obey the Lord through these fiery trials and walk fearlessly into the den of lions. Say to the Lord and to the world, “though He slay me, yet will I serve Him.”

Christian – what is the Lord’s hand of Providence saying to you today? Is it calling for songs of praise and thanksgiving? Then sing out, and share with all the world what He has done for you. Is it a humbling Providence of pain and sorrow? Read and respond with faith and perseverance and trust, knowing you can “do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” Do not be illiterate in the language of Providence my friends. Interpret His works by His word, and then respond in faith and love.

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