Monday, November 6, 2017

The God Who Sustains Us

"She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).

Since God’s care for us extends beyond election into every aspect of our life in Christ, it is appropriate to consider the providence of God. One of Paul’s underlying themes in Romans 8 is God’s overarching care for His children. The word providence comes from two Latin words: pro (before) and video (to see). Thus providence means “see before.” God’s providence is intimately connected with the fact that He sees all the events in time from the beginning, because He is the creator of time and of all events in time.

When I was a child, my grandmother told me to be sure and behave myself, because God was watching me at all times. This made me very nervous. I did not want God to look at me all the time. I wanted God to overlook me and what I was doing, at least some of the time. We are all like that. We have things to hide that we don’t want God or anyone else to find out about.

I think that this fact is one of the main reasons why people find the doctrine of God’s providence unnerving. The Bible tells us that God knows us intimately. He is fully conscious of everything that takes place in world history, and in our own lives. We don’t like this. Like Adam and Eve, we hide from God.

The biblical doctrine of the providence of God starts with the idea that God sees all things, but it does not end there. The God who sees all things is not an absent spectator, but is actively involved in His creation. He is not only the God who sees, but also the God who sustains. In the Old Testament, the Hebrews speak of God as the One who creates all things. The Hebrew word used for God’s creating is barah. This word calls attention to God’s awesome power of calling into being the things that are not. But barah also implies God’s sustaining and upholding all things by His power. It implies that God is with us all the time.

Apart from God’s grace, our tendency is to flee from God’s all-seeing gaze. How futile is that flight! Why not sooner, rather than later, realize that they are benevolent, heavenly eyes. Focus your prayer time today upon thanking God for being the One who knows you best and loves you most.