Thursday, October 4, 2018

Providence or Chance?

Keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the LORD has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us and that it happened to us by chance” (1 Samuel 6:9).

Once when Israel was at war with the Philistines, they took the ark of the covenant into the field of battle with them. They went with a carnal and unsubmissive spirit, believing the ark would magically deliver them from defeat. God, however, allowed Israel to be smitten and permitted His throne, the ark, to be taken into captivity.

While in captivity, the ark made war on the Philistines. First, the Philistine priests put the ark into the temple of their god, Dagon, as a sign that the Lord had been subjugated under Dagon. When they came to the temple the next day, however, they discovered the statue of Dagon prostrate before the ark. They propped Dagon back up, but the next morning found Dagon broken into pieces.

Meanwhile, God brought plagues of mice and tumors. After seven months, the Philistines had had enough. They decided to send the ark back to Israel but wanted to see if the ark was truly God’s throne. They put it on a cart and attached two cows that had just calved and had never been yoked. They expected the cows to buck and try to throw off the yoke, and they figured the cows would go nowhere because of their calves. If, however, the cows made a beeline to Israel, then it would be proof that the ark was under God’s superintendence. On the other hand, if the cows did nothing, it would be proof that the plagues had happened by chance.

These men were in essence atheists because they believed in chance. The word chance is used in mathematics to describe probabilities. There is, however, no such thing as chance. It is meaningless to talk about chance causing anything. Because chance has no being, it causes nothing. When men reject God, they invent meaningless words to describe the ultimate causation of the universe, because deep in their hearts they are afraid to face up to the One who really caused it.

How much has the language of chance infiltrated your thinking and vocabulary? How often do you hear others (or even yourself) say something “just happened” or was “by chance” or “by fate”? Begin to consciously change such language in yourself and challenge it in others.