Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

God's Care


God’s General Providence

God created the entire universe by miracle (Psalm 33:6,9), and then set in motion a series of laws and systems by which it would perpetuate itself (Genesis 1:11; Ecclesiastes 1:7). Yet even in these physical systems, the Scriptures make it clear that the hand of God is found in providing for even our earthly necessities:

  • “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man” (Psalm 104:14)
  • “He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons” (Acts 14:17).

God is likewise viewed as the provider for the entire animal creation. “In the next place we see that Scripture emphasizes God’s personal concern for the animals which He created. Job 39 pictures God as a kind of universal Shepherd who attends to the needs of mountain goats, deer, wild donkeys and oxen, ostriches, horses, hawks, and eagles” (God The Ruler, Jack Cottrell, p. 95).

  • “He sends forth springs in the valleys; they flow between the mountains; they give drink to every beast of the field… The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His work… The trees of the Lord drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted… The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God” (Psalm 104:10,13,16,21).
  • “The eyes of all look to Thee, and Thou dost give them their food in due time. Thou dost open Thy hand, and dost satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15-16).
  • “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them” (Luke 12:24).

Even more fundamental than all of this, God is pictured as holding the entire universe together:

  • “And upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3).
  • “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
  • “For He causes His sun to rise” (Matthew 5:45).

“In Him the atomic particles adhere around their nuclei. In Him the atoms cling together in their proper molecules. In Him the molecules mesh into the elements. In Him the various combinations of elements form individual substances and bodies. In Him the gravitational pull of the Earth causes us to stick to its surface. In Him the planets revolve still around the Sun. In Him the galaxy maintains its identity as a wad of stars hurtling through space” (Cottrell p. 91). Notice the “all things” of both Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17. Of course this includes all things not only material, but spiritual which He has created. All beings, whether small, large, earthly or supernatural, “stay in existence by the constant operation of the preserving power of God” (p. 92).

“God has a complete and detailed knowledge of all the phenomena of nature, large and small. The same God who tends the galaxies (Job38:31-32) and counts and names the stars (Psalm 147:4) also knows the very number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30). He who counts the clouds (Job 38:37) also monitors the pregnancy of wild animals and watches over the birth of their offspring (Job 39:1-3)… There seems to be a relationship of real intimacy between the Creator and His creation. We get the impression that God loves the world of nature and cares for it with a tenderness and concern” (Cottrell p. 99). “Another apt statement says, ‘He is God of the small. He is God of the mite, the morsel, the mote and the molecule; He is God of the particle and the pittance. To Him insignificant is significant, and there are no secrets” (Ruth Glover, ‘Lilliputian or Leviathan’, Christian Standard (June 10, 1984), 119:15). Thus, Jesus would say, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (John 5:17).

God’s Special Providence

If this were not enough, God also works through natural laws, well-timed events, and human freewill to bring about things for His people too:

  • “And my God shall supply all your needs” (Philippians 4:19).
  • “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
  • “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:32).
  • “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those who heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
  • “For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O Lord, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12)
  • “And the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way” (Ezra 8:31).

In this area, we must always be humble. Concerning the runaway slave Onesimus and his running into Paul in Rome and subsequent conversion, Paul would say, “For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for a while, that you should have him back forever” (Philemon 15). Today there are many events in our past that we could likewise say, “Perhaps….”

  • Our upbringing by godly parents
  • The circumstances surrounding our hearing the gospel
  • How we met our future mate and how we avoided someone else
  • The circumstances that led us to teach someone else the gospel
  • The circumstances that result in us meeting up with former members who are now unfaithful
  • Losing jobs or finding jobs
  • People that we have been assigned to work with in a company
  • Various trips that we took and how things turned out or who we met in the process
  • The timing of someone’s death, either of the faithful or the unfaithful

My question now is, how should we respond to God’s gracious and tender care and the fact that He has providentially brought about so many good things in our short lives? One writer noted that a failure to respond thankfully and obediently to providence is a warning sign of a dead soul (Cottrell p. 353).


“Thanksgiving is not just dutiful enumeration of our blessings and an acknowledgment that they have come from God. It involves genuine feelings of gratitude, a real joy and happiness that have been kindled within us by God’s blessings. Thus when we express our heartfelt gratitude to God, we are telling Him how we feel about Him and His gifts. We are in a sense describing ourselves to God, telling Him of the joy we have experienced – all as the result of His providential care” (Cottrell p. 354). The list of our blessings is an endless list that probably includes such things as our health, modern medicines, good friends, the opportunity to obey the gospel… yet it does us good to go over a portion of this list often in our prayers, “Always thankful for all things” (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). This list will even include trials or other things that we may have formerly thought to be curses (James 1:2-4).


“Whereas thanksgiving expresses our legitimate feelings of gratitude, the latter calls attention to God’s own greatness”(Cottrell p. 356). This would include praising God for the works that He brought about in centuries past, but similarly it would include praising God for the things that He continues to do in our own time, including providing for all creation (Psalm 104:20-24), forgiving our sins and taking good care of us (Hebrews 13:4ff).

Honest Questions

It is appropriate to ask God “why” and bring to Him all our worries, concerns, questions and cares (1 Peter 5:7). We find this type of honest questioning in the book of Habakkuk (1:2-4). “What is most important is to see that the prayer of complaint and questioning is never the final response to providence for the believer. It is fleeting and momentary, yielding to the dominant expressions of trust and submission” (Cottrell p. 359).


“In the face of God’s absolute wisdom, goodness, and power, what else can we do but express our willingness to accept whatever His providence sends or allows to come our way? This is not just a passive resignation… it is a confident trust in the one who sovereignly rules over all” (Cottrell p. 359) (Matthew 26:39; Psalm 22:3-5; Habakkuk 3:17-19) . We learn then, that submission has never been a blind obedience, rather it is the only choice left after one has reflected upon the nature of God and His care of us.