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1297. The God Who Governs All Things

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
July 19, 2022 7:00 pm

1297. The God Who Governs All Things

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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July 19, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Dan Olinger continues the series entitled “Our Great God.”

The post 1297. The God Who Governs All Things appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform. We are, of course, in a doctrinal series this semester entitled, Our Great God. The first several weeks we were looking at the person of God, who he is, what he's like. And for the last three weeks, or three occurrences of the series, we've been looking at God's work, what he does. Dr. Crockett preached on creation, the God who made everything. And it falls to me providentially to speak on providence, the God who governs all things.

So, let's be clear right from the beginning. God governs all things. Isaiah says this perhaps as directly and clearly as anyone. In Isaiah chapter 46, he quotes the Lord. He is a prophet. He's speaking for God. And God says, I am God and there is none else.

There is none like me. Declaring the end from the very beginning and from ancient times, declaring things that are not yet done. My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure. I have purposed it.

I will also do it. God governs all things. What things? Well, all things. Well, what all things? There are specific passages in scripture that speak of specific things that he governs.

And these are comforting words. He governs nature. Psalm 19, the heavens declare the glory of God.

Let me get my slide and yeah, there we go. The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament shows his handiwork. All of cosmos speaks to us of what he has done and what he is doing. You look around you at a broken world, at a world after the fall, damaged by sin, and it still speaks clearly, as Dr. Crockett noted, of what God is doing. God is strong. God is smart.

God is good. He's given us everything we need for free. Air is free. Water is free. Food is free. It grows right out of the dirt. Everything you really need is free.

Now I pay for my food, but what I'm paying for is for other people to grow it for me and to truck it to me, and at a restaurant I'm paying for other people to cook it for me and bring it to my table, but the food's free. God directs in nature. God directs in our lives, in human lives. He gives life. Isaiah again, chapter 42. Thus saith the Lord, God the Lord, he that created the heavens and stretched them out, he that spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it, he that giveth breath unto the people upon the earth and spirit to them that walk in it. God is the one who gives us life. Dr. Pettit said that I'm the, I forget what term he used exactly, but he was politely saying, I'm the oldest coot on the Bible faculty.

How did I get to be the oldest coot on the Bible faculty? Well, I just kept breathing, and God did that. God preserved me from certain death on that bungee jump. Six months after I went off that platform, a woman from New Zealand did, and the cord broke, and she went into the Zambezi, into class 10 rapids with 500 pounds of rubber band tied to her feet, and she survived. I would not have. I'm serious.

I'm serious. God gives life. God decides when it begins and when it ends, and you and I can trust him for that decision. God directs life.

Psalm 139, I've got just the first paragraph of it up here. You know my down sitting and mine uprising. You understand my thoughts. You understand my ways.

You know my words. You direct my life. I don't have time to tell you how I arrived on the Bible faculty. Some people think it was a miracle.

Theologically, I would say technically it was providence, not a miracle. But at the perfect time, God aroused in me a sense of dissatisfaction with my stewardship of my training, and I began to think a thought I had never thought before, and that was maybe he wants me to leave. Maybe he wants me to go somewhere else to serve him.

I couldn't imagine doing that. And so I decided one day that I was going to call an older man that I respected highly, Ken Hay. We attended the same church at the time, and I was going to ask him to go to lunch because he left the university once, and everybody was happy, and it was all good, and I was going to talk to him about that. And the day before I was going to call him, I walked into the dining common and Dr. Bob Bell of the seminary stopped me and said, hey, we need another faculty member.

Are you interested? I told Doc Hay about that later. He said, I hate to miss out on a free lunch. God directs. He's going to do a lot of directing for you down the road, and you can trust that. He directs the circumstances of life. What else does he govern? He governs the nations.

Daniel says he takes kings down and he sets them up. He raised up Assyria against Israel. He raised up Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon against Judah.

He raised up Cyrus in Persia to send Judah back home again. He has raised up our government. Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative, competent and incompetent, God has given us those who rule over us, and we should pray for them, and we should thank God for his wisdom and his aims in giving us the leaders he has given us. What else does God govern?

Well, he governs everything. Paul says, by him that is the son, Christ. By him, all things consist. This is a really interesting statement to me.

This word consist means hold together, hold together. Now, I read a lot of critical authors who like to say that the Bible is full of scientific inaccuracies, and that these poor benighted people in the first century, or the 15th century BC, didn't have our scientific understanding, and so they wrote a lot of just really unscientific things. Paul writes, by him all things hold together.

Now, if you were living in the first century with Paul, what direction would you think things naturally go? When a house wears out, what direction does it go? It falls down, right? When things outlive their strength, they fall down. He doesn't say, by him all things are held up. He says, by him all things are held together. Now, I doubt very seriously that Paul was talking about the strong nuclear force when he wrote that. But in fact, we learn that in the nucleus of atoms, there are positively charged particles, and like charges are supposed to repel, and all those protons don't repel. Something's holding them together, and the physicists call that the strong nuclear force. Paul had no way of knowing that what things ought to be doing is not falling down.

What they ought to be doing is flying apart. He was ahead of his time, I wonder. Christ holds everything together, your life, my life, the world, the cosmos.

He's got this. What does it look like when God governs? Well, he preserves what he's created. He promised after the flaunt, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease. And we have seen days and nights every 24 hours ever since. Nehemiah says in his great prayer in chapter nine, you, God, have made heaven and earth and the seas, and you preserve them all. And despite all that we have done to damage this planet, it still runs. It's an astonishing system. He provides for his creation. Psalm 104 is a meditation on that.

He feeds all the animals, and that means all of these complex biomes with food chains, with alpha predators. I've been up close to lions in the Serengeti in Tanzania in Africa. Real close, I mean real close. You know what they do when you get real close to them? They ignore you.

Why? Because they're not afraid of anybody. They have no predators. And you're not a predator either.

They can be your predator if they want to. We were sitting in a vehicle, a safari vehicle, and a lion and one of his wives were walking around the vehicle and rubbing up against it, marking it, you know. And our driver, an experienced guy named Vincent, I think the world of him, said, if you want to die, get out of the car.

Nobody got out of the car. God orchestrates all of that, and species after species live. He directs natural events. He stops the rain in Israel for three years at the word of a prophet, and then he starts it up again. He sends plagues to Egypt to humiliate and invalidate all the Egyptian gods. He directs world events, the rise and fall of empires, the location of all the people groups of the earth, and all of their interactions. He directs personal events. The psalmist says, promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south, but God is the judge, and he putteth down one and setteth up another. He directs the little tiny details, the sparrow that falls, the lilies of the field, the hairs on your head, the hairs on my head.

All of that he governs. So, Joseph is sold into Egypt because of his brother's jealousy and hatred, and because of his honesty, he ends up in prison right down the cell block from Pharaoh's butler. Ruth, a Moabitess living in a foreign village, goes to the community fields and says, I guess I'll glean over there.

And that portion of the field belongs to a man named Boaz, who is one of two kinsmen redeemers of her mother-in-law, Naomi. Esther's people are imperiled by the hatred of a powerful government official, and one night, the king can't sleep. And he sends his servant into the archive warehouse to get a copy of the congressional record. That'll put him to sleep. And the servant rubs the sleep out of his eyes and walks into the warehouse and picks a clay tablet.

Stupid king. And he goes back and he starts reading about a man named Mordecai. Caesar Augustus decides he needs more money for his military and his building projects, and so he orders that all the empire will be counted.

A census will be taken for purposes of taxation. And because of that, there's a carpenter from a backwater village called Nazareth who has, at great inconvenience, to return to the village of his ancestors, Bethlehem, where his betrothed, who is great with child, will reach the time of delivery. And in the fullness of time, Messiah is born exactly where the prophet had said. God governs all things, all of it. Now, let's think about something, okay? I don't know if you see him, but there's an elephant in this room.

So let's talk about the elephant. If God's directing everything, then are we just puppets? Are we just robots? Are we really making any of our own decisions?

Is this all kabuki theater? Well, the scripture clearly says that we make choices. It calls on us to make choices, and it holds us accountable for those choices. Our choices are real choices. Well, how does that work?

If God directs and governs all things, how are our choices real choices? Well, that's a conundrum. That's perplexing. And some of you think you understand it.

Let me tell you, there's something you haven't thought of, okay? You don't understand it. But if it's perplexing, how can it be true?

Let me suggest something to you. I'd like to suggest that these perplexities are not a bug. They're a feature.

Let me explain what I mean by that. The way the agnostics and the atheists tell the story, a long time ago, a bunch of people wanted to come up with a way to explain a world that was really confusing and mysterious because they were prescientific. And so they invented stories about gods. And the Greeks and the Romans invented their stories and the Aztecs invented their stories. It is human nature to try and explain what you don't understand because the scientists haven't gotten there yet.

To explain those things as supernatural events and, you know, it's all gods. Well, let's suppose that's true. And let's suppose that this god is somebody that we invented, or more correctly, that people at 1500 B.C. or, as the skeptics say, 600 B.C.

invented. Let's suppose that's what happened. Would we have invented a god that puzzled us? Would we? Would we invent a god who even occasionally embarrasses us in front of our friends?

Well, I can't really explain that. We'd invent a god who explained things. That's the reason the skeptics say we invented him.

To explain stuff. This one puzzles us. Now suppose that there really is an infinite god.

By definition, infinite. And suppose that our brains are not infinite. I realize that more and more every day. These perplexities are exactly what we'd expect. Our perplexity has explanatory power for the biblical god. We didn't invent him. And the fact that sometimes God steps over the horizon of my understanding should encourage me that he's the real deal.

That I didn't make him up. There is a god in heaven. He has all authority and all power and he governs all things for the good of his creatures. And most especially for the good of his people.

If you, by faith, are his child, then he is directing everything small and great toward your growth, your good, and his glory. Now, you're looking down the path of your life and there's a long road ahead. Now, we assume for you there's a long road ahead. I have had students who died within days of graduation.

I have had students who died before they graduated. But we assume there's a long road. And you may be concerned about any number of things that might be on that road. Do I know enough? Do I have the skills?

Am I strong enough physically and emotionally? Will there be trials? Will there be sorrow?

Will there be pain? God is directing all the affairs of your life. And you can trust him in the sorrow and the pain and the trials and the fears. You can trust him to work for your good and to bring you out at the right place. I'm the oldest Bible faculty member.

I'm 40 years down the road from you. Let me say to you what I heard a dear saint of God say many years ago to a group of women she was addressing. She said, Come on, it'll be fine. Our God reigns. Walk in his light. Let's pray. Father, we confess that we don't understand. We don't understand how you can govern all things.

We don't understand why you do some of the things you do. But we do know that you are alive, that you are almighty, and that you are good, and that you ask us to trust you, to place our little hands in your hands, and to follow you down the road that lies ahead. May each one of us follow you with confidence, even in times when we don't understand. We ask this in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by BJU School of Religion professor, Dr. Dan Olinger. I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University, and I invite you to join us at our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, to see how you can be prepared academically and spiritually to serve the Lord through one of our more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.

For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bju.edu or call 800-252-6363. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow for the conclusion of the series titled Our Great God here on The Daily Platform. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-22 01:49:59 / 2023-03-22 01:57:43 / 8

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