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The Complete Providence of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
January 11, 2022 7:00 am

The Complete Providence of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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January 11, 2022 7:00 am

Part of the human condition is wondering, why do the things that happen, happen? Dr. Tony Evans says that the Bible settles that question with a concept called providence."

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If you are living in concert with God's will, then you need to know that as bad as it is, he's with you. Dr. Tony Evans says no matter how trapped and isolated we feel from God, he always has a way for us to meet back up with him. God is so good, he never leaves himself with one way to arrive at his destination. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. Where we find ourselves in life may seem like the result of random or even evil elements at work, but today Dr. Evans will give us a look at how God not only sees the complete picture, but also always has a plan ready for our good, regardless of how dire things may appear.

Let's join him as he explains. God often allows life to devolve, life to unravel, for the greater accomplishment of his glory and our good. It's hard to see, however, when you're in the middle of it, because all you see is what you see, and what you see you don't want to see. And we've looked at numbers of people in the Bible where they were struggling. Job, his whole life unraveled before him. His wife said, curse God and die.

In other words, hurry up and get over with. Curse God, he'll kill you. So the Bible is full of scenarios of people whose lives were unraveling. Job says in Job 23, I looked up there, I couldn't find you, I looked south, east, west, I looked everywhere, and you were nowhere to be found. And there's probably not a person in here who hasn't thought that or felt that, even if you were too scared to say that. That God was not anywhere close. One of the things I want to remind you of, I want to remind us of, is when God is silent, he is not still. He may be very silent. He is not still. He's not doing nothing in his apparent absence.

I brought up our good friend Joseph, who I want to bring up today again. Here is a young man who at 17 years of age, approximately, saw his life unravel. And for the next 13 or 14 years, his life would keep going south. And just when he thought he was about to get a break, something else would go wrong. You ever been there? On the verge of a break, and you think it's a breakthrough, and it turns out to be a breakdown. Dysfunctional family, that's where he was born. Siblings want to kill you.

That's not the place you want to live. Sold into slavery. He finally looks like he gets a break. He gets a good job.

He's a slave, but he's the number one slave, and Potiphar likes him, and so does sister Potiphar. And he's accused, illegitimately, of rape. Just when he thought he was going to catch a break, his life unravels. And now he's thrown in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Then he's forgotten in jail. Just when he thought he was going to get a break, one of the guys was released. He said, Remember me to the king? The guy forgets him. And so he's got to spend a few years in prison for a crime he never committed.

That ain't right. But the phrase you don't want to miss when you read in the book of Genesis, when you read the life of Joseph, is that the Lord was with Joseph. So if you are committed to the Lord, and it's going south, the Lord is with you. If you are committed to the Lord and life is unraveling, it's going south, you can't catch a break, the Lord is with you. Finally, he is remembered. He interprets the king's dream, seven years of famine, seven years of good years, the good years, prepare for the bad years. And he now goes from what I call the outhouse to the White House.

He now is made second in charge in Egypt overnight. Number of times in the Bible, you'll find that word suddenly. And that is a reference to when God comes out of nowhere and turns your situation around. When he just shows up, shows out, and it happens suddenly. When he turns something on a dime, when he comes from nowhere and your whole world is turned upside down. He's gone about 13 or 14 years in this up and down life and all of a sudden out of nowhere, apparently, from the human point of view. His life is turned upside down.

He's now the second in charge. Everybody's got to come through him to eat, including his brothers who sold him into slavery. He was born in a dysfunctional family, had a bad life, has a prison record, even though unjustly, and the Lord was with him. Now, why did I want to rehearse that? I want to rehearse that because of these verses I want to read to you. You know them well, but I want to read them to you again because they really do answer, God, why are you killing me? Chapter 50, verse 15. When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, what if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him? So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, Your father charged before he died, saying, Thus you shall say to Joseph, Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong. And now please forgive the transgression, the servants of the God of your fathers, and Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, Behold, we are your servants. But Joseph said to them, Do not be afraid, for I am in God's place. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid.

I will provide for you and your little ones. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Now, if many of us were in Joseph's situation, we would have been going, uh-huh, uh-huh, necks would have been rolling, you know, uh-huh.

I got you, I'm sorry, you know. But Joseph makes this profound statement. He says, I am in God's place. I am in the location God brought me to. I am here because God brought me here. I said on a number of occasions, the most important doctrine, the second most important doctrine, the first most important doctrine for us is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

That's the most important thing you want to know. But second to that, once you become a Christian, the second most important doctrine is sovereignty. Sovereignty simply means God rules and overrules. Tucked under the definition of sovereignty is the concept of providence. God is sovereign and He is providentially so. Providence has to do with God arranging various things to accomplish a particular goal. Sovereignty means God is in control. Providence is His arranging of that control. And providence is God creating a mixed master in your life. Most cities have mixed masters, and it's where highways converge.

Usually they're downtown, not always, and then they're smaller mixed masters. But it's where highways converge to connect things, to connect different travelers coming in different directions to the central hub of travel and of reconnection. For the believer who loves God and is following God, God has a result He is taking you to, individually and us collectively, a goal. But God is so good at what He does, He never limits Himself to one root, nor does He limit Himself to only using good things to reach His goal. See, Joseph's life is full of bad things, negative things. He couldn't control the fact that he was born into this dysfunctional family.

He didn't have anything to do with that. He couldn't control that his father told him about the coat of many colors. I mean, suppose there was no dream. Suppose there was no coat.

Suppose there was no dream. If there was no dream, there was no coat, the brothers wouldn't have gotten mad. If brothers wouldn't have gotten mad, they wouldn't have sold them into slavery.

They wouldn't have sold them into slavery. He wouldn't have wound up in Egypt. If he didn't wind up in Egypt, he wouldn't have been accused of rape. If he wasn't accused of rape, he wouldn't have gone to jail. If he hadn't even gone to jail, then he wouldn't have been available to interpret a dream.

And if he wasn't available to interpret a dream, he's now no longer second in Egypt. For the Christian following the Lord, you can erase some words from your vocabulary, luck, chance, and fate. Luck, chance, and fate. You can erase them from your vocabulary. They are no longer meaningful words for you.

Why? Because you have a sovereign God who functions providentially. He connects things. But depending on where you are on the highway, you may not recognize that you're headed toward a mix master. It may not be apparent you're headed toward a connection because of where you are located in this particular place where you are in your life right now. And right now, it may not be a good place. It may not be the best place.

It may not be the preferred place. But the question on the floor is, to the best of your ability, is it His place? Are you functioning to the best of your ability as much as you know how in accordance with His will?

Because if you're functioning there, even if you're in a bad place, you're on a road headed somewhere, even though you don't quite know when you're going to hit the mix master. Dr. Evans will come back with more on the complete providence of God when he continues this message in a few moments. Stay with us. In a span of less than two years, he lost seven family members, including his precious wife. In the wake of all this pain, Dr. Evans had to put into practice at the deepest levels the truths he has preached about God for more than 40 years. In this practical and comforting new book, Hope for the Hurting, Dr. Evans gives you practical spiritual principles based on the life of Paul. He shows that there is love and happiness on the other side of it all if you will learn how to walk through the hurt with both peace and joy. There is hope for the hurting.

His name is Jesus. Go to TonyEvans.org to find out more and request your copy of Hope for the Hurting. In celebration of the release of this brand new book from Dr. Evans, we'd like to send one of the first copies to you as our gift in return for your donation toward keeping this ministry coming your way each day. And for a limited time, along with Tony's Hope for the Hurting book, we'll also include all 20 messages, 10 on CD and 10 as digital downloads from the new audio compilation you're listening to today called Coming to the Comforter. This collection offers a healthy perspective on the pain and trials we all go through and can help you find the strength you need to hold on during tough times, allowing you to discover the healing and wholeness God has in store for you. Request this special package of resources right away at TonyEvans.org, or you can even get the companion Hope for the Hurting Bible Study DVD and study guide. Again, go to TonyEvans.org for all the details, or let one of our resource team members help you by phone day or night at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, right now, Dr. Evans picks up with Part 2 of today's message. If you go downtown, if you want to go to downtown Dallas, there are numbers of routes to get you there. God is so good, He never leaves Himself with one route. He never leaves Himself with one way to arrive at His destination. Now, you may only know one way, but God is so good that if He don't want you to go that way, He'll create an accident or allow an accident to force you on a detour, which may be the long way around, to get you where He wants you to be. If you are living in concert with God's will, then you need to know this. You need to know that as bad as it is, He's with you.

Now, right now, that's the only encouraging word I can give you, particularly if you're in jail or you're being accused wrongly or you're the result of a dysfunctional family. Well, all that was true of Joseph. All I can tell you is that the Bible says the Lord was with him in a bad situation. The New Testament has a well-known verse that we've all quoted that summarizes this concept, Romans 8.28, all things are working together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. All things are working together. That's His providential, invisible hand turning and twisting and tweaking things.

And they're working together for good. But notice who it's working for to them who love God and are called according to His purpose. So that means you're living in light of His will. His will, His purpose is your focus. Your purpose is His focus. Your good is His goal even though right now you're traveling down a highway called bad. You may be on a bad stretch of road right now, bad stretch of road, and we all have them.

Everybody in the Bible had them. You've heard me talk about it before when it looked hopeless for Esther. You know, she said, if I perish, I perish. You know, I'm going to die. It just so happened though, the king couldn't go to sleep.

I don't know why if you can't sleep and if you got to read a book. I mean, you want a novel, you want something. He goes and says, bring me the registry. The names and addresses of everybody in the kingdom.

I don't know what kind of reading is that. And he's reading through the registry of the people registered in the kingdom and it just so happened. Just so happened. He come across the name of this guy named Mordecai and how Mordecai had saved the nation earlier. He said, Mordecai, that's an interesting guy. I need to find out about him tomorrow when I wake up.

And it just so happened. Mordecai is, of course, Esther's uncle and Mordecai, he finds out about Mordecai. Now Mordecai is praised by the king for what he had done and now Haman has got a problem. Because he's built the gallows to hang Mordecai and every other Jew he can get his hands on. But now the king likes Mordecai. It just so happened that Haman is now in trouble with the king and it's really funny.

It's not funny because the guy got killed. But it's really funny because he's going up to Esther, begging Esther to plead for the king. And he got his hands all over Esther, begging her for mercy. But the king walks in when he touching Esther and the king don't want to hear nothing about begging about nothing. The king say, now on top of this, you're going to be messing with my wife.

You know I'm sure enough going to kill you now. And the Bible says, and he got hung on the very gallows that he had built for his enemy. God is, in his providence, can orchestrate things in such a way that what appeared to be going left was really going exactly where God wanted it to wind up. So could it be that the thing you're running from most that God keeps blocking? Could it be that the thing that you're trying to escape most that he won't let you out of in any legitimate form is because he's taking you somewhere and this piece is a necessary piece to where he's taking you? I mean, could it be? I mean, I'm just saying. You have to believe that you have a sovereign God who has providential oversight.

And let me close by telling you one other great benefit. His brothers were terrified because he thought now Joseph's in the big seat and Joseph is going to do us in because of what we did to him. They are terrified.

You know what he said? Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid because you meant it for evil. I know you were trying to hurt me, but God decided to take your evil and make it his good. To bring me to this place, watch this, to take care of y'all and your children.

Here it is. Sovereignty mixed with providence gives you the power to forgive. See, forgiveness is hard because you did me wrong. But now when I discover you did me wrong because God wanted to use your wrong to bring good to me, that changes how I look at your wrong. Now, your wrong was still wrong. It's still wrong, but I can look at it differently and I don't have to carry it because God was using your wrong to help me.

So it changes how I look at you. It gives me the ability to forgive if God was using your wrong to help me get right to where I was supposed to be. Dr. Evans will come back in just a moment with a challenge for us as he wraps up today's message on the complete providence of God. Now, if you'd like to get a full-length copy of this message, including material we didn't have time to present on the air, it's included as a part of that comprehensive 20-part series I mentioned earlier, Coming to the Comforter, available with 10 on CD and the remaining as digital downloads. The complete collection is yours with our thanks when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's ministry coming to this station and other outlets around the world. And for a limited time, along with the Coming to the Comforter series, we'll also send you Tony's newest book, Hope for the Hurting. As always, the details are waiting for you online at tonyevans.org, where you can browse through our huge library of resources and sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. Be sure to look into getting the companion Hope for the Hurting Bible Study DVD and study guide as well. Again, that's tonyevans.org, or let one of our friendly resource team members assist with your request at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. It's been said kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give. Dr. Evans believes we're in a time when kindness is a gift that our society can't afford not to give. Take the time to show kindness to those you meet every day and, in the name of Jesus, look for opportunities to demonstrate kindness to someone who needs a touch from God.

You'll help make our world a better place when you display the love of God through your act of kindness. Every time we let the devil get the upper hand in our lives, we surrender a little bit of territory that doesn't belong to him. But tomorrow, Dr. Evans will help us see why it's not too late to turn those defeats into victories.

Right now, though, he's back with a closing thought for today's message. So I want you to try something. I want you to tell God, I am willing to submit to the process you're taking me through to get me to my mixed master, whatever that is. Now, things that you can legitimately avoid, things that you can—nobody wants pain, nobody should run after pain, things that you can legitimately deal with, handle, get out of, I mean, that's all fine. I'm talking about where you have to illegitimately do it. I am willing to, because God may just be waiting for that to take you to your next highway. You
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-29 18:53:50 / 2023-06-29 19:02:25 / 9

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