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My Times Are in Your Hands (Part 2 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
December 14, 2020 3:00 am

My Times Are in Your Hands (Part 2 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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December 14, 2020 3:00 am

Are you resting in the assurance that God is in control of your life? It’s only possible when we trust that our times are in His hands. Join us as we learn how to anchor ourselves in the truth of God’s providence, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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Do you have a confidence that your times are in good God's hands?

If so, there's a reason for us to be thankful. We know that whatever my times are in your hands. Now, you see, it is this truth which will bring equilibrium to us in the span of events which would inflate our ego or crush our souls. And there are nine things that I would like to tell you which emerge from this simple statement.

The first truth is this. Since my times are in your hands, number one, I am not trapped in the grip of blind forces. I am not stymied, if you like, by fate.

Secondly, I am not tossed about on the ocean of chance. This brings us to the other character in Acts 17. His name was Epicurus, from which we get Epicurean.

He lived between 341 and 270 BC. He passed on a system of ethics, which has come right down to the twentieth century. For Epicurus, the good was what life was all about. And the good could be determined by what brings most pleasure. Therefore, you spend all of your life trying to achieve the good, and the way you achieved the good was by getting as much pleasure as you possibly could. Now, the fact is that Epicurus and his followers never pushed it to its logical conclusion.

They didn't have to, because there were going to come people after them who would do that for them. For example, what you have in Sartre's philosophy—which all of you, when you went to school, took as part of the foundational courses of philosophy if you lived at a certain era—Sartre says, Okay, I'll take that, and I'll push it to its logical conclusion. And he writes his first novel called Nausea, and he puts in the lips of one of his key characters, Roquonton, the expression of the ultimate futility, which is at the flipside of the statement of faith, My times are in your hands.

Roquonton is pictured walking in the city park, and he is overcome by the nausea of the meaninglessness of life. And as he looks around, he concludes, quote, Every existent is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance. Now, that is contemporary existentialism. At the grassroots level, where do you get it?

Everywhere. For example, Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society, gathers all the guys out in the corridor of the boarding school and shows them all the pictures of the fellows that went before them, and where we have a display of their success in life. And he shows these young boys—he says, Now, look, this fellow was here, and look what he did, and he achieved, and he achieved. And he says, Now, here's the thing, fellows, carpe diem! Seize the day! You must do your best in the moment that you have.

Now, in one sense, that is a very fine piece of advice, because we need to make use of the time that we have, because the time that we have is the time that we have. But the underlying notion in it is that there was no yesterday, and there will be no tomorrow. What he is actually doing is propounding the empty philosophy of Nietzsche, who declared, There remains only void. Man is falling. His dignity is gone. His values are lost.

There is no difference between up and down. It has become chilly, and the dark night is closing in. Don't you get that sense? I get it at different places.

I get it in springtime in Coventry, outside the Arabica coffee shop, when it's seventy-four degrees, and a ton of really interesting young folks are sitting on the wall. And despite the springtime sun on their shoulders, I know that they would be prepared to say, It has become chilly, and the dark night is closing in. Because, you see, they're living without hope and without God in the world. They cannot say, My times are in your hands.

Because they believe their destiny to be in their own control. So what does the Christian say? If they say, My times are in your hands means that I am not trapped by blind fate, that I am not tossed around on the sea of chance, what is it? It is this. I am being trained in the school of God's providence.

I'm being trained in the school of God's providence. While men and women are smothered by the pessimism that we've just described, and others embrace the kind of superficial optimism of hedonism—characterized by the guy who fell out the thirty-story window, and as he hurtled down past the tenth floor, somebody heard him shouting, So far, so good! And there are many people whose lives are just like that. They don't want to know that we're going to hit the ground. They don't want to know there's only nine floors left. They don't want to hear anything about that.

All they want to know is, they are free-falling, they haven't hit the ground yet, and leave me alone. The psalmist says, No, we can't simply go to that. The Christian affirms the truth that God has not abandoned the world that he created as deism. Nor has he become absorbed by his creation as pantheism.

But rather, he is distinct from what he has made, and he is working everything in relationship to his creation out according to his plan. Oh, you'll be interested to know. I got a globe, so you can relax. I know many of you were planning on buying me one, and you haven't on order.

Cancel the order. But I got the globe. Actually, I got three globes. I got an air-filled globe that I can kick around the office. I got a beautiful paperweight globe that I can lay on my desk. And I got the mother of all globes from my wife, which I will show to people on rare occasions. But I've had the privilege now—for the first time in my life, I've been able to spin the globe and have, right there at my fingertips, the whole world, as it were, and the vastness of it all. And as I sat the other evening, and I spun this thing in my hands, I said, Men, this is actually what God does. He actually moves this thing for us. That's why we don't live in the ice age.

That's why we haven't been burned up. Because we're in the exact spot, according to his divine plan. And that by the same power with which he created this universe in which we live, by his same divine energy, he preserves all of his creatures, he operates in all that comes to pass in the world, and he directs everything to its appointed end.

Did you get that? The God who created the world by his same divine energy, preserves all of his creatures, is operative in everything that comes to pass in the world, and he directs all of the events of life according to his appointed end. And that appointed end, says Paul in writing to the Ephesians, is to bring everything into conformity with the purpose of his will. And in writing to the Romans, he makes it clear that his purpose is to conform people to the image of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that as bizarre as it seems, the sovereign Creator of the ends of the earth fashions everything that happens in time and in history to this eventuality, that he will redeem for himself a people who are his very own, and he will use the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives in order to conform us to the image of his Son and to enable us to say, I'm not like a cork on the sea of life, I'm not trapped in the cage of fate, but rather, my times are in your hands. That is an expression of belief, and that is an expression of faith.

Psalm 139 probably gives it to us as clear and as well as any psalm to which we might turn. O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know, when I sit down and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You see me when I drive my car, you know me when I'm lying in my bed. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely. You hem me in behind and before. You say, Well, this is all sort of generic stuff. Does it stretch to the specific?

You bet your life it does. Look at verse 13. For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Are you talking about dignity? Do you think it's really dignified to be told that you are the product of some chance explosion in a slimy pond somewhere, where DNA introduced itself to DNA, and you emerged out of a little pfft to become what you are today? No wonder people are going around half dead. This doesn't make any sense at all.

It doesn't make any sense at all. The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Behind a façade of wisdom, people have become fools who would worship creatures and created things and stuff that you put on dressers rather than bow down and say, You know what? My times are in your hands. I can't even breathe unless you allow me.

I cannot get enough of the juice in my eyes to keep them opening and closing as they need to. What a proud, arrogant, rascal is man, as we stand and thumb our noses at the Creator who holds our very breath in his hand! You made me in my mother's womb. You determined my all-positive blood. You determined my DNA. You knew whether I would have hair or no hair. You knew what color it would be. You knew my eyes would be blue. You knew it all. And indeed, not only did you know it, but you planned it.

Now, loved ones, this sounds so bizarre, doesn't it? A hundred years ago, men and women by and large took it for granted. But we have lived in a hundred years of the diminishing of God and the elevation of man.

And so we find ourselves trapped in cages and floating in boats with no compass and no oars and no nothing. And all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. That is not fate. That is, my Father, who loves me with an everlasting love, has determined the span of my life, and I trust him. I am not stuck with an impersonal force.

Now, you see, loved ones, this is the basis of great comfort. You might as well believe there is no God, as believe what people believe. They tell me, you know, well, I believe there is a God, but I don't believe he sees, I don't believe he hears, I don't believe he cares, and I don't believe he acts in human affairs. Well, what do you even believe in a God for? What does he do?

If he's on vacation for all of that, what does he do when he works? Well, I want you to know, I do believe that God sees, and I do believe that God hears, and I do believe that God knows, and I do believe that God cares, because he wrote this whole book to make that absolutely clear. And furthermore, he stepped down onto the globe from the glory of heaven, and he revealed himself in the person of the incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God with us. And Jesus, in affirming the same truth, in the crowd that has gathered around him, says to them with simplicity and with power on one occasion—let me ask you a question, he says, Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?

They must have looked at one another and said, Yes. And says Jesus, Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father? Sparrows do not fall dead into the metroparks except for the unfolding of the will of the Creator of the ends of the earth, who knows the end from the beginning and knows every detail of our lives.

Then he applies it. And even, he says, the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don't be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. I don't know what your resume's like.

Mine is not that great. But here's something you can write on it if you've been stuck for stuff. You could put this on.

I went here, I went there, I did this, I did that, and by the way, I am worth more than many sparrows. Someone may like to try that. I'd like to see what happens.

I'd try it myself, but I don't have a reason to give anyone a resume. I hope. But can you imagine the guy reading down? You know, you're at Glaxo Welcome or something, because you want to get involved in biochemistry? And he goes through your thing, Case Western Reserve, uh-huh. He asks, I am worth more than many sparrows. Would you like to tell me about that? I'd love to tell you about that. Do you know what it means?

What? It means I'm not trapped in a cage marked fate. It means I'm not adrift on a boat marked chance. It means I'm being trained in the school of God's providence.

It means, in short, that my times are in his hands. See, this is how you can go to sleep at night. This is how you can get up in the morning.

This is how we must live, presumably, in light of the fact that any one of us may fall foul of anything at any moment in time. In Scotland, we used to sing the hymn, which I would use as a closing hymn if we knew how to sing it, but we don't. But I'll come back to the other six points next time. This is what we used to sing. My times are in your hand.

My God, I wish them there. My life, my friends, my soul, I leave entirely to your care. My times are in your hand, whatever they may be, pleasing or painful, dark or bright, as best may seem to thee. My times are in your hand. Why should I doubt or fear?

My father's hand will never cause his child a needless tear. It all sounds so trendy. It all sounds so cool.

All the Gaia stuff. It is total, abject hopelessness. It's a train going nowhere. It's a boat with a hole in it.

It's an airplane with no engines. It's a life without purpose. Is that where you want to live, unbeliever? You want to jam me in a corner and make me explain to you why I'm so stupid as to believe what I believe? I beg your pardon.

I beg your pardon. The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. But as for me, my times are in your hands. We find comfort and security in what the Bible teaches us about the providence of God. That's today's message on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg.

Alistair will be back in just a minute to close with prayer, so please keep listening. We are not adrift on the sea of chance. Our times are in God's hands.

We trust this reality because we study our Bibles. For us, it's a privilege to share these eternal truths each day on Truth for Life. In fact, this program happens because others who have grown in their understanding of Scripture wanted you to benefit in the same way they've benefited. Truth for Life is 100% listener funded. When you give, you bring Alistair's teaching to listeners all across the United States and around the world every day without cost being a barrier. So if you've been benefiting from the clear biblical teaching you hear on Truth for Life, would you help us meet our remaining year-end obligations? While the teaching of Truth for Life is free to access, it's not free to produce. This is an important time for us at Truth for Life as we pray to end the year fully funded and to enter 2021 with the resources we need to be able to move forward.

So would you please give today? When you do, we want to invite you to request a copy of a book that reflects on 365 of God's promises. This book was originally written in the 19th century by Pastor Charles Spurgeon. The book is titled The Check Book of the Bank of Faith and the title comes from the analogy that Spurgeon uses that God's promises are like checks from the bank.

They're given to us in the present but they guarantee fulfillment in the future. One of the unique features of this little book is its design. It's checkbook sized, leather bound, fits right into your purse or your pocket. This compact devotional will be a great encouragement to you throughout the year. Tomorrow is the last day this book will be available so be sure to request Check Book of the Bank of Faith when you donate to Truth for Life today. Simply tap the image on the mobile app or if you're online at our website truthforlife.org click the image you see there. You can also order by calling 888-588-7884 and if you'd prefer you can mail your donation along with your request for the book.

Write to Truth for Life at post office box 398000 Cleveland Ohio 44139. Now as Christmas is quickly approaching we want to invite you to a special event titled A Parkside Christmas. This is an online musical concert that Alistair will host this Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Alistair has invited several well-known Christian recording artists to perform. He'll also share a Christmas meditation.

Visit truthforlife.org slash concert to find out how you can watch A Parkside Christmas. Now here's Alistair to close with prayer. God, you know our hearts, and you know our minds, you know our words. Some of us have come to worship this morning. We're here just because someone brought us along.

We thought we got jammed, we got caged in, or that we bounced in by chance. We're beginning to rethink that. Seems possible that we're here by divine appointment, to think the issues out, to realign our coming and going, to admit our need of you, to believe in your Son, to cry to you for mercy, to set the compass of our lives according to the truth of your Word. Hear the cries of our hearts. And now, Father, in light of our joys and sorrows, our hopes and our fears, we come afresh to you. May your grace be our portion today. May your love fill our hearts and flow from our lives. May your peace guard and keep our hearts and minds today and forevermore. Amen. I'm Bob Lapeen. Join us again tomorrow as we learn about what it means to rest in God's sovereignty as we continue our series called My Times Are in Your Hands. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 07:41:16 / 2024-01-15 07:49:21 / 8

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