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September 10, 2021 4:00 am
The God is sovereign, everything does that mean were excused from any personal responsibility. This is true for life today will your part two of a message that began yesterday titled my times are in your hand what's going Alister bag as he studies Exodus chapter 3 are phrases we pick up again today.
My times are in your hands the declaration of the psalmist, not on a particularly joyful and cheery day in his life, but in the experience of clouds and deep darkness and it is this declaration of the providence of God that gives an equilibrium because my times are in God's hands. I'm not trapped in the grip of some blind force.
I am not being tossed around on the notion of chance, but I am actually being trained in the school of God's providence that covers the fought I know we move to the so what.
Let me give you three so Watson if we have time. Couple of now, what's first of all, since this is true. Since God is providentially overruling everything for his glory and for our good. Number one disparity should never be the occasion of prying are you will not have attended as many funerals as I have done over these last 36 or seven years in pastoral ministry and here in America had been staggered to discover that they favorite song that is played either song or in the background for pagan funerals for people who have no knowledge of God out of his grace and goodness they go out to the song made famous by all blue lines himself. I did it my way to quite sobering and solitary thing to stand there and watch a coffin being loaded into the back of a car with the for the refrain bringing out to think I did all that and may I say, not in a shy way. Oh no oh no no me. I did it my way. The Christian never says that it is an absurd falling that we as mere men should choose to act as if we were in charge of things and it just isn't true. So if you're a farmer and you have a wonderful crop then you can thank God because he makes things grow. As I was stumbling around the campus early this morning I was picking up little bits and pieces of the wonderful fragrances that there I don't know what flowers are called. It might be called the gardenia. I don't know what it is but it is a wonderful fragrance, and as I picked a piece and carried it with me as I continue to stumble out into the into whatever Avenue I was on Imperial Avenue or somewhere.
I was remarking on the fighter. God is the great God is near wonderful creator and if you been very successful in business or you find out that one day you will be. Just remember that you didn't do it. It is God who gives you the ability to get well and when you find that even your enemies begin to live at peace with you is not because you are so wonderful at conciliation and reconciliation, but it is because according to Proverbs 16, seven that God is a God who is able to make even our enemies live at peace with us. My times are in your hands or God. Therefore, prosperity should not be the occasion of self-congratulation or product. Secondly, uncertainty should not be the occasion of panic.
Providence is a soft pillow on which to put your head in the evening. Calvin described it as an anodyne for pain as a grave in which to bury our despair.
You know the Bible knows God knows the author of the Bible, knows that we are prone to fearfulness and were prone to anxiety.
We know that because of how many times in the Bible were told not to be afraid with, it is Jesus with his disciples. Whether it is the psalmist speaking to his own soul. And the reason that these things rings so true is because we know each of us are prone to worry and to anxiety. And in every case.
Ultimately, I put it to you are fearfulness in the sense of being overwhelmed is always due to a loss of confidence in this one essential fact, my times are in your hands is under one of my friends put it in older Scotsmen. The Lord sits enthroned. Overall, the military, political, social, and economic forces of our generation, nothing has got out of hand. Nor will it. We can therefore live day by day, knowing that the hands which hold our lives are the same hands which hold all things you see without that awareness without uncertainty concerning the providence of God, life is ultimately unbearable and people then need to go and find some other way to answer gangs three questions. Where did I come from, what I'm I am where my going and that is then followed through in the various things that people embrace. I whether it is atheism or skepticism or humanism or modernism work for smaller minimal nihilism or consumerism. I think I'll just go to the mall and run up my credit card again.
I try and eat myself into satisfaction.
I'll try and exercise myself into significance walk out of this campus. No, stay on the campus.
Gaze into the faces of your friends and your fellow students and your faculty members see the photos on their Bronx pickup that hints from their responses and I guarantee without a D seated conviction that our times are in God's hands.
This is one fragile existence.
If you like to read Calvin and his institutes. I have a wonderful section for you there that I was going to court from but I don't have a lot of time, and so it wouldn't be good to do what he does is he says you know if you think you've got reason for being worried then you know I can give you a few more. First of our body is the receptacle of a thousand diseases and also for those of you who are who are paranoid and always going for blood tests and whatnot you don't want to read this section, and Calvin is is actually is actually quite good. I give you little bit about Outlook years are and I'm not coming back again and in any case, please listen to what he says embark upon a ship, you are one step away from death mound horse if one food slips, your life is imperiled.
Go through the city streets.
You are subject to his many dangers is that our trials on the roof. If there is a weapon in your hand or friends harm awaits all the fierce animals you see are arm for your destruction. But if you try to shut yourself up in a walled garden. Seemingly delightful. They are a serpent sometimes lies hidden your house continually in danger of fire threatens in the daytime to impoverish you at night, even to collapse on you your field. It is exposed to hail from Stroud and other calamities threaten you with barrenness and famine that he says is every city there is no end to this is Passover poisonings, ambushes, robberies, open violence, which impart procedures at home and part dog is abroad amid these tribulations must not man be most miserable since, but have to live in life.
He meekly draws his anxious and languid breath as if he ever scored perpetually hanging over his head. Hey thanks Calvin is good. I'm feeling so much better. That's good. I thought I had reason to be worried.
I didn't realize I had so many reasons to reward what is the antidote. What is the antidote.
My times are in your hands.
I really just guess about on the sea of chance early held in the grip of blind deterministic forces so prosperity should not be the occasion of bright anxiety should not be the basis for despair. And thirdly adversity should not be the occasion of self-pity. When we indulge ourselves in self-pity is almost inevitably traceable to the fact that we are unprepared to acknowledge that God is sovereign over all these things.
So for example if you consider the life of Joseph. If Joseph had merely focused on all of the treachery that had led up to his position in Egypt, he would've been one miserable character with him to spend time with me, he would have had reason to curse his father for getting in the Jolly code in the first place. I didn't ask for the quote. What in the world is he giving me that dumb quote for he could've said always like the quote is the problem my father's. The problem father the coat the coat the father ever. The mass my entire life.
I Buddha thought that a coat could destroy her life and my brothers yeah sure I had a few dreams. I said you know they were going to bow down to me, but it works in NY. What and why would he put me in that pit miserable rascals that they are every last one of them. I hate my brothers. I hate everything about the I hope I never see them again in my life will look here got my brothers given motives.
This is brothers because they weep at his self-disclosure when he comes out from underneath his Egyptian mask as it were, and he says ego.
I me. I'm Joseph and they began to weep and he says to them, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves. Do not be distressed or angry with yourself, why not my times are in God's hands, for God sent me before you to preserve your life together.
You malevolently determine to take my life on account of your jealousy on account of the intervention of one of you. My life was spared and I have lived separate from you and separate from my father for all these years, but I want you to know that I don't harbor any bitterness against you. I don't harbor any bitterness against you for the time I spent in jail. Don't be distressed. Don't be angry with yourselves.
God sent me before you to preserve your life's God. Send me before you to preserve a remnant and 10 he says, so it wasn't you who sent me here, but God, but it was then that sin in their they sold them into slavery. Yeah but God overruled all of their individual actions without ever once violating their freedom, their jealousy was a real jealousy when programmed to be jealous. Their animosity was a real animosity and in the vastness of the purposes of God.
He was orchestrating things so as to preserve a remnant for himself and a people who would be there in Egypt. It's amazing isn't he see there's a lesson in this as well and it is this the providences of God are seldom self interpreting. So when you and I are going through things. If we are constantly immediately sink how does this affect me. What is this mean to me how can I explain this in terms of the immediate in the here and now we will seldom get it right. Joseph could never have got it right when he was in that pit if he started to try and explain the providence of God to himself in the midst of all of that animosity when he was stripped naked, and put up in front of the people before he was taken into the home of Potiphar when he was on the receiving end of the suggestion glances and insinuations of part of his wife when he ended up in the jail and maligned and accused and innocence.
What is it allows somebody who lives a life like that to stand up and greet his brothers and say don't be distressed. Don't be angry with yourself. What is it allows somebody to do that he understands my times are in your hands, as I have live my own life and face some of my own challenges and continue to do as well. I have to remind myself on a regular basis that the God who is involved in the lifecycle of a sparrow is actually committed to my life as well and that he will sustain me and watch over me in the face of everything there a few funerals I've done that. It stood out for me so much of the funeral that I did have a lady probably 20 years ago or more. She was a young lady she died before she was 40 she had a disease that those of your B medics will understand that I don't understand what it essentially was it some kind of epidermal disease that began to close down her existence hands her face. Everything was finally turned in and it essentially in her 30s squeeze the life out of her. She was run a Roman Catholic family a big family.
She had come to trust in Jesus, he discovered that religion hasn't didn't have the answer but I Jesus set her free and she left a letter that she wanted me to have so that on the occasion of her funeral.
I would be able to tell her family, how she had viewed the way in which her life had unfolded and the way in which it had been taken away from her and this is a verse that she wanted me to read Job chapter 10 verse 12, you gave me life and showed kindness and in your providence watch over my spirit together.
My times are in your hands what my times are in your hands therefrom not cast around of the sea of chance are not held in the grip of blind deterministic forces on been trained in the school of God's providence.
That's the what.
So what prosperity should not be the occasion of pride. Anxiety should not be the occasion of despair and adversity should not be allowed to overturn us. Now what here we go one. There is a responsibility that we have to face up to because some of your beginning a ready to save yourself well in that case I got nothing to do with anything at all.
Somehow or another. This notion of God's sovereignty is exempted me from everything as if somehow or another. It relieves me of all responsibility. No, no that's wrong. Although the Lord overrules all things according to his purpose. We are still responsible to him for all that we are and all that we do. Therefore, we are responsible to make sensible decisions.
We are responsible to be righteous in our planning, we are responsible to be involved in the problems of our world a man's heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Therefore, we are to look ahead were to make plans were to put our affairs in order and we are always to be in submission to his will.
You have this juxtaposition classically in the story of Nat my remember where he is confronted by enemies in the work of reconstruction in Jerusalem and wonderful verse now I have 49 we prayed to our God and we posted a guard somebody was in all you have to do is pray. As a leader to break some very pious as I just pray I leave my car open I leave my keys there I lay my briefcase in the car.
I just pray I was praying. Just walk away idiot when Joab encourages the troops under his care. He says be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. Your northern accent and says the Lord will do what is good in his sight, so there is a responsibility that we cannot avoid. There is a humility that ought to be fostered in us is it is the other side of the coin is that from the idea that prosperity would produce pride in us know the providence of God actually humbles us. So, for example, Joseph response to Pharaoh when he asked for an interpretation of the dream. Joseph does not say all I'm glad you asked.
I'm your man dreams. I'm big on I'm good on dreams. Yeah, if I had never been here would be here if it weren't for dreams. I had a couple of delis Terry about her maybe later but yet what is it what is it you've got for me. I didn't say that's all he says that I can.
I can't interpret dreams, but God can then make them proud made him wonder at every level. Listen at every level. Our lives are utterly dependent upon God.
So don't draw attention to yourself. Don't go out as a proud and arrogant person.
Don't trumpet your own achievements acknowledge that you cannot even open your eyelids in the morning.
Apart from the providence of God, and finally, since our times are in God's hands, not only as a responsibility that we need to face in a humility that we need to foster but there is a security that we find in this truth says Calvin ignorance of Providence is the ultimate of all miseries the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it.
So instead of living in the fearfulness of what fate might bring.
Instead of viewing our lives in the world is a kind of tumbleweed now as humble believers we just fearlessly again commit ourselves to God, the believer Solis says Calvin is to know that his heavenly father.
So holds all things in his power. So rules everything by his authority in world so governs by all his wisdom, that nothing can befall except he determinant listen young folks, we are not at the mercy of arbitrary and impersonal forces. We are in the hands of a heavenly father who loves us with an everlasting love. Does this answer all our questions clearly not but it is in this central fact that I am then set free from the regrets of yesterday and I'm strengthened for the challenges of tomorrow, so do your best. Try your hardest love passionately live joyously engage imaginatively investigate unrelentingly. But every night when you put your head on the pillow.
Remember my times are in your hands you'll know all about my mom and dad. You know all about the divorce. You know all about my fears. You know all about my cancer you know all about these things and God you are my God and I will trust you. Let me quote from a him and will use this as like a benediction all the way my Savior leads me cheers each winding path I tread gives me grace for every trial, feeds me with the living bread though my weary steps may falter and my soul. The thirst may be gushing from the rock before me. There's a spring of joy.
I see all the way my Savior leads me or the fullness of his love, perfect rest of me as promised in my father's house above, when my spirit clothed immortal wings it's flight through rounds of day.
This my song through endless ages. Jesus led me all the way and that is a comforting reminder that the hands that hold our lives are the same hands that hold all things Alistair Begg with the final message of the series titled lessons for life Truth for Life.
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The series is called faith that works. Find out how to be a joyful doer of the word, even in the middle of hard times.
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