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Each of these three types of providence reflects a greater degree of closeness to the central purpose, the deepest reason for God's creation and upholding of all things - the revelation and glorification of His being and attributes, which are especially glorified in the salvation of His church.

When we speak of all things being in God's providence and of God directing all things according to His purpose, we must also realize that God works His purpose through means. If it is in God's providence to grant us excellent health in the coming year, He generally works this through the means of good food, shelter, and clothing. If it is in God's providence to grant us a good harvest next year, He will probably produce this through granting proper amounts of rain and sunshine, and appropriate temperatures. God's normal way is to work through means.

Separating God's providence from the means that He uses to effect His purposes is a mistake. God is the primary cause, but it is His normal manner to work through means as secondary causes. This truth is of great practical importance in our daily lives. In all things we must realize the necessity of God's blessing and pray for this in the first place; but we must also actively use the means God has provided in the second place. We must pray and work. One without the other is not proper; we must actively do both, balancing these two scriptural truths in our daily lives. How do the following texts testify of this balance?

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

- Psalm 127:1

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

- Proverbs 13:4

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

- I Corinthians 3:6-7

Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

- 2 Timothy 4:2

For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

- Romans 9:15-16

Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

- Isaiah 55:6-7


Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being )redestinated according to the )urpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:

That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.

- Ephesians 1:5-6, 11-12


  • Appropriate - Suitable; fitting; proper

  • Primary - First, chief, principal

  • Secondary - Second; subordinate; not of first or greatest importance

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