God’s Guarding and Guiding Providence – Click on link for Devotional Guide on Acts 27-28.
What do we mean by God’s guarding and guiding providence?
- God is a providential Father who “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
- What are God’s works of providence? God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.11).
- What do you understand by the providence of God? Heidelberg Catechism Q. 27: God’s providence is His almighty and ever present power, whereby, as with His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures, and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things, come not by chance but by His fatherly hand.
- What are some of the ways that Christians misunderstand God’s providence? Some have restricted God’s providence to foreknowledge without control, or upholding without intervention, or general oversight without concern for details.
How do you see God’s providence in these closing chapters?
- God providentially governs all things to fulfill His Word. “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Have courage, for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome’” (Acts 23:11; 27:23-24).
- God providentially sustains all 276 passengers through 14 days without food (27:33).
- God providentially guides Paul safely through all danger and peril to the city of Rome (28:1).
- God providentially keeps the viper’s poison from killing Paul (28:3-6).
- God providentially causes the shipwreck to occur near the land of a wealthy man who can provide for the 276 folks who came ashore (28:7)
- God providentially hardens the hearts of some who hear the Word and opens the hearts of others to believe (28:24).
- God providentially provides a place for Paul to teach people the gospel without hindrance (28:30-31).
What are the unique events that occur in these chapters that seem calculated to frustrate and thwart God’s plan and providence?
- What does God’s providence not guarantee? God’s guarding and guiding providence does not guarantee that our lives will be free from suffering.
- Why does this happen? “The Lord of all, creative and wise as he is…often allows many obstacles to develop before fulfillment so that he may put into effect his previous decisions and thus demonstrate the extraordinary degree of his power.” – John Chrysostom
What difference should it make it our lives? How does trusting in God’s providence practically help us? How did it help the Apostle Paul?
- HC #28 – What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by His providence?
We can be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and with a view to the future we can have a firm confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from His love; for all creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they cannot so much as move.
- Compare and contrast the reactions of Paul and those aboard the ship to their circumstance. What do their reactions reveal about them? Compare 27:20 and 27:23-24. What do your reactions in times of stress and difficulty reveal about your faith in God’s control of every circumstance?
- The doctrine of providence teaches us that we are never in the grip of blind forces (fortune, chance, luck, fate); all that happens to us is divinely planned, and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey, and rejoice, knowing that all is for one’s spiritual and eternal good (Rom. 8:28).