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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Support of Providence

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon:

The boundless stores of Providence are engaged for the support of the believer. Christ is our Joseph, who has granaries full of wheat; but He does not treat us as Joseph did the Egyptians, for He opens the door of His storehouse and bids us call all the good therein our own. He has entailed upon His estate of Providence a perpetual charge of a daily portion for us, and He has promised that one day we shall clearly perceive that the estate itself has been well-farmed on our behalf and has always been ours. The axle of the wheels of the chariot of Providence is Infinite Love, and Gracious Wisdom is the perpetual charioteer.

Seeing God’s Sovereignty

Trusting GodJerry Bridges:

…it is difficult for us to appreciate the reality of God sovereignly doing as He pleases in our lives because we do not see God doing anything. Instead, we see ourselves or other people acting and events occurring, and we evaluate those actions and events according to our own preferences and plans. We see ourselves influencing or perhaps even controlling or being controlled by the actions of other people, but we do not see God at work. But over all the actions and events of our lives, God is in control doing as He pleases— not apart from those events, or in spite of them, but through them. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery— a malicious act in and of itself—but in due time Joseph recognized that through his brothers’ actions God was acting. He could say to them, “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8). Joseph recognized the hand of God in his life sovereignly directing all the events to bring about God’s plan for him. (Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts)

Joseph’s Price as a Slave

Archaeology and the Bible:

Joseph‘s price as a slave was 20 shekels (Genesis 37:28), which, according to trade tablets from that period is the correct price for 1,700 B.C. An earlier account would have been cheaper, while a later account would have been more expensive.

Facing Adversity

There is some good in adversity I suppose. I often hear the statement that “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!” Yet, most sane people I know would rather avoid pain and adversity if possible. There are examples, however, of adversity making people stronger to serve the purposes of God: Take John Bunyan for instance. He was arrested in 1660 for preaching without a license. In prison, he began writing his great book Pilgrim’s Progress. Then there is Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The communists imprisoned him for criticizing them. While suffering in the Gulag (concentration camp), he wrote poems in his head, which he later was able to publish and eventually he wrote the Gulag Archipelago based on his experiences. Consider the story of Joseph in Genesis. First in slavery and then in prison Joseph learned to forgive, to persevere, and perhaps a good dose of humility. These lessons and the hand of God brought Joseph to Pharaoh’s attention and placed him in a position to save his family from starvation.

There are certainly many other examples that could be written about. The Lord, however, provides us with many encouragements in the Scriptures to hold on to as anchors of hope when adversity comes our way. One of my favorites is “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) A few of many helpful Bible verses in times of trial are listed below:

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Isaiah 41:10

[F]ear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

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