God’s Providential Care
Today’s reading: Psalm 38-40; Acts 23:12-35
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! 14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!” Psalm 40:13-15
31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. Acts 23:31
Those who know the Lord may suffer intense, unjust opposition or they may suffer for their foolishness and sin, but they trust in Him and He providentially cares for them whether to deliver them for further service or take them home to glory.
The Psalmist endured much pain partly from his own sin and partly from the severe oppression that was mounted against him unjustly. There is a difference between suffering due to our own sin and suffering due to being God’s servant. [See 1 Peter 2:18-25]. But it is often not easy to separate our suffering into such neat, clean categories. The Psalmist was suffering and in these laments he mixes the two causes and appeals to the Lord for forgiveness and deliverance. Unlike Job, he recognizes some responsibility for what he is having to endure but also cries out for relief from those who plot against him unjustly (Psalm 38:3-4,11-12, 17-20; 40:12).
The events of Paul’s life show the power of God working providentially to preserve him from unjust suffering and for further service. A plot is hatched with 40 men conspiring to kill him. His nephew overhears the plot and reports it to Paul. Paul wisely asks the centurion to take his nephew to the tribune. The tribune takes immediate action and Paul is rescued and sent to the governor for trial, and, let us add, to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can only imagine that the 40 conspirators were completely “put to shame and disappointed altogether.”
Most of us do not suffer such opposition as Paul did, but we do suffer in smaller ways. Do you know that He watches over you? Do you know that while you may feel that your iniquities are more than the hairs of your head (40:12) God’s care for you is such that He has the hairs of your head numbered and your iniquities covered by the blood of Christ (Luke 12:4-7; 24:44-47)? Trust His providential care. His plan for you cannot be thwarted by any person, even yourself.