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Providence and Human History

Today’s reading

Genesis 41; Matthew 13:1-32

Selected verses

And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”

Genesis 41:38-40

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Matthew 13:31,32

Reflections

God’s providence controls all the events of history to bring about His eternal purposes, and, because of this, He causes seemingly insignificant things to have a completely unforeseeable impact.

For example, God used a chain of sad and painful events in Joseph’s life to bring an amazing outcome. His kidnapping led to his being sold as a slave.  As a slave he was imprisoned on false charges. But in prison he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s  baker and butler.  That resulted in his recognition by Pharaoh for his ability to interpret dreams and give wise advice.  Joseph ended up the second in command to Pharaoh.  From that position, Joseph was able to save Egypt and his own long-lost family from starvation. Jacob and all his family relocated to Egypt where, over a four century period, they would grow into a mighty nation.  Their descendants would be prepared to return to the Promised Land to conquer it for their homeland.

Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a man planting a tiny mustard seed in the ground.  The seed was hardly visible before it was planted, and, after it was planted, it could not be seen at all.  Yet that seed grew into a huge plant, the largest in the garden and able to provide a nesting place for the birds.

Think about it

How have you seen God bring about mighty outcomes from practically unknown people or unfortunate events?  How have you seen the kingdom of heaven manifest its greatness where it was previously tiny or even non-existent?

Praise God for His providence!  He does wondrous things as He grows His kingdom!

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