Providence, Proverbs, and the Pastorate
Charles Bridges wrote not only one of the best books on The Christian Ministry but also one of the best commentaries on Proverbs. Both of these have proved inspiring and insightful to me over the last 30 years of pastoral ministry.
Here’s a taste of the kind of help Bridges gives, for example, on Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
The falling of a hair or a sparrow is directed, no less than the birth and death of Princes, or the revolutions of empires. (Matthew 10:29, 30)
Everything is a wheel of Providence.
Who directed the Ishmaelites on their journey to Egypt at the very moment, that Joseph was cast into the pit? (Genesis 37:25)
Who guided Pharaoh's daughter to the stream, just when the ark, with its precious deposit, was committed to the waters? (Exodus 2:3-5)
What gave Ahasuerus a sleepless night, that he might be amused with the records of his kingdom? (Esther 6:1)
Who prepared the whale at the very time and place, that Jonah's lot was cast? (Jonah 1:17)
Who can fail to see the hand of God, most wonderful in the most apparently casual contingencies, overruling all second causes to fulfill his will, while they work their own?
When kingdoms are tossed up and down like a tennis-ball (Isaiah 22:18); not one event can fly out of the bounds of his Providence. The smallest are not below it. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without it. Not a hair, but it is numbered by it.
The doctrine of God’s pervasive providence is one of the most important for a pastor (or anyone) to get clarity on early. If the local news station calls you to ask about God’s relation to a tsunami, don’t answer the phone till you get this settled in your head and heart.