Providence is God’s guidance or care over creation. The English word providence is derived from the Latin term providentia, which primarily means foresight or foreknowledge but also forethought and providence in the religious sense; thus, Cicero used the phrase the “providence of the gods”. The Bible illustrates God’s providence over nature and mankind. Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name) said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7) God is Sovereign over nature, caring for a small sparrow’s life, as well as, the particulars of each highly loved human. Even secular unbelievers recognize providence in nature, the interconnected design within nature that provides for every species and creature. Human history is filled with the guidance and care of God as documented by historians. In particular, the Bible is a detailed account of God’s care for Israel. Of course, God is unseen and faithless people are blind, denying His influence and even documented prophecy and subsequent fulfillment in reality.
The story of Esther is filled with evidence of God’s care and foreknowledge. When Esther was selected to be Queen, just as her people were being marked for destruction. (Esther 4:7-14) When the King could not sleep and discovered that Mordecai had disclosed a plot to kill the King and nothing had been done to reward him. Just as the evil Haman was constructing gallows upon which to kill Mordecai. (Esther 6:1-4) We see that Mordecai trusted in Providence, even as he was advising Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) There are too many stories and intricacies to recount or list, but the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and the prophets all depict God’s providence.
The consequences of Providence are as important as its existence. Yeshua taught His followers to trust and rely upon God saying, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?…If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matt. 6:25-26, 30-32) Soloman observed, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13)
Can you see God’s providence in your life? Perhaps you prepared for a career, but could you have made it happen as it did? Can you see guidance and care in and among your family? Have your ever been at the end of your rope and been delivered? Can you see how the grace of God has been extended to you, even in and through difficulty? Just as all creation thrives and lives, Providence has us in His hands.