The God who Foresees

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Providence

After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’” (Acts 15:13–18)

The problem of living in the great succession of time - minute passing on into minute, hour to hour - is that the future can take you by surprise. The past can give you clues as to what might happen in the time to come, but even then things unforeseen take place. It often seems that experts simply make mistakes with greater confidence, and who would dare say what the weather will be like in a month’s time. Or next week?

One of the extraordinary aspects of the Bible is the great arc of prophecies which find their fulfilment in Christ, events which relied on the actions of so many others. There in the Old Testament are prophecies that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and would be able to trace his lineage back to King David. All this relies on the actions of others well in advance of Jesus’s birth, and yet things were so ordered.

Isaiah speaks of the Messiah being whipped (Isaiah 50) and being killed between thieves (Isaiah 53:12). The same prophet also speaks of the Messiah being buried in the grave of a rich man. All these prophecies rely on the actions of others: they could not be manufactured by a man pretending to be some Messiah. Or a man with a Messiah complex.

From his vantage point in eternity God knows all things, and is not trapped as we are in the narrow tunnel of time. To trust in God is not to place your hopes in one who will be surprised by a turn of events. It is to trust in one who already knows. It is to trust in one who writes his great plan of redemption on the fabric of time, and who brings to fruition plans laid centuries before.

Wise and Holy

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24) “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” (Psalm 145:17) - Power may corrupt imperfect human beings, but fortunately for us God is not a bigger version of a human. He is good. His is not corruptible.

Advisors and Counsellors

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…” (Ephesians 1:11) - “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:10–11) - There is a danger in not seeking the wisdom of others, as the book of Proverbs is quick to point out: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). Going it alone in the spiritual realm is a hazardous path, and if you are not careful you find that it is not so much God you believe in. It is yourself.

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