Of Divine Providence
Chapter 5, Paragraph 5.
“The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes, leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruptions of their own heart, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close, and constant dependence for their support, upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. “
2 Chronicles 32:25,26,31
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
There are times when God allows various temptations to cross our path. We struggle with sin and we fall, time and time again. Frustrated and ashamed, we wonder “Why aren’t things changing?”
There are a couple reasons that the Confession lists. One is that God is chastising us for our former sins. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” (Hebrews 12:6). While unpleasant, we know that it is just. Another reason He leaves us to manifold temptations to discover the hidden strength of the corruption of our hearts. How often do we justify our motives for sin? “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Out of such difficult seasons, though, comes blessing. For through them we are humbled, and we grow closer and more dependent on God. John Flavel wrote, “And surely a man is never nearer the mercy he desires, or the deliverance he expects…as when his soul is brought into a submissive attitude.” Since we know God is most wise, we can trust Him to determine what is best for us. Since we know He is most righteous, we can run to Him for forgiveness, and He will cleanse us. Since we know He is most gracious, we can seek His aid in mortifying the flesh. To have such a deeper communion with God is a wonderful gift for us who do not deserve it.
Questions to Consider
- Do you see the providence of God in your struggle with sin?