Jim's Blog: Observations and Perspectives

Responding to God’s Sovereignty in Our Circumstances: A Reading from C H Spurgeon

A Meditation from C H Spurgeon

365_Days_CHS_1_DSAs I have mentioned before, the insights, perspectives and applications of the nineteenth-century English preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, are both remarkable and abiding.

His ability to perceive truth and to draw lines of application from it to the situations ordinary people face was nothing short of remarkable. A young child once listening to him preach turned to his nanny and asked her, “Miss, why is Mr. Spurgeon speaking directly to me?” Others recounted that what he said from the pulpit came, as it were, as words directed to them personally from heaven.

Many people are puzzled by the intersection of God’s sovereignty, on the one hand, and human responsibility on the other. How do these matters fit together? There is a measure of confluence in these that we are not able completely to analyze, but which nevertheless are a part of the dynamic of our ongoing experience of life.

Consider Spurgeon’s brief meditation here. It is from a book of daily readings based on sermons he preached in the earlier phase of his ministry. Readers in the USA may buy the book at a discounted price, shipping-free, here.

A Wise Desire

“He shall choose our inheritance for us.” Psalm 47:4

Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 45:4-11

If you turn to the pages of inspiration, and read the lives of some of the most eminent saints, I think you will be obliged to see the marks of God’s providence in their histories too plainly to be mistaken. Take, for instance, the life of Joseph. There is a young man who from early life serves God. Read that life till its latest period when he gave commandment concerning his bones, and you cannot help marveling at the wondrous dealings of providence.

Did Joseph choose to be hated of his brethren? But, yet, was not their envy a material circumstance in his destiny? Did he choose to be put into the pit? But was not the putting into the pit as necessary to his being made a king in Egypt as Pharaoh’s dream? Did Joseph desire to be tempted of his mistress? He chose to reject the temptation, but did he choose the trial? No; God sent it. Did he choose to be put into the dungeon? No. And had he anything to do with the baker’s dream, or with Pharaoh’s either? Can you not see, all the way through, from first to last, even in the forgetfulness of the butler, who forgot to speak of Joseph till the appointed time came, when Pharaoh should want an interpreter, that there was truly the hand of God?

Joseph’s brethren did just as they liked when they put him into the pit. Potiphar’s wife followed the dictates of her own abandoned lust in tempting him. And yet, notwithstanding all the freedom of their will, it was ordained of God, and worked according together for one great end; to place Joseph on the throne; for as he said himself, “Ye meant it for evil, but God intended it for good, that he might save your souls alive!”

For meditation: You may find yourself in undesirable circumstances, but God can take these bad things and work them together for your good and his glory if you are his child (Romans 8:28). The all-knowing God knows what is best for us and can direct us clearly by our circumstances (Isaiah 48:17).

Sermon no. 33
8 July (1855)

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