I was going to sleep one night, laying on my left side. I was in that comfortable place, barely awake, when my right ear became warm. As if someone was whispering in it. I like the idea that God was physically whispering in my ear. Speaking truths during that pocket of time between wakefulness and sleep – wonderful things that my coherent brain couldn’t possibly handle. Words of strength and encouragement, even though I don’t quite remember what they were.
Over the years, the last two or three especially, Isaiah 45:3 has become my anchor.
I will give you treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.
These words are actually a prophecy about a man named Cyrus, given nearly 200 years before he was actually born. A prophecy that brought Israel out of exile and back home to the land of promise. That particular verse is referring to the rich treasures of Babylon that the kings had taken as spoils of war from everyone they encountered – especially the Israelites. They were shoved away and locked up for many years, never seeing the light of day – some of it even buried underground (a common practice in the culture at that time). Historical documents reveal that after the conquest of Asia, Cyrus obtained thirty-four thousand pounds weight of gold, besides golden vases, and five hundred thousand talents of silver, and the goblet of Semiramis, weighing fifteen talents!
My prayer through these especially difficult years has been for the treasures. Asking for the golden nuggets of truth that make it all worthwhile. But there’s a catch to it all.
If you continue reading in Isaiah 45, you’ll find yourself at verse nine:
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘what are you making?’
And the path of cross-references takes you over to Romans 9:20-21:
But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
And then there’s Proverbs 16:4:
The LORD has made all for Himself…
It’s a striking reality to realize He hasn’t made me for me. To fulfill all my desires and dreams, although He delights in doing that if and when it brings Him glory. Because of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Whom be glory forever. (Romans 11:36)
Everything originates with Him.
Everything comes from Him.
Everything lives through Him, whether or not it’s realized.
Everything centers in Him.
Everything consummates and ends in Him.
Amen So be it.
I mentioned yesterday that the word “providence” isn’t listed in my Bible’s concordance. But that doesn’t mean it’s not used in scripture. In Acts 24:2, we see the word in the King James Version, in the beginning of a speech by a man named Tertullus. The Greek word for providence is πρόνοια pronoia.
forethought • providential care • to make provision for a thing
What is the providence of God? According to John Piper, it is the almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance but by His fatherly hand.
What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence does stil uphold all things?
That we may be patient in adversity;
thankful in prosperity;
and that in all things which may hereafter befall us,
we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father.
That nothing shall separate us from His love,
since all creatures are so in His hand,
that without His will they cannot so much as move.
God forgive me for ways I’ve questioned You. For times I’ve resented You. For the days I complain against You. Thank You that You created me for Your glory. And so I pray – glorify Yourself in me today.