The Dark Providences of God

by Dennis Michelson
(Painesville, Ohio)

Psalm 76:10 and Proverbs 16:4

Introduction: I think we often try to put God in a box of our own design. However, when confronted by texts like the ones before us we must simply bow our heads in awe and worship. When I was in seminary, I had all the answers. Thirty-eight years later I have learned that I have not even heard all of the questions!

Ponder these two verses: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." "The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."

We live in a time of great Christian activity and activism. We seek to go about and make the world conform to the image we think is best. At times, one even gets the idea that perhaps God has lost control of history and needs some help from the religious right in order to get the world back on track.

While we are hurried and harried about changing the world we often overlook the fact that God wants to change us. God will employ the most effective chisel to chip away from our lives anything and everything which is not like Jesus Christ.

These tools are known as the "pressures of Providence" and if we are not careful we will be involved in trying to change the very things God is employing to change us!

Not till the loom is silent
And the shutters cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why

The dark threads are as needful
in the weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

1. The Providence of God is Decreed - Purpose

  • His purpose is perfect.

  • His purpose is exhaustive. (Matthew 10:30)

  • His purpose is for my ultimate good. (Rom. 8:28)

  • His purpose is secret.

2. The Providence of God is Sometimes Dark - Perplexing

Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

An old confession states the following:

The most wise, righteous and gracious God, does oftentimes leave for a season His own children to manifold temptations, and corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their own hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence upon Him, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin.

3. The Providence of God is Always Designed - Planned

  • Dark providences test us. (I Peter 1:3-7)

  • Dark providences expose our sins.

  • Dark providences build our character.

  • Dark providences help us know God better.

  • Dark providences make us more fruitful and useful.

  • Dark providences lead us to make God our all and prepare us for glory.

4. The Providence of God Makes Plain Our Duty - Performance

  • Behind dark providences there is always a purpose of love.

  • Behind dark providences there always remains a
    mystery with no immediate answer.

  • Behind dark providences there is always an avenue to get closer to God.

  • Behind dark providences there is always a
    merciful outcome - mercy outweighs the misery.


Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
in blessings on your head.

His purposes will ripen fast,
unfolding every hour
the bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flower.

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