Saturday, 15 October 2011

of God's Providence in Ezekiel's Wheel; Part 1

Photo Credit: Smithsonian American
Art Museum
On my reading list lately is a ten-volume collection from one of my favorite preachers of yesteryear by the name of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Many have called him the “Prince of Preachers.” One thing that I’ve often wondered about many of the old preachers, including Spurgeon, is the length of their sermons. In reading their sermon manuscripts, it seems that they must have preached for hours, unlike the 20-30 minutes of today’s preachers.

This reminds me of a cartoon I once saw where a pizza deliveryman was delivering his pizza to someone on the front pew in a church. The implication was that the sermon was going on too long. Now I’m not suggesting that the longer sermon is better than the shorter one, or that we need sermons at all for that matter, but rather this is simply an observation from reading those old classics. Still, I would have loved to sit amongst the masses just once to hear Spurgeon preach.

However, what I really wanted to reflect on here is not sermon lengths, but rather the ability that Spurgeon had to pull vast thoughts out of a single verse, or few verses, of Scripture. The text for his sermon called “God’s Providence” was Ezekiel 1: 15-19 (quoting the ESV):
Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose.
I’ve often reflected on those verses, never fully understanding them. What do they mean? Here’s what Spurgeon sees in them:
1)   Providence of God is compared to a wheel.
2)   Providence of God is connected with angels.
3)   Providence of God is universal.
4)   Providence of God is uniform.
5)   Providence of God is compared to the sea.
6)   Providence of God is intricate.
7)   Providence of God is always correct.
8)   Providence of God is amazing.
9)   Providence of God is full of wisdom.
I find that the Providence of God is a wonderfully comforting doctrine. It says that God hasn’t left this world to fend for itself, but rather is very much involved it its sustenance and its preservation. It says to me that though we may not know what today and tomorrow may hold, we can know Him who holds it. No, we may not understand why God does as He does, or why He allows the things that He allows in this world, but we must believe that He is in control and will see us through this life and, through our faith in the Lord Jesus, on throughout eternity in glory with Him.

I am planning on blogging my way through Charles Spurgeon’s nine points on “God’s Providence.” I invite you to join me as we explore this sermon together. May God be glorified through this exercise and may it be a blessing. Thanks for the visit.

Click here for Part 2 in the series.

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