How Your Enemies Become Servants of the Best Thing That Could Ever Happen to You

Providence of GodCame across this interesting quote from G.C. Berkouwer regarding the story of Joseph, and his word to his brothers near the end, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20). Berkouwer says:

“God’s ‘thinking it for good’ makes His enemies accessories to the salvation of His people.” -G.C. Berkouwer, The Providence of God, pg. 93

Genesis: God at Work

Duguid and Harmon- Joseph “It is certainly true that God hates sin. But if there is one lesson that is central to the Joseph story, it is that God uses things that he hates to accomplish goals that he loves.” (Iain Duguid and Matthew Harmon, Living in the Light of Inextinguishable Hope, pg. 57

Providence and Soft Spots

The Crook in the Lot“It [difficult providence] often falls in the tender part, I mean, that part of the lot wherein one is least able to bear it, or at least thinks he is so… If there is any one part of the lot which of all others one is disposed to nestle in, the thorn will readily be laid there, especially if he belongs to God. In that thing wherein he is least of all able to be touched, he will be sure to be pressed. There the trial will be taken on him, for there is the grand competition with Christ.” Thomas Boston, The Crook in the Lot, pg.12

Illustrations: Temptations and Providence

The Crook in the Lot “The crook in the lot [difficult providence] so very readily makes impressions, to the ruffling and fretting of one’s spirit, irritating corruption, that Satan does not fail to make diligent use of it for these dangerous purposes. Once the tempter has gained this point, the tempted person, before he is aware, finds himself entangled as in a thicket, out of which he does not know how to extricate himself. In that temptation it often proves to be like a crooked stick troubling a standing pool of water, which not only raises mud all over, but brings up some very ugly things from the bottom of the pool.” Thomas Boston, The Crook in the Lot, pg. 11

Illustrations: Difficult Providences

The Crook in the Lot “Second, there is a crook made by a train of cross dispensations, whether of the same or different kinds, following hard one upon another, and leaving lasting effects behind them… In that case, the party is like a man who recovers his sliding foot from one unfirm piece of ground, sets it on another equally unfirm, which immediately gives way under him too. Or he is like one who, travelling in an unknown mountainous track, after having difficulty making his way over one mountain, expects to see the plain country; but instead of that there comes in view, time after time, a new mountain to be passed.” -Thomas Boston, The Crook in the Lot

Illustrations: God’s Providential Sustenance

Providence of God“Divine sustenance is not simply a conservation or preservation. There are many things which men ‘sustain’ in order to keep them as they are or were. We understand how roads, parks, buildings, and such are maintained to keep them from falling into decay and we are inclined to apply such a notion of maintenance to the idea of God’s sustenance of the world. But the sustaining of the world by God’s omnipresent power is not a mere keeping of things in proper condition: God does more in sustaining than hold the world intact. Sustaining is a moving, unfolding, unlocking process, revealing continually a galaxy of diversity… Sustenance is directed towards an end.” -G.C. Berkouwer, The Providence of God, pp. 67-68