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Friday, September 17, 2010

9/18/10 Luke 12:4-7 God's Providential Care in the Face of Trouble

4 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

(Click Here for "His Eye is on the Sparrow" sung by Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount)

Thoughts: Jesus had just confronted the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law and they were beseiging him with questions.  Jesus was again made aware that these same religious authorities will arrest and kill him.  He was concerned that his disciples not be people who fear others, but people who trust God.  So he reminded them of God's power (to throw into or preserve from hell), and God's care (who cares for the lowly sparrows).  In a time in which government is becoming more and more invasive and powerful, and the recession makes us concerned about God's providential care, these are tremendous words for us.  If the growing religion in America and the West is deism, then this is a marked contrast.  The deist needs to be more afraid of humans than of God, and does not believe in God's care for humans- much less sparrows.  Deism leaves us without hope but with fear, but Jesus' will is for us to trust in God's care.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your wonderful care.  Help me trust in your ability to help us and your care that is able to reach to the individual.

John Calvin commentary abridged: To encourage the disciples to despise death, Jesus argues that this frail and perishing life should be lightly regarded by people who are created for heavenly immortality.  The fear of God is dead in those who fear earthly tyrants and abandoned their confession so they become animal-like.  We should not dread the cruelty of people as if we were not under the protection of God.  Christ differs from the philosophers who speak of God governing the world but do not believe God sees individual creatures. There is uncertainty, but it is not blind chance- but the will of God that ultimately regulates things.  We also need to contemplate providence as a ground for confidence and an excitement to prayer.

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