The Providence of God in the Natural World
Psalm 103:19-22
The LORD has prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over all.

By the natural world, we understand the whole mass of matter, which is variously disposed into a multitude of shapes and forms, and different sorts of creatures, as sun, moon, and stars, air, earth, and sea; with all the vast variety with which they are stored, and by which they are inhabited. God's providential kingdom is absolutely universal, and over all. But at present, consider the providence of God, as the preserver and sovereign disposer of all things, in the natural world only.

I. THAT THERE IS A PROVIDENCE, which presides over the whole course of nature, and all the world of creatures, may be argued —

1. From the perfections of God: and of those we need only single out His knowledge and His wisdom, His goodness and His power; for if we believe that God is infinitely possessed of such perfections as these, it will hardly be possible for us to stop short of believing His providence. For will not His wisdom and goodness incline Him to take care of His creatures, and govern them in the best manner?

2. Express testimonies of Scripture, for the proof of a Providence. It is said that God upholdeth all things; and that they continue according to His ordinance. "He appointeth the moon for seasons" (Psalm 104:19). He bringeth the winds out of His treasure (Psalm 104:24, 25, 27). God is the supreme governor among the nations. This providence of God presides not only over great and important affairs, but it reaches to the minutest creatures (Matthew 10:29, 30). I will only further hint to you one article of the doctrine of Providence, which we learn from Scripture, viz. that the kingdom of Providence is administered by Christ our Saviour. It is by Him that all things consist (Colossians 1:17). And to Him is all power given (Matthew 28:18). The whole administration of Providence, over all creatures, and all worlds, is committed into the hands of the Mediator, Jesus Christ; which speaks both the dignity of His person, and the safety and happiness of His friends and people.

3. Appeal to the appearance of things: to the frame of nature, and the continued order and harmony of the whole creation; where we have as good testimonies to a Providence, as to the very being of a God. Can it be only by chance, that day and night, and summer and winter so regularly succeed to one another? (Genesis 8:22).

II. Explain and illustrate the PROVIDENCE OF GOD IN THE NATURAL WORLD, by some of the principal acts of it.

1. The providence of God is exercised in preserving His creatures.

(1) In the preservation of the several species or kinds of animal creatures; so that though all the individuals die, one after another, yet no species is lost out of the creation. And this is truly wonderful, if we consider what a natural enmity there is betwixt some animals and others, and with what diligence men have endeavoured, in all ages, to destroy some whole kinds of them. The due proportion of the various inhabitants of the world to one another, and especially of the males to the females, which is so constantly preserved throughout the animal creation, is a very sensible instance of providential care.

(2) God preserves them by His providence in their individual beings, until the end has been answered for which He made them. It is God that holdeth our soul in life. In Him we live. We are the living instances of Divine preservation: hitherto God has helped us. Nor is God's providential care confined to man. "He heareth the young raven cry. Not a sparrow falls to the ground," etc.

2. As God preserves, so He also disposes of, and governs His creatures and their actions by His providence.

(1) The inanimate creatures. He who fixed the laws of nature in the first creation, does still by His providence continue their force and power. Thus does God keep the springs of universal nature in His own hand, and turns them which way soever He pleaseth.

2. The whole animal creation. "The beasts of the forest are His, and the cattle upon a thousand hills;" they are all His creatures, and the subjects of His providence. What but a Providence could direct every beast, bird and insect where to seek its food and its habitation? Or teach every parent-animal how to take the properest care of its young? Or, what is it that conducts those birds, who shift their country and climate at certain seasons of the year, in their passage to some distant land, where multitudes of them never were before?

III. Some of the most REMARKABLE PROPERTIES OF GOD'S PROVIDENCE, as it appears in the natural world.

1. The wisdom of Providence. A property so remarkable, that one may apply those words of the apostle to the mysteries of Providence, as well as those of grace: "O the depth of the riches!" How is the wisdom of God displayed in His preserving and governing the whole frame of nature! It is by this the "sparrow is directed to find a house, and the swallow a nest for herself." How admirably is the wisdom of Providence displayed in the different instinct of the various tribes of animals! Or, if we hearken to the voice even of storms and tempests, they will further declare to us the admirable wisdom of that God whose word they obey, and whose designs they execute.

2. The goodness and kindness of it (Psalm 33:5). "These all wait upon God, and He giveth them their meat in due season" (Psalm 104:27, 28). God extends His kind regard to many thousands of creatures, who have no capacity of knowing and praising their Benefactor (Jonah 4:11). "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle" (Psalm 104:14, 15). And as God has plentifully stored the earth with the blessings of His goodness, so His providence kindly directs us to find out the various uses, whether for food or physic, for necessary support, or for convenience and delight.

3. It is very powerful. God upholdeth all things by the word of His power. The continued harmony of nature, and the constant and regular revolutions of seasons, are sensible demonstrations of the power of God (Psalm 119:90, 91).IMPROVEMENT.

1. To raise our admiring thoughts to the great God. What a great and mighty Being must He be, who is able thus to wield and manage the whole frame of nature!

2. We may infer, how terrible the wrath of this great and mighty God must be, and of what importance it is to secure His favour. So Pharaoh and the Egyptians found it.

3. Let the reconciled friends and people of God learn from hence to trust and acquiesce in Providence (Romans 8:32).

4. Let us learn to observe and adore the providence of God in all that befalls us, and to bless Him for all our enjoyments and comforts.

(S. Jennings.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

WEB: Yahweh has established his throne in the heavens. His kingdom rules over all.

The Lord Rules Over All
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