SCRIPTURE: Psalm 68:6 (TM) – larger reading Psalm 68:1-10
God makes homes for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom, but leaves rebels to rot in hell.
On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Berry, his partner, stood. Business was all gone, and Berry asked, "How much longer can we keep this going?" Lincoln answered, "It looks as if our business has just about winked out." Then he continued, "You know, I wouldn't mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldn't mind so much if we could sell everything we've got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book--Blackstone's Commentary on English Law, but I guess I can't." A strange-looking wagon was coming up the road. The driver angled it up close to the store porch, then looked at Lincoln and said, "I'm trying to move my family out west, and I'm out of money. I've got a good barrel here that I could sell for fifty cents." Abraham Lincoln's eyes went along the wagon and came to the wife looking at him pleadingly, face thin and emaciated. Lincoln ran his hand into his pocket and took out, according to him, "the last fifty cents I had" and said, "I reckon I could use a good barrel." All day long the barrel sat on the porch of that store. Berry kept chiding Lincoln about it. Late in the evening Lincoln walked out and looked down into the barrel. He saw something in the bottom of it, papers that he hadn't noticed before. His long arms went down into the barrel and, as he fumbled around, he hit something solid. He pulled out a book and stood petrified: it was Blackstone's Commentary on English Law. Lincoln later wrote, "I stood there holding the book and looking up toward the heavens. There came a deep impression on me that God had something for me to do and He was showing he now that I had to get ready for it. Why this miracle otherwise?"
“God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform,” (William Cowper) is often associated with the idea of the providence of God. The example from the life of Lincoln could well fit into that wonderful idea. God had other plans for Lincoln or so we could assume. And us?
The psalmist wrote about God providing homes for the homeless and a path to freedom for those in prison… and so, we can just sit back a allow God to work out is providence. Right? Wrong!... unless we see ourselves and our efforts as the providence of God.
I believe that God will never do what he has given us the ability to do. Why should he? We have the resources and the ability all that is lacking is the determination and the commitment to make it happen.
Or do we just sit back and allow others to do what God has/is calling us to do? The providence of God is the motivating factor that comes into play here. The providence of God is that he has planted us squarely in the middle of the problem saying, “Now solve it!”
Thanks for nothing God. Just when we begin to think that we can sit back and rest, you give us another task to complete, another responsibility to fulfill, another opportunity to help out. Truthfully, Lord, we sure liked this “Providence of God” when you did it all for us instead of getting us involved.