ABC Extra – God’s Immutable Provision

October 17, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


An old spiritual says:

I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what lies ahead.[1]

These words are simple, but powerfully true.  And, I would add, they are also sorely needed in our world.

We live in a world full of uncertainty.  The stock market can swing several hundred points in a day.  A single poll can crown a new frontrunner in our current presidential race.  Tragedy can strike in an instant.  It’s impossible to know what tomorrow will bring.  That’s why I love the words of this spiritual:  “Today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what lies ahead.”  Jesus, the song says, knows with certainty what lies ahead in an uncertain world.  The chorus continues:

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand,
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

We cannot even manage to predict the weather of tomorrow, much less control the events of tomorrow.  But Christ can do both.  Tomorrow is held by Christ.

In ABC this past weekend, we kicked off a two-week mini-series titled “More Blessed” where we are taking a look at faithful stewardship.  The Bible calls us to steward our resources faithfully by stewarding them generously.  The Psalmist puts it succinctly when he says, “The righteous give generously” (Psalm 37:21).  However, I know that in such a shaky world, sometimes the call to give generously can be a daunting one.  After all, the specter of being generous with our resources only to watch them evaporate in the calamity of a terrible tomorrow is unsettling.  This is why so many people prefer to keep what they have while they still have it!

Contrary to the world’s call to keep what you have while you still have it, Christians are called to be givers and sharers.  And we can be givers and sharers – and feel at peace about it – thanks to the doctrine of God’s immutability.  For with the rock-solid assurance God’s changeless character, we can trust Him to provide for our needs, even as He has done in the past (cf. Luke 11:3).  This frees us up to fearlessly share with others that which God already has provided us.  For more good gifts are sure to come from His hand.

The church father Augustine connected the doctrine of God’s immutability to the doctrine of God’s omniscience:

God does not pass from this to that by transition of thought, but beholds all things with absolute unchangeableness; so that of those things which emerge in time, the future, indeed, are not yet, and the present are now, and the past no longer are; but all of these are by Him comprehended in His stable and eternal presence.[2]

Augustine’s argument concerning God’s immutability and omniscience is an important one.  Because God, Augustine argues, knows all – past, present, and future – nothing catches God off-guard.  Thus, God responds to the tragedies, trials, and terrors of this world not spastically or sporadically, but intentionally and wisely because He is already thoroughly familiar with them, even before they happen.  We can therefore trust God with our futures and be assured that He will carry us through by “His stable and eternal presence.”

Augustine’s words are a great comfort to me.  For if God knows all, then he knows all that I need.  And He will surely provide for what I need in His changeless, steady, stable, and immutable way.  For nothing – none of my needs, tragedies, or trials – catches my God off guard.

The final verse of that old spiritual goes:

I don’t know about tomorrow,
It may bring me poverty.
But the One who feeds the sparrow
Is the One who stands by me.

This is the precious promise of God’s immutable provision.  I hope you steward your resources like you believe it.

Want to learn more? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!


[1] “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow,” http://www.hymnlyrics.org/newlyrics_i/i_know_who_holds_tomorrow.php

[2] Augustine, City of God, 11.21, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120111.htm

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