Confiding in God’s government and the use of means

In my morning reading I picked up Thabiti Anyabwile’s book “May we meet in the Heavenly world”. Let me say if you don’t have this book in your library pick it up. It’s a wonderful read packed with some delightful highlights from Lemuel Haynes life.

I want to bring to light one of those treats for you. It’s from his “Divine decrees”(1805) in Black Preacher to White America

Faith in divine purposes will excite the people of God to the diligent use of means, as He has appointed them as instruments by which He will accomplish His designs and has commanded them to be workers together with Him; indeed, without the exertions of men, it is impossible that they should take place. God revealed to Abraham that his seed should go down into Egypt and at such a time be delivered, but this supposed series of second causes [was} all dependent on the first cause; without them the event could not take place. one was the edict of Pharoah to destroy the male infants of the Hebrews, that Moses should be born and hid three months, that he should be educated at the expense of the King of Egypt, that the Egyptians should be visited with ten plagues, etc. I might with propriety make the same remark with respect to the deliverance of Israel from Babylonian captivity, and the birth and death of Christ. the people of God consider themselves as active instruments to bring about His holy designs and are, in a good degree, cured of that unreasonable temper of mind that will deduce unnatural consequences from certain promises, in order to gratify a licentious conduct.

The truly pious are pleased with the absolute decrees of God, as what will promote the greatest possible good. if it is desirable that all God’s counsels should stand, then it must be pleasing to saints to be in the use of such means as tend to bring them to pass- without which they cannot exist; this makes them cheerful in the service of God, as they are seeking the same glorious ultimate object with Him. Jochebed and her husband doubtless understood that God, by this remarkable child, designed the deliverance of the church from the iron furnace, which was an animating object; all they did in fitting him for this work afforded satisfaction. Although the children of God cannot always see the connection between means and ends, yet they put such confidence in the divine Being as delights their souls in persevering in the path of duty- believing that God will effect the greatest good by it.

The friends of God delight in expressing their obedience to Him. The use of means affords them opportunity to glorify God and commend Him to others. if love and obedience are delightful exercises to the saints, then to express them will be pleasing. As god cannot exhibit any true virtue or moral excellence without pursuing a plan, so neither can we, unless we regard His will and interest and are workers together with Him.

The humble Christian will feel his own weakness and insufficiency to do anything of himself and will see that all his sufficiency is of God, and his faith and all- which will be a motive to diligence. This will be the foundation of his trust and will excite him to work out his salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God that worketh in him, both to will and to do of His good pleasure ( Phil. 2:12-13). This supported the parents of Moses amidst all their care about him and [was the reason] ” they were not afraid of the king’s commandments.”

Christians will diligently attend to means, as they will see much to be done. Wherever they turn their eyes, they will behold work laid out for them. It is criminal to stand idle in the marketplace. The good man will see enough to employ his head, his heart, his hands, and his temporal interest in the service of God. the reason that so many can find but little to do for God is on account of a slothful and indolent heart that refuses to labor.”


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