Day 4: Hidden Providence

Read: Ruth 2:1-7

Reflect: Now back in Bethlehem, and Naomi and Ruth are going to have to eat. So Ruth offers to go out and glean (that is, pick up the scraps that the harvesters dropped/missed). Naomi sends her off (and again, why didn’t Naomi go? Certainly if they were that hungry, she could have helped a little, right?) 

Then, there in the middle of verse 3, is a single word that is dripping with God’s hidden providence: “happened.” Ruth just “happened” to go to a field owned by a distant relative she’d never even heard of and who turns out to be an upstanding God-fearing man. 

Was this just a coincidence? A happy accident that is going to turn out for the good? No. It’s the hidden providence of God. 

The Westminster Shorter Catechsism defines God’s providence as “his completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action” (Q11). That is, God guides and directs the steps and actions of all of creation to fulfill his good purposes in the world.

The passage never tells us that “God directed Ruth to this particular field.” But that is the way the providence of God works. He is sovereignly in control of all things. In the good and the bad, in the things we see and understand or in the things we don’t see or don’t understand, God is working out all things for his glory and for your good!

Respond:

  • What causes you to doubt God’s providence? 
  • When is a time in your life that, in retrospect, you can see the hidden providence of God at work? Why do you think you couldn’t see it in the moment when this happened? 
  • How have you experienced God’s providence even this week on the trip? 
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