God the Father governs all things as with His hand AFRIKAANS God die Vader regeer met sy hand

Ds W den Hollander (Kanada)
Heidelbergse Kategismus Sondag 10
Preek Inhoud: 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ

     Once again, brothers and sisters, the HC wants us to focus our attention on God the Father and our creation. In article 1 of the Apostles Creed we confess God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. LD 10 elaborates on one aspect that was mentioned in LD 9, namely His eternal counsel and providence. Last week we saw how God the Father is working out His plan with this world nonetheless, as plan of salvation that is. For that purpose He continues to uphold and govern all things as with His hand. That’s His providence, which we confess here in LD 10. In Catechism class we always had a close look at that word ‘providence,’ because it seems like a difficult word; yet, looking at its root word ‘provide,’ we focused mostly on this work of our heavenly Father: He upholds, sustains, provides, and governs all things as with His fatherly hands. It’s important for our children that they learn to believe in the LORD, learn to trust Him with their whole heart, and know Him in His intimate involvement with our lives! We all continue to learn that, because we’re all learning to be comforted, here and now, in this world of leaf and blade, rain and drought, health and sickness, etc.

     In that world, beloved, and in this our lives, things don’t come by chance, we confess, but by God’s fatherly hand. Does that mean that God has hands? Indeed, we often see this expression used in the Scriptures, in the Psalms, by the prophets, etc. LD 10 also uses that expression three times. God is not a man like we are; He’s a spirit, a spiritual being, as we confess [NGB art. 1]. So, indeed, God doesn’t have hands, or eyes, or ears, even though this language is used in the Bible, but that’s language used to make Him and His work understandable for us. Remember, we’re always learning to believe, to trust, and to understand God and His ways, and then the LORD as a Father speaks to us in language that we understand. We do that too, when we speak to our children and grandchildren; then we speak as simply as possible. That’s why God speaks in His Word about His hands and eyes and ears, to show us that He is there for us, and sees us, hears us. Then He also reveals that He is actively busy and involved in everything that happens in this world, His world, and governs everything as with His own hand!

     That’s what I may speak about again this afternoon, beloved: about the world of sun and rain, of agriculture and economy, of medical science and labour, of riches and poverty. That’s a world in which we also see much that we cannot understand or fathom, like the terrible things such as wars, disasters, revolutions, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, cancer, to mention only a few. How does that happen, by chance? Is God the Father behind that too? Is He that higher power that people talk about and become confused about, because they cannot believe that a good God or a loving Father would do all these things by His own hand? Well, that’s what LD 10 is all about, and it’s for our comfort that we confess His providence, which means:

God the Father governs all things as with His hand

  1. it’s the hand of our good God;
  2. it’s the hand of our powerful God;
  3. it’s the hand of our heavenly Father.
  1. It’s the hand of our good God

     God is good! Do you believe that, brothers and sisters? That’s what we confess Him to be in NGB article 13, “this good God,” and it says there that “according to His holy will He so rules and governs all things that in this world nothing happens without His direction.” God’s goodness and love, that’s usually what people unfamiliar with God’s Word stumble on. How can you say that God is good, while you see all this misery in the world?! Perhaps it’s not just your neighbour or colleague who has a problem with it; do you know how to place all those wars, riots, disasters, and other terrible realities in the world? Do they happen with God’s direction, our good God’s? And what about the struggles of the church, the persecutions of God’s children, and the general decline and decay of the church in the western world, does the Lord direct that too? How is it possible that the devil can be so successful, when you see a whole generation leave the Lord, churches emptied, and false religions increase? Still, we confess our confidence and trust, because we know that God holds in check the devil and all our enemies so that they cannot hurt us without His permission and will.

     The author of Psalm 73, beloved, struggled with these questions too. He grappled with the observation of the well-being and prosperity of the wicked, with the reality that these wicked people can also do so much harm and hurt, bringing damage and death! When you look around, Asaph said, then I see the Lord not only uphold the lives of the godless, He also blesses them with health, well-being, and prosperity: “They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.” [5] It made Asaph envious; it tempted him to think and say, ‘what’s the use of serving the LORD, keeping my heart pure, and washing my hands in innocence.’ [13] You’re better off being egoistic and selfishly looking after yourself, enriching your own estate; i.e. looking after yourself, for others won’t do that for you. Isn’t that how it often appears?

     I’m sure, beloved, we’ve all had those temptations when we thought that the life of the neighbours was a lot more fun and pleasant than ours, especially when they spend the Sunday at the pool or at the beach and we have to sit in church; another such temptation pertains to the cost of the life of the believers, the money it takes to pay for church and school – just imagine what you could do with it for your own pleasure?! And besides, when it comes to your tax forms and business deals, you can’t take risks either, or manipulate the numbers, or use the small print to put a trap to your client. Yes and when it pertains to contracts, your competitor works on Sundays, cares nothing for his employees’ wages, and uses shady ways to undercut you or cheat the customer. It’s a lot easier for the unbelievers to do business, or so it seems….!

     Does God the Father govern all these things by His hand, too, beloved, and does He do so as our good God? Could that be right? Well, yes, He does, and yes it is right! When Asaph wrote his Psalm, he already had made his observations and had come to his initial impressions, but he had seen more, much more as well. Hence he starts his song by saying, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” Asaph came to realize how foolish he was when he just went by what meets the eye, “I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.” [22] What made him see the truth, the true reality? God’s work of salvation in the temple! In the same way, LD 10 too, wants to make us wise unto salvation. How? By listening carefully to the LORD! You see, then the HC shows that we don’t see God’s goodness and love in the fact that God the Father rules and governs all creatures, but that we see His goodness and love to me, as He comes to me, to us, as our God and our Father!

     Of course, beloved, God the Father rules and governs all things, including the devil and all our enemies, but that doesn’t make Him their Father! Just the fact that they can live and flourish, doesn’t show God’s love to them; as Peter puts it, “the Lord holds the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” [2, 2:9] The same applies to the devil and his evil spirits; the Lord is holding them in remand for their due sentence and punishment. God our Father certainly shows His goodness and love in His providence and government of this world, but not to all people; just to His children! As Peter writes in that same epistle as well, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [3:9] That’s what we learn from God’s Word, and only when you consider the events in this world in the light of this word, will you receive the proper insight in what’s going on around us! That’s why it’s usually the people who do not know the Word correctly or do not listen to it carefully, who become confused, senseless, and ignorant, the way Asaph did at first!

     Then how did Asaph get back on track, beloved, and to the proper understanding? He looked at the bigger picture of what God is doing in this world, and particularly with him and his people Israel. He wrote his Psalm after he had entered the sanctuary of God, like we have done this afternoon, and then he understood their final destiny; yet, also his own privileged position: I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand; you guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory! Speaking about God’s goodness and love for a miserable sinner like Asaph; yes, and consider what destiny he believes and confesses: “Surely, God is good to Israel!” ‘Surely,’ that’s the word expressing his amazement, when he heard God’s Word, saw God’s grace, and understood the need for sacrifices, by which the one sacrifice of Christ for all the sins of His people was foreshadowed! “Praise the LORD,” he must have said, as we did with our song of worship in Psalm 147, “Great is the LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit!” Asaph was reminded of the promises of the LORD and the steadfast love of the LORD and of His faithfulness! God is good, he said!

     You see, beloved, that’s what we confess in LD 10 as well: that’s where the church of Christ confesses her faith, because they have seen God as their Father in Christ [LD 9]. In LD 10 God’s children confess their only comfort for body and soul again, both in life and in death, because they know themselves bought with the precious blood of Christ, they know the grace of God for all their sins, and the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood! Of course, then you still see the misery in the world and in the brokenness that shows in your own life, your own body; from experience, you know about rain and shine, about health and sickness, riches and poverty. At least, with the apostle Paul, I can say as well, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength!” [Phil. 4:12-13] Do we not confess it at every baptism again: this life is nothing but a constant death?! And yet, and yet, I am comforted, by God’s promises!

     With LD 10, NGB art 13, and Psalm 73, we have to do more, beloved, than looking around in this world, considering our lives: we must listen to God the Father, who comes to us in His Word, and says: nothing can separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, death can’t nor life, angels nor demons, height nor depth…; so, would cancer, a heart attack, Parkinson’s, or whatever other terrible thing could befall me? Of course, when that happens that’s hard, that’s terrible; we’re just people like all others; yet, we are comforted by God’s promises, God’s nearness, God’s power, in life and in death – He keeps all things in check, keeping us in His hand! God is good!

2. It’s the hand of our powerful God

     Not only is this confession regarding our good God challenged today, brothers and sisters, also the belief that God is almighty and powerful in His government is denied. It’s ironic, actually, because the reason for this denial is the fact that people want to believe that God is good and loving, and therefore cannot believe that He can help it when there is misery, adversity, poverty, and death. Even more, it would be absolutely wrong, they say, to link God with the realities of wars and disasters! It cannot be true that God has anything to do with the suffering due to cancer or with accidents, or a mall fire in which so many children lose their lives [Russia], or with the suffering due to Aids here in Africa and with hunger. You have to keep God out of it; He only is an empathetic bystander, who cannot stop it. It’s all the devil’s work and the work of wicked people, but we have to ban hunger and poverty, we have to do research to fight cancer and aids, and we have to prevent accidents!

     Now it is true, indeed, beloved, that we are responsible for much of what happens. God’s providence doesn’t mean that our lives are all programmed and that it doesn’t make a difference what you do, since it all works out as planned anyway. No, the Bible certainly maintains man’s responsibility, which God gave him when He created man. He will continue to hold each man accountable for his deeds, be that good or evil. God may not expect us to solve all the world’s problems, but He will ask us what we have done where we could help and make a difference. He will hold us responsible if and when we have fattened our own pockets at the expense of the work of His church and kingdom, or of the poverty and suffering in the world. We cannot hide behind God’s providence in the sense that we resign to the fact that it’s too bad that those other people in Africa have such a rough life while we’re so well off. God does not take our responsibility away from us in any task or calling or opportunity we have!

     At the same time, beloved, this does not mean that God will give His work out of His hands, or will allow the devil and wicked people snatch anything from His hands. He is the almighty God and His hands are very powerful; what He wants to do He does, and what He has decided in His plan must be done, He does! Just imagine, that we should say that God has nothing to do with misery and suffering, because that’s all in the devil’s power or in the hands of wicked men; this would mean that the devil and wicked men have their own power outside of the almighty and all-encompassing power of God! How unsafe the world would be and how insecure God’s people! What good would it do them if God would have to share the power with the devil and the wicked people?! That would be the end to every safety and security! We could never sing with our fellow-children of God, “For God will never those disown who put their trust in Him alone.” You couldn’t trust Him completely in His power, because He’d be limited!

     No, beloved, we know God the Father from His Word as the one who holds all things in His hand. Not even a hair could fall from your head without His will! He is almighty! He is in control, even when evil and harm happens to us. Think of Joseph, who said to his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good!” “And we know,” says Paul, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Of course, man keeps his responsibility; hence, the Lord Jesus says about Judas, “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born!” Yet, it was the love of the Father when He let Him go to be betrayed, arrested, condemned, and crucified; even when the Father let go of Him and Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” to save us!

3. It’s the hand of our heavenly Father

     God the Father governs all things as with His hand, brothers and sisters, and this is de hand of our good God, our powerful God; it’s also the hand of our heavenly Father. He will not let us go! God’s providence is His almighty and ever present power. That means, among other things, what we confess in NGB article 13 as well, that He is there in whatever happens in this world. He is involved by His presence and power and direction, also as our heavenly Father. Especially with us, His precious children, He is involved and with them He is busy, whatever befalls us! Even though He sends out His angels to minister to His elect (Hebr. 1:14), He never let anyone or anything take over, or let anyone take us or snatch us out of His hand! He is our Father in His way with our life, even when He permits misery and trouble to befall us, which He will turn to our benefit! He knows the wicked from afar, but He is near to those who love Him!

     That’s also how you may enter upon the new week, beloved, not only with the power and newness of life in Jesus Christ but also in the care of your heavenly Father. This doesn’t mean that He is there, vaguely, unnoticeably, as the God who is everywhere present; no, He comes along with you, He is at your right hand, and He carries you, especially through those difficult times! He is there for you, not only when everything is going for you but also and especially when you’re going through a difficult period in your life! He knows! He helps! He keeps you safe, not only at home but also in the busy-ness of life, of traffic, and of pressures in relationships. You can entrust your children to His love and care, whether they go to school, College, or University, or are at home, at work, or elsewhere in the world. You may and must entrust them to His Fatherly care in prayer; also your loved ones, your brothers and sisters in the Lord, etc. When you go through times of sorrow and sadness, you may cry to Him and ask Him: hold on to me, Father, and guide me! When you’re lonely and weak, you may pray for His power to help you carry your burdens! He knows, He hears, and He helps!

     That’s, also, how we confess the providence of our heavenly Father, beloved, who helps us to be thankful in prosperity, patient in adversity, and with a view to the future have confidence in Him! This does mean indeed, that you might encounter adversity, yet then the Father is with you just the same, in that misery, in that illness, and in that time of distress. He will help you by His Spirit to make you patient, not in a fatalistic way, resigning to your fate, but in the certain faith that He will use it, work with it, and convert such misery to your good! He wants to draw you even more closely to Himself with cords of love! By faith you will then also recognize and confess His grace and goodness in your life when He blesses you and grants you prosperity, to make you thankful, because you recognize His Fatherly hand. Thus you can go on in life, in the hope of faith, certain as you may be that your life is hidden with Christ in God! He will not let go of you, now or ever! Amen!


Geliefde gemeente van ons HERE Jesus Christus

Weereens, broeders en susters, wil die Heidelbergse Kategismus ons aandag fokus op God die Vader en ons skepping.  In Artikel 1 van die Apostoliese geloofsbelydenis, bely ons ons geloof in God, die almagtige, die Skepper van hemel en aarde.  Sondag 10 brei meer uit oor ‘n aspek wat genoem is in Sondag 9, naamlik sy ewige raad en voorsienigheid.  Verlede week het ons gesien hoe God die Vader sy plan vir hierdie wêreld laat uitwerk deur sy plan van verlossing.  Vir daardie doeleinde regeer en bestuur Hy alle dinge deur sy hand.  Dit is sy voorsienigheid waaroor ons hier bely in Sondag 10.  In die katkisasieklas het ons mooi gekyk na wat die woord voorsienigheid, wat ons hier in Sondag 10 bely, beteken, want dit lyk na ‘n moeilike woord, maar as ons na die kernwoord hierin kyk, naamlik voorsien, dan kan ons fokus op die werk van ons hemelse Vader: Hy handhaaf, onderhou en regeer alle dinge deur sy Vaderlike hande.  Dit is belangrik vir ons kinders om te leer om in die HERE te glo, om Hom te vertrou met hul hele hart en Hom te ken deur sy noue betrokkenheid in ons lewens.  Ons moet almal dit steeds voortdurend bly  leer, want ons word almal geleer om vertroos te word, hier en nou, in hierdie wêreld van lower en gras, reën en droogte, gesondheid en siekte, ens.

In daardie wêreld, geliefdes, en in hierdie lewe van ons, gebeur dinge nie toevallig nie, dit bely ons, maar deur God se vader-hande.  Beteken dit dat God hande het?  Ons sien hierdie beeldspraak inderdaad dikwels in die Skrif, in die Psalms, deur die profete, ens.  Sondag 10 gebruik hierdie beeldspraak self tot drie keer toe.  God is nie ‘n mens soos ons nie; Hy is ‘n Gees, ‘n geestelike wese, soos wat ons bely in NGB Artikel 1.  God het inderdaad nie hande, of oë, of ore nie, al word hierdie beeldspraak in die Bybel gebruik, maar dit is die taal wat gebruik word om Hom en sy werke aan ons verstaanbaar te maak.  Onthou, ons is altyd besig om te leer om te glo, om te vertrou en om God en sy weë te verstaan en dan praat die HERE as ‘n Vader met ons in ‘n taal wat ons verstaan.  Ons doen dit ook wanneer ons met ons kinders en kleinkinders praat; dan praat ons so eenvoudig moontlik.  Dit is waarom God in sy Woord met ons praat oor sy hande en oë en ore, oom ons te wys dat Hy daar is vir ons en dat Hy ons sien, ons hoor.  Dan wys Hy ook dat Hy aktief besig en betrokke is by alles wat met ons in hierdie wêreld gebeur, en dat Hy alles onderhou met sy eie hand!

Dit is waaroor ek weer vanmiddag mag praat, geliefdes: oor die wêreld van son en reën, van landou en ekonomie, van mediese wetenskap en arbeid, van rykdom en armoede.  Dit is ‘n wêreld waarin ons baie sien wat ons nie kan verstaan of peil nie, soos aaklige dinge soos oorloë, rampe, rewolusies, terroristiese aanvalle, aardbewings, kanker, net om ‘n paar te noem.  Hoe gebeur dit toevallig?  Is God die Vader se hand daarin?  Is Hy daardie hoër mag waaroor mense praat en oor deurmekaar raak, omdat hulle nie kan glo dat ‘n goeie God of ‘n liefdevolle Vader hierdie dinge met sy eie hand kan laat gebeur nie?  Wel, dit is waaroor Sondag 10 handel, en dit is vir ons troos dat ons sy voorsienigheid bely, wat beteken:

Tema: God die Vader regeer met sy hand

  1. Dit is die hand van ons goeie God
  2. Dit is die hand van ons almagtige God
  3. Dit is die hand van ons hemelse Vader 

1. Dit is die hand van ons goeie God

God is goed!  Glo u dit, broeders en susters?  Dit is wat ons oor Hom bely in NGB artikel 13, “die goeie God…dit nie laat vaar of aan die toeval of geluk oorgegee het nie, maar dit volgens sy heilige wil so bestuur en regeer dat in hierdie wêreld niks sonder sy beskikking gebeur nie”.  God se goedheid en sy liefde is gewoonlik die struikelblok vir mense wat onbekend is met God se Woord.  Hoe kan jy sê dat God goed is terwyl jy al die ellende in die wêreld sien?!  Dalk is dit nie net jou buurman wat met hierdie vrae worstel nie; dalk weet jy self ook nie hoe om al hierdie oorloë, oproeringe, rampe en allerlei ander aaklige realiteite van hierdie wêreld te plaas nie?  Vind dit plaas deur God se bestuur, ons goeie God?  En wat van die moeites van die kerk, die vervolginge van God se kinders en die algemene afname en verval van die kerk in die Westerse wêreld; bestuur God dit ook?  Hoe is dit moontlik dat die Satan so suksesvol kan wees dat hy ‘n hele generasie van die HERE af trek, kerke leegmaak en valse gelowe laat toeneem.  Steeds bely ons ons geloof en vertroue, omdat ons weet dat God die duiwel en ons vyande in beheer het sodat hulle ons nie sonder sy toestemming en wil kan seermaak nie.

Die skrywer van Psalm 73, geliefdes, het met hierdie selfde vrae geworstel.  Hy het geworstel met die aanskouing van die welstand en voorspoed van die bose, dit terwyl die bose mense soveel afbreek en hartseer kan veroorsaak en skade en dood kan bring!  Wanneer jy om jou kyk, sê Asaf, sien jy dat die HERE nie net die goddelose se lewe handhaaf nie, Hy seën hulle met gesondheid, welstand en voorspoed: “In die moeite van sterwelinge is hulle nie, en saam met ander mense word hulle nie gepla nie” (vers 5).  Dit het Asaf jaloers gemaak, dit het hom verly om te dink en te sê: “Waarlik, tevergeefs het ek my hart rein gehou en my hande in onskuld gewas” (vers 13).  Dit is beter vir jou om egoïsties en selfsugtig te wees, na jouself om te sien, want ander gaan dit nie vir jou doen nie.  Is dit nie hoe dit dikwels voorkom nie?

Ek is seker, geliefdes, dat ons almal al daardie velydende gedagtes ervaar het toe ons gedink dat die lewe van ons bure baie meer prettig en plesierig voorkom as ons eie lewens, veral wanneer hulle die Sondagmiddag by die swembad of by die strand deurbring en ons in die kerk moet sit.  Nog so ‘n verlyding het te doen met die finansiële uitgawes wat gelowiges weglê om vir kerk en skool te betaal – stel jouself net voor wat jy als met daardie geld kan doen vir jou eie plesier?!  En wanneer dit by jou belastingopgawes en sake-ooreenkomste kom, kan jy ook nie risiko’s loop nie, of die syfers manipuleer nie of die fynskrif gebruik om jou kliënte te mislei nie.  Wanneer dit by kontrakte kom, werk jou kompetisie op Sondae, gee hy nie om oor die lone van sy werkers nie, en gebruik hy duistere maniere om jou te flous of die kliënt te bedrieg.  Dis baie makliker vir ongelowiges om besigheid te dryf, altans, so lyk dit!

Bestuur God die Vader ook al hierdie dinge deur sy hand, geliefdes, en doen Hy dit as ons goeie God?  Kan dit waar wees?  Wel, ja, Hy doen dit en dit is waar en reg!  Toe Asaf sy psalm geskryf het, het hy reeds sy observasies gemaak en tot sy eerste indrukke gekom, maar hy het nog veel meer gesien.  Daarom begin hy sy lied deur te sê: “Waarlik, God is goed vir Israel, vir die wat rein van hart is”.  Asaf het tot die besef gekom van hoe kortsigtig hy was toe hy net gegaan het op wat op die oog af sigbaar is: “…toe was ek dom en het niks geweet nie; ek was ‘n dier by U…” (vers 22).  Wat het veroorsaak dat hy die waarheid gesien het, die ware realiteit?  God se werk van versoening in die tempel!  Op dieselfde manier wil Sondag 10 ook ons wys maak oor versoening.  Hoe?  Deur versigtig na die HERE te luister!  Sien u, dat Sondag 10 dan vir ons uitwys dat ons nie God se goedheid en liefde sien in hoe Hy ale skepsels regeer nie, maar ons sien sy goedheid en liefde aan my soos wat Hy na my toe kom, as ons Vader!

Natuurlik onderhou en regeer God die Vader alle dinge, geliefdes, insluitend die duiwel en al ons vyande, maar dit maak Hom nie hul Vader nie!  Alleen die blote feit dat hulle lewe en floreer, bewys nie God se liefde aan hulle nie; soos Petrus dit stel: “…die Here weet om die goddeloses uit versoeking te verlos en die onregverdiges te bewaar vir die dag van oordeel om gestraf te word…” (2 Petrus 2:9).  Dieselfde geld vir die duiwel en die bose geeste; die Here hou hulle in hegtenis tot hul verwagte vonnisoplegging en straf.  God ons Vader wys verseker sy goedheid en liefde in sy voorsienigheid en regering van hierdie wêreld, maar nie aan alle mense nie; net aan sy kinders!  Wanneer Petrus in daardie selfde brief ook skryf “Die Here vertraag nie die belofte soos sommige dit vertraging ag nie, maar Hy is lankmoedig oor ons en wil nie hê dat sommige moet vergaan nie, maar dat almal tot bekering moet kom” (2 Pet 3:9).  Dit is wat ons van God se Woord leer en slegs wanneer jy die gebeure van hierdie wêreld in die lig van hierdie Woord sien, sal jy die regte insig kry in wat om ons aan die gang is!  Dit is waarom mense wat nie die Woord reg ken nie, of nie mooi na dit luister nie, deurmekaar, sinneloos of onkundig raak soos Asaf eers was!

Hoe het Asaf dan die pad weer gevind, geliefdes, en tot die goeie insig gekom?  Hy het gekyk na die groter prentjie van wat God besig is om in hierdie wêreld te doen, en veral met hom en sy volk Israel.  Hy het hierdie Psalm geskryf nadat hy die heiligdom van God betree het, soos wat ons vanmiddag gedoen het en toe het hy verstaan wat hul eindbestemming was, asook sy eie bevoorregte posisie: “Nogtans is ek altyddeur by U; U het my regterhand gevat.  U sal my lei deur U raad en my daarna in heerlikheid opneem” (Ps 73:23,24).  Hier praat ons van God se goedheid en liefde aan ‘n ellendige sondaar soos Asaf, ja, en neem in ag in watter bestemming hy glo en bely: “Waarlik, God is goed vir Israel…” (Ps 73:1).  ‘Waarlik’ is die woord wat gebruik word om sy bewondering uit te druk toe hy God se Woord gehoor het, God se barmhartigheid en genade gesien het en die behoefte aan offers verstaan het, waardeur die een offer van Christus vir al die sonde van sy mense voorafgeskadu is.  “Loof die HERE”, moes hy gesê het, soos wat ons uitgeroep het in ons loflied van Psalm 147, “Ons Here is groot en ryk aan krag; sy verstand is oneindig” (Ps 147:5)!  Asaf was herinner aan die beloftes van die HERE en die troue liefde van die HERE en van sy getrouheid!  God is goed, het hy gesê.

U sal sien, geliefdes, dat dit ook is wat ons bely in Sondag 10: dit is waar die kerk van Christus haar geloof bely, want hulle het God gesien as hul Vader in Christus (Sondag 9).  In Sondag 10 bely God se kinders weer hul enigste troos vir liggaam en siel, in beide lewe en sterwe, omdat hulle weet dat hulle met die kosbare bloed van Christus gekoop is, hulle ken die genade van God oor hul sondes en die vergifnis van sonde in Christus se bloed.  Natuurlik sien jy dan steeds die ellende in die wêreld en die gebrokenheid in jou eie lewe, jou eie liggaam; vanuit ervaring weet jy van reën en droogte, gesondheid en siekte, rykdom en armoede.  Ten minste kan ek, saam met Paulus sê: “Ek weet om verneder te word, ek weet ook om oorvloed te hê; in elke opsig en in alle dinge is ek onderrig: om versadig te word sowel as om honger te ly,om oorvloed te hê sowel as om gebrek te ly.  Ek is tot alles in staat deur Christus wat my krag gee.” (Fil 4:12-13).  Bely ons dit nie weer by elke doop nie: hierdie lewe is niks anders as ‘n voortdurende sterwe nie?!  En steeds word ek getroos deur God se beloftes!

Met Sondag 10, NGB art 13 en Psalm 73 moet ons meer doen as net om ons te kyk in hierdie wêreld, met betrekking tot ons lewe: ons moet luister na God die Vader wat na ons toe kom in sy Woord en sê: “Want ek is versekerd dat geen dood of lewe of engele of owerhede of magte of teenwoordige of toekomende dinge of hoogte of diepte of enige ander skepsel ons sal kan skei van die liefde van God wat daar in Chrisuts Jesus, onse Here, is nie” (Rom 8:38-39); so wat as kanker, ‘n hartaanval, Parkinsons, of watter aaklige ding ook my oorval?  Natuurlik is dit moeilik wanneer so iets gebeur, dis moeilik, dis verskriklik, ons is brose mense; en tog word ons vertroos deur God se beloftes, God se nabyheid, God se mag, in lewe en in sterwe – Hy hou alle dinge in stand, Hy hou ons in sy hand!  God is goed!

2. Dit is die hand van ons almagtige God

Hierdie belydenis aangaande ons goeie God word vandag nie slegs bestry nie, broers en susters, maar die oortuiging dat God almagtig en kragtig in sy regering is, word ontken. Dit is eintlik ironies, want die rede vir hierdie ontkenning is die feit dat mense wil glo dat God goed en liefdevol is, en daarom nie kan glo dat Hy iets daaraan kan doen wanneer daar ellende, teenspoed, armoede en dood kom nie. Erger nog, dit sou heeltemal verkeerd wees, sê hulle, om God te verbind met die realiteite van oorloë en rampe! Dit kan nie waar wees dat God enigiets te make het met die lyding weens kanker nie, of met ongelukke, brand in ‘n winkelsentrum waar soveel kinders hul lewens verloor (Rusland), of met die lyding weens VIGS of honger hier in Afrika nie. Jy moet God daaruit hou; Hy is slegs ‘n empatieke omstander wat dit nie kan stop nie. Dit is alles die duiwel se werk en die werk van bose mense, maar ons moet die honger en armoede verdryf, ons moet die navorsing doen om kanker en VIGS te bestry en ons moet ongelukke voorkom!

Nou is dit inderdaad waar, geliefdes, dat ons verantwoordelik is vir baie dinge wat gebeur. God se voorsienigheid beteken nie dat ons almal se lewens geprogrammeer is en dat dit nie saak maak wat jy doen nie, aangesien dit alles elk geval uitwerk soos dit beplan is nie. Nee, die Bybel handhaaf sekerlik die mens se verantwoordelikheid wat God hom gegee het toe Hy hom geskape het. Hy sal voortgaan om elke mens aanspreeklik te hou vir sy dade, goed of sleg. God verwag dalk nie van ons om die wêreld se probleme op te los nie, maar Hy sal ons wel vra wat ons gedoen het daar waar ons kon help en ‘n verskil kon maak. Hy sal ons verantwoordelik hou as ons ons eie sakke volgemaak het ten koste van die werk van sy kerk en koninkryk, of van die armoede en lyding in die wêreld. Ons kan nie wegkruip agter God se voorsienigheid in die mate dat ons ons neerlê by die feit dat dit tog so jammer is dat die ander mense in Afrika so ‘n rowwe lewe het terwyl ons so wel af is nie. God neem ons verantwoordelikheid nie weg van ons in enige taak of roeping of geleentheid wat ons het nie!

Terselfdertyd, geliefdes, beteken dit nie dat God sy werk uit die hande sal gee nie, of sal toelaat dat die duiwel en bose mense enigiets uit sy hande sal ruk nie. Hy is die almagtige God en sy hande is baie kragtig; wat Hy wil doen, doen Hy, en wat Hy in sy plan besluit het gedoen moet word, dit doen Hy! Stel u voor, dat ons moes sê dat God niks met ellende en lyding te doen het nie, want dit is alles in die duiwel se mag of in die hande van bose mense; dit sou beteken dat die duiwel en bose mense hul eie krag buite die almagtige en alles omvattende krag van God het! Hoe onveilig sou die wêreld nie wees nie, en hoe onseker God se kinders! Watter voordeel sou hulle daaruit trek as God die krag met die duiwel en die bose mense moes deel? Dit sou die einde wees van alle veiligheid en sekuriteit! Ons sou nooit saam met al God se kinders kon sing dat Hy nooit sal verlaat dié wat hul vertroue op Hom alleen stel nie. Jy sou Hom nie volledig kon vertrou in sy krag nie, want Hy sou beperk wees!

Nee, geliefdes, ons ken God die Vader vanuit sy Woord as die Een wat alle dinge in sy hand hou. Nie eens ‘n haar kan van jou kop val buite sy wil nie. Hy is almagtig! Hy is in beheer, selfs wanneer slegte en skadelike ding met ons gebeur. Dink aan Josef, wat vir sy broers gesê het: “Want julle het wel kwaad teen my bedink, maar God het dit ten goede gedink...”. “En ons weet”, sê Paulus, “dat vir hulle wat God liefhet, alles ten goede meewerk, vir hulle wat na sy voorneme geroep is.” Natuurlik, die mens behou sy verantwoordelikheid; daarom sê die Here Jesus oor Judas: “Wee daardie man deur wie die Seun van die mens verraai word! Dit sou vir hom goed gewees het as daardie man nie gebore was nie!” Nogtans was dit die liefde van die Vader toe Hy Hom laat gaan het om verraai, in hegtenis geneem, veroordeel en gekruisig te word; selfs toe die Vader Hom losgelaat het en Jesus uitgeroep het “My God, my God, waarom het U my verlaat?”, om ons te red!          

3. Dit is die hand van ons hemelse Vader

God die Vader regeer alle dinge deur sy hand, broeders en susters, en dit is die hand van ons goeie God, ons almagtige God; dit is ook die hand van ons hemelse Vader.  Hy sal ons nie verlaat nie!  God se voorsienigheid is sy almagtige alomteenwoordige krag.  Dit beteken, onder andere, wat ons ook in NGB art 13 bely, dat Hy daar is in wat ook al in die wêreld gebeur.  Hy is betrokke deur sy teenwoordigheid en krag en bestuur, ook as ons hemelse Vader.  Veral met ons, sy kosbare kinders, Hy is betrokke en met hulle is Hy besig met hulle, in wat ook al oor hul pad kom!  Selfs al stuur Hy sy engele om die uitverkorenes te bedien (Heb 1:14), laat Hy niemand of enige iets oorneem nie, of laat Hy toe dat iemand ons uit sy hand wegraap nie!  Hy is ons Vader in sy manier met ons lewe, selfs al laat hy ellende en moeilikheid toe op ons lewenspad, wat Hy sal laat meewerk ten goede!  Hy sien die nederige aan en die hoogmoedige ken Hy uit die verte. (Ps 138:6)  Hy is naby die wat Hom liefhet!

Dit is ook hoe u die week mag ingaan, geliefdes, nie net met die krag van nuwe lewe in Jesus Christus nie, maar ook in die sorg van u hemelse Vader.  Dit beteken nie dat Hy vaagweg of ongemerk daar is nie, maar as die God wat alomteenwoordig is.  Hy kom saam met jou, Hy is aan jou regterhand en Hy dra jou, veral deur die moeilike tye!  Hy is daar vir jou, nie net wanneer alles vir jou uitwerk nie, maar ook en veral wanneer jy deur ‘n moeilike tyd in jou lewe gaan!  Hy weet!  Hy help!  Hy hou jou veilig, nie net tuis nie, maar ook in die alledaagse besige lewe, in die verkeer, of in die druk van verhoudings.  Jy kan jou kinders aan sy liefde en sorg toevertrou, wanneer hulle na Universiteit of skool gaan, of tuis is of by die werk is, of enige plek in die wêreld. Jy mag en moet hulle toevertrou aan sy Vaderlike sorg in gebed; ook jou geliefdes, jou broers en susters in die Here ens.  Wanneer jy deur tye van hartseer en verdriet gaan, mag jy roep tot Hom en Hom vra: hou my vas, Vader, en lei my!  Wanneer jy alleen en swak is, mag jy bid vir sy krag om jou laste te dra! Hy weet, Hy hoor, en Hy help!

Dit is ook hoe ons die voorsienigheid van ons hemelse Vader bely, geliefdes.  Hy wat ons help om dankbaar in voorspoed te wees, geduldig in teenspoed, en vertroue op Hom te hê as ons na die toekoms kyk.  Dit beteken inderdaad dat jy teenspoed mag ervaar, en tog is die Vader dan met jou op dieselfde manier, in daardie ellende, daardie siekte, daardie tyd van nood. Hy sal jou deur sy Gees help om geduldig te wees, nie op ‘n fatalistiese manier waar jy jou neerlê by jou lot nie, maar in die vaste geloof dat Hy dit gaan gebruik, met dit gaan werk, en die ellende gaan omskep tot jou beswil!  Hy wil jou selfs nog nader aan Hom trek met koorde van liefde!  Deur geloof sal jy dan ook sy genade en goedheid in jou lewe herken en bely wanneer Hy jou seën en jou voorspoed verleen, om jou dankbaar te maak, want jy herken sy Vaderlike hand.  So kan jy verder gaan in die lewe, in die hoop van geloof, so versekerd soos wat jy kan wees dat jou lewe veilig met Christus is in God! Hy sal jou nie loslaat nie, nou en vir ewig!



Ps. 147: 1, 2, 3; Ps. 73: 1, 6, 7; SB 17: 1, 2, 5, 6; Apostles Creed + SB 35: 1, 2, 3; Ps. 24: 1, 2, 3. Reading: Ps. 73, NGB art. 13; text: LD 10.