Prosperity is also spelled out with examples and applications. Sometimes God uses understanding to confuse thoughts. In this way, the outcome can still be God’s will. Calvin uses Job to explain the thoughts of the human mind. Job understood that he was under the control of God’s hand; therefore whatever comes out of him would be good. Numerous contemporary examples could be used today (there is no shortage of evil, suffering, and pain). However, we do receive good things too. When goods or gifts are presented, we need to be thankful to source of the delivery and to God.
The number of evils may be easier to identify today than during Calvin's time. He lists a ship, riding a horse, tiles on a roof, and weapons in your hand as possible things that can cause harm to you (or death, a roof tile to the head could inflict as much danger as a horse landing on you). He also warns about building a wall. If there were a large walled property, it may keep danger out and a serpent in (today we think of a fire truck waiting for a driveway gate to open to put the fire out). Although there are many dangers, trusting in God should give us relief (from anxiety as Calvin put it in section 11). One of my favorite areas of this week was, the devil and his crew can only do what God allows (Lane, p. 62 and Calvin, p. 224).
I was a little intimidated about writing about On God’s “repentance”. Calvin explains it in a way that calms any fears of writing. God can correct human action (or lack of action) in a way that God knows what is best. God is not angered in the same way we see humankind angry. It is explained in a way that catches the attention and corrects the behavior. This is means that God is not changed, but it is the human mind or action that is changed.
The last part of this section concludes with how God uses the actions of evil. We see that Satan attempts to destroy Job and Pilate attempts to destroy Jesus. In all things, God prevails and good overcomes evil according to God’s purpose.
The biggest problem I think I had this week was reconciling all things that happen as a result of evil. Then I remember that God has a purpose to makes things good. My question this week is: How many times do we see evil and try to decide if we are the intermediaries that Calvin describes? Or do we leave things as they are as Calvin describes God’s will without an intermediary?
Lane’s Question: What are the practical benefits of the doctrine of providence? I think the benefits are clear. They definitely help with the struggles of daily life. If we accept pain and trials as a gift (learning or changing behavior), we may seek God’s will in changing or learning something.