Rom 9:17-20 The Secret Providence of God 4/19/2015

  • The 7th Plague in Egypt (Ex 9:13-30)





#1. For This Cause Have I Raised Thee Up (Rom 9:17, Prov 16:4)





  • Where Is Pharaoh's Responsibility? (John 3:18-19, John 6:44, Acts 15:17-18)





#2. Does God Harden Hearts? (Rom 9:18, II Cor 2:16, John 12:39-40)





  • Who Art Thou That Repliest Against God? (Rom 9:19-20, Jude 4, John 8:34, Isa 55:8-9)





#3. God's Decree of Reprobation (Isa 10:5-6,12,15-16)





  • Be Not Afraid of the Assyrian (Isa 10:24-26, Matt 10:28)




Please open to the second prophecy in your Bibles, the Prophecy of Exodus, chapter 9:13 (2X). The title of this sermon is "The Secret Providence of God" (2X). But before we delve into the Secret Providence of God we must first read part of this chapter in Exodus. The Children of Israel were in Egypt for almost 430 years, they were severely oppressed by the Egyptians for a goodly portion of those 430 years, Moses returned from his self imposed exile from Egypt because God commanded him to do so, and Moses demanded from Pharaoh that he should let the Hebrew slaves go free. This was no small request. Including women and children there were at least 2 million Hebrew slaves in Egypt. But since Pharaoh did not want to let the Hebrew slaves go free, God sent a total of ten plagues upon the land of Egypt, to put pressure on Pharaoh that he should let the Hebrew slaves go free. Now we jump right in the middle of those plagues. We read here about the 7th plague.

  • The 7th Plague in Egypt (Ex 9:13-30). We read in Ex 9:13 the declaration of God's will,

Exodus 9:13 And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.

Exodus 9:14 For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.

Exodus 9:15 For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.

Paraphrased God said in verse 14, "Now I will send my plagues, and touch those things that are dear to your heart, in order that you may know that I am the God of all the earth". What was dear to Pharaoh's heart? The physical prosperity of Egypt was dear to his heart. That is why he wanted to keep the Hebrew slaves. Now we come to verse 15. Verse 15 is an anomaly, the way it has been translated in the KJV. At no time in the past, or in the future, was the land of Egypt smitten with a pestilence from God such as this. The problem is in the translation of the tenses. Literally the Hebrew text of verse 15 reads as follows: "For had I stretched out my hand and should have caused to be smitten thee and thy people with pestilence, thou wouldest have been cut off from the earth" (2X). With this translation verse 15 fits harmoniously between verse 14 and 16. Now these ominous words:

Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Exodus 9:17 As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?

Exodus 9:18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.

Exodus 9:19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.

Moses, this is what you must say to Pharaoh tomorrow. Now go to sleep and get up early in the morning. Do you think Moses had a good night rest? Moses probably rehearsed these words from God all night, to make sure that he did say in the morning exactly what God had said, because that was important. Is this what we would do? This is indeed what we must do when we hear the Word of God. We want to make sure that we understand exactly what God said. But how many people go to church, hear the Word of God, and go home forgetting what God said. May that not be our attitude!

Exodus 9:20 He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:

Ex 9:21 And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.

The Egyptians were divided. There were some who believed Moses, but the majority of them still clung to their idols. Those that trusted in their idols were struck down by hail and by lightning. Now the day of God's judgment had arrived, and God said to Moses in verse 22,

Exodus 9:22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.

Exodus 9:23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt.

Exodus 9:24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

Exodus 9:25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.

Exodus 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

The hail and the fire symbolized the wrath of God. This plague symbolized the wrath of God upon all the unsaved people in the world. This made Pharaoh fear.

Exodus 9:27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.

Exodus 9:28 Intreat the LORD (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.

Exodus 9:29 And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD'S.

Exodus 9:30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.

It seems that Pharaoh has a change of heart. Pharaoh said: "I have sinned". But we know that Pharaoh and his servants and his counselors and his magicians again hardened their hearts all the way down until the 10th plague had struck the land of Egypt. What do we see now in this chapter?

We see that this chapter speaks of election. The entire land of Egypt was subject to plagues, except the land of Goshen where the Hebrew people lived. God chose to be kind to the children of Israel; not because all the children of Israel were elect, but because their bondage in Egypt, and their deliverance from Egypt, was a grandiose picture of our salvation through the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible God speaks about election and about reprobation. Buried within this passage are the words of verse 16, which speak about God's reprobation.

Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Wow! Do we read that right? God said:

#1. For This Cause Have I Raised Thee Up (Rom 9:17, Prov 16:4)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 9:17 (2X). There in Rom 9:17 God repeated this verse from Ex 9:16. Why did I switch to Rom 9? Why am I here in Rom 9? Perhaps I should remind you that this is the 4th sermon on Rom 9. I am bound and determined to cover all that is in this chapter. The first sermon was titled "Isaac and Ishmael", from Rom 9:6-9, where I brought up the fact that the Israel of God are those that are the "Children of the Promise". The first example of "Children of the Promise" was Isaac. The second example of "Children of the Promise" was Jacob, whereas God hated Esau. This was the second sermon titled "The Birthright", from Rom 9:9-13, where the idea of the reprobate was introduced. Then the question was raised in verse 14: "Is there unrighteousness with God"? Definitely not! The answer to this question is given in two steps. The 1st step was God's answer to all the elect, which was the third sermon titled "I Will Have Mercy on Whom I Will Have Mercy", from Rom 9:14-16, where the third example of "Children of the Promise" was shown to be all the elect for whom Christ died. The 2nd step was God's answer to all the reprobates, which is today's sermon titled "The Secret Providence of God", from Rom 9:17-20, where the fourth example of "Children of the Promise" is given in a negative fashion: The reprobates are not "Children of the Promise". And so we read here in Rom 9:17,

Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

These ominous words were not only addressed to Pharaoh, but they are addressed to all the reprobates in the world. Bring this in the context of: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated". In God's sight the entire population of the world consists of Jacobs and Esaus, because there are only two groups of people in the world: Those who belong to God's elect, like Jacob, and those who belong to the reprobates, like Esau. Pharaoh is a reprobate, like Esau.

Now we are touching on the sensitive subject of "The Secret Providence of God". What is the Providence of God? Providence is the power of God that is sustaining and guiding human destiny (2X). It is derived from the verb "to provide". God provides for all the people in the world whatever they need. For His elect people God provides new souls and circumstances that lead them irresistibly to faith to believe God at His word, to submission and love for Christ, and to a desire to serve Christ in all their works. But for all the non-elect people, also called reprobates, God provides a hardening of their hearts and circumstances that lead them to further harden their hearts against God, against the laws of God, hatred against God's people, and against what God has written in His Word. God loves all His elect people, and God hates all the reprobates. Therefore providence is the power of God that is sustaining and guiding human destiny. And why is God's providence a secret? It is not a secret that God's power is sustaining and guiding human destiny. That has been known to all the faithful for as long as the NT is in existence, and it has been known to the secular world for as long as Webster's Dictionary has been in existence, which is at least 100 years. But it is a secret why God elects some to salvation and God reprobates others to pay for their own sins in Hell. It is God's secret why there are so many reprobates, and why there are so few of the elect. This is the secret of God's providence.

You can remember the meaning of the word "providence" by comparing it with "election". Election refers to the mind of God. Before the foundation of the world, or to state it better we would say: before the creation of this universe, God elected a certain number of people unto salvation. This list of people was printed in God's mind, because there was no pen and paper at that time. But how was God going to save these people? That is where providence comes in. Providence refers to the hands of God. Providence is the outworking of God's plan to save His elect people through a process that only God knows and understands. And in that process God also works out His plan to withhold from the reprobates repentance and faith, so that they will be subject to the just wrath of God in this life and in the life hereafter. Rom 9:17 speaks of the hands of God:

Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

This is a quotation from Ex 9:16. Now we understand why we were in Exodus for more than 10 minutes. When we see a quotation from the OT, we are obligated to look there in the OT, to understand the context. Paraphrased God says to Pharaoh: "It is for My glory that I have raised you up, and that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth". And "I will avenge all your misdeeds perpetrated on My people Israel, and I will drown you and your army in the Red Sea". Wait a minute. The entire Egyptian army had no choice in this matter, and they were drowned also in the Red Sea. What is God teaching us in this story? God is teaching us that they were representing all the reprobates who are going to be cast into Hell with their leader, Satan. Not one of them escaped. These were human bodies used by Pharaoh to commit crimes against the children of Israel. They were willing slaves of Pharaoh. Therefore God also punished them and drowned them with their offensive leader in the Red Sea, which is a picture of Hell. This is why God can cast the reprobates into Hell: It is because they sinned voluntarily (2X).

Put a sticker here in Rom 9, and please turn to Prov 16:4 (2X). Proverbs comes after Psalms, which is in the middle of your Bible. Here in Proverbs 16:4 is the providence of God on display. You may want to color this verse, or mark it up in such a way that you can easily find it again, and you would do well to give this as a memory verse to your children or to the Sunday School, because the providence of God is shown here as openly as in Rom 9:17. Look at this verse, Prov 16:4,

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Wow! Most people hate this verse as they hate Rom 9. Even when we massage this verse and try to extract from the Hebrew text its literal meaning, we come up with this literal translation:

Prov 16:4 Every work of Jehovah (is) for His purpose, and even the wicked (is) for the day of calamity

Are the wicked the work of God, and are they prepared by God for the day of calamity? That is what this verse says without any doubt. This verse is in the Bible. Do we believe this verse? If we do not believe it, we would be in violation of Rev 22:19, with the result that God would cast us into Hell. Here is the providence of God on display. These are God's hands, working out His plan. But then:

  • Where Is Pharaoh's Responsibility? (John 3:18-19, John 6:44, Acts 15:17-18)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John 3:18 (2X). In the NT we start with Matt, Mark, Luke and then John. The church I used to go believed this statement: God has His sovereignty, but man has his responsibility. Is that true? Is it our responsibility to reach out to Jesus and accept Him? Is it our responsibility to clean up our own life? They say: "Look what Christ has done for you; now you are responsible for keeping that great gift of salvation, and live a life pleasing to God". Is it our responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves? No! This is utter nonsense! Look at that word "responsibility". This word is a fusion of two parts: "response" and "ability". Before we were saved, did we have the ability to respond to reach out to Jesus and accept Him? Absolutely not! We were spiritually dead, and we were not able to do anything that was pleasing to God. Do we have the ability to clean up our own life? No! Before we were saved we had no ability like that whatsoever. After we are saved we will clean up our life; that is a sure thing, because we have received an urgent desire to do those things that are pleasing to God. Sanctification is a gift of God's grace out of His providence. Likewise, after we have been saved, we have no ability to keep that great gift of salvation. God gave it to us free of charge, and God is not leaving it up to us to keep that gift by our own works. The perseverance of the saints is a gift of God's grace out of His providence for His elect people.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Is it our responsibility to believe on Christ? No! Jesus said in John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him". It is God's responsibility to draw to Jesus all whom the Father has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Before God drew us to Jesus we were all unbelievers like the reprobates are, and we loved darkness rather than light, because our deeds were evil. Instead of the word "responsibility", we should use the word "accountability". We are not held responsible, but we are held accountable. Was it Pharaoh's responsibility to believe what Moses said? No! Just like the saints were elected before the foundation of the world, so Pharaoh was reprobated before the foundation of the world. Prov 16:4 and Rom 9:17 say it so plainly. But he will be held accountable before God for all the evil he has done. Please turn about 75 pages to your right , to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15:17 (2X). God was speaking through James, the half brother of Jesus, to all the delegates assembled at the first Jerusalem Council. What He said there surprised all the Jews in the audience. He reminded them, from the prophet Amos, that God would rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then God said in Acts 15:17,

Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

"All the Gentiles upon whom My name is called" is a reference to all the elect from among the Gentiles. I can see myself being addressed there by God, through James. And then follow the words: "saith the Lord, who doeth all these things". This speaks of the hands of God. Here is the providence of God for all His elect people. But the next verse, verse 18, also speaks of God's hands. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world". Here too is the providence of God in view, but now it is not just God providing for His elect people, but also providing for all the reprobates, because this verse speaks of "ALL His works". How does God provide for the reprobates?

#2. Does God Harden Hearts? (Rom 9:18, II Cor 2:16, John 12:39-40)

Please turn about 40 pages to your right , to Rom 9:18 (2X). God summarizes here what He has already said in verses 15,16, and 17. God says in verse 18,

Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Does God harden the hearts of reprobates? Yes! That is what this verse is saying very plainly: "Whom He will, He hardeneth". They are born with a hard heart, and God hardens their hearts even more as time goes on. That is exactly what we read here. Remember that the title of this sermon is: "The Secret Providence of God" (2X). God is absolutely sovereign in His election: "He hath mercy on whom he will", and God is absolutely sovereign in His reprobation: "Whom He will, He hardeneth". Can you say of Pharaoh: "It is his own fault that this wicked man is a reprobate"? Can you say that of Adolph Hitler, or of Joseph Stalin? No! This is utter nonsense. Man does not reprobate himself. We can see it clearly here in Rom 9. God works out His reprobation of man through the sinfulness of man. But reprobation, like election, took place before man was born, or had either done good or evil. From eternity past the absolutely sovereign God said within Himself: "For this purpose shall I raise thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth". This is the reason reprobates are born. Therefore, with God there is awful majesty. Not awful in the sense of what we understand today, but His majesty is full of awe. His majesty is full of wonder, and power, and mystery. For example we read in II Cor 2:16, "To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life". To the reprobates our Gospel carries a flavor of a death they want nothing to do with, but to the elect our Gospel carries a flavor of a life that they want to have. God hardened the hearts of the reprobates while they were under the hearing of the Gospel. For example, there are reprobates outside the church as well as in the church. People go to church every Sunday, they listen to the sermon, and when they leave church they are deader than when they entered. God hardened their hearts while they were in church. Another example: God assured Moses that Pharaoh would harden his heart. And this happened 10 times. But God hardened Pharaoh's heart first, because that is what we read here in Rom 9:18. God did that! God is absolutely sovereign. Please turn about 90 pages to your left , to the Gospel according to John, chapter 12:39 (2X). God sovereignly loves His elect, and they receive mercy. God sovereignly hates the reprobates, and they receive His hardening. Can there be unrighteousness with God? No! God is irreprehensible. I wrote that word on the board, so you can remember it. What does "irreprehensible" mean? It means you cannot attach any blame to Him. God cannot be blamed or criticized for anything He does. That is why we read also in John 12:39,

John 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

John 12:40 He (God) hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

God did that. God hardened their hearts. Please turn again to Rom 9. We continue with verse 19.

  • Who Art Thou That Repliest Against God? (Rom 9:19-20, Jude 4, John 8:34, Isa 55:8-9)

Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

This is a wicked objection. It is just as wicked as the suggestion in verse 14 that there might be unrighteousness with God. It proves that I have explained these verses correctly, otherwise they would not have objected to God's Word in this manner. Who are they who dare to reply this way against God? They are those who object to the sovereignty of God. They want a god who bows to the whims of man. They want a god who waits for man's response before He can do something. Therefor they have created their own little idol that is good for nothing. But this is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is omnipotent, and the God of the Bible foreordains what He brings to pass. Therefor God says in the Bible: "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation" (Jude 4). God before of old ordained them to condemnation. But we may never blame God. Adam did that: "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat". That was a wicked objection. He piled this sin on top of the sin of eating from the tree, and it shows the truth of Jesus' words when He said: "Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin". Our God is irreprehensible. He cannot be blamed for anything He does, because He is righteous in all that He does. If we do not understand all His works, we may not object, but we should remember:

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Where do we find a church these days that dares to preach the whole counsel of God? Why do people object to what they find in the Bible? Why do they not believe the whole Word of God? God is not on trial. The Word of God is not on trial. But mankind is on trial. Let us make this very practical: Do we believe the whole word of God? That is the test God places in front of us. Do we believe God?

Please turn now to the Prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 10:5 (2X). We see here a clear example of:

#3. God's Decree of Reprobation (Isa 10:5-6,12,15-16)

You find Isaiah right after Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. God prophesied here that the armies of the kingdom of Assyria shall invade the northern kingdom of Israel, they shall wipe Israel off the map, and then they shall also try to conquer the southern kingdom of Judah. We read in Isa 10:5,

Isaiah 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.

Isaiah 10:6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Who sent the Assyrian army down to overrun the kingdom of Israel? God did. God says: "I will send him". Assyria is functioning as the scourge of God against the hypocritical nation of Israel, who has skidded into severe idolatry. This heathen nation is used by God to bring judgment on the nation that is called by His name. But when Assyria has done that which God ordained upon the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the king of Assyria became overconfident in his abilities, God says in v. 12,

Isaiah 10:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.

The king of Assyria thought that by his strength and by his wisdom he has made these conquests. But God says in verse 15,

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

Isaiah 10:16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and

under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.

In other words, after God had accomplished His purposes through the Assyrian army, now God was going to deal severely with Assyria. First the king of Assyria, Sennacherib, was murdered, and not too long thereafter the Babylonians overran the kingdom of Assyria. Did the Assyrians have any chance to become saved? No! They were an entire nation of reprobates used by God to inflict the penalty He had decreed on the nation that was called by His name. But this is not the end of the story

  • God says to Judah: Be Not Afraid of the Assyrian (Isa 10:24-26, Matt 10:28)

Isaiah 10:24-26, Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction. And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as His rod (referring to Moses' rod) was upon the sea, so shall He lift it up after the manner of Egypt.

Twice God says: "after the manner of Egypt". Remember, the Egyptian army was drowned in the Red Sea. Not one escaped. God will judge the reprobates for what they have done to the children of God. And likewise God says to us: Be not afraid of the Assyrian. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul" (Matt 10:28).

This is not new stuff. In the year AD 1619 the Canons of Dort were written, and the First Head of Doctrine was titled: Divine Election and Reprobation. People today do not read that old stuff any more The Canons of Dort were written very carefully by pastors and scholars who were faithful to the Bible.

Let me try to summarize this doctrine of reprobation in my own words. God says to me:

"I love you, my elect. I have loved you with an everlasting love, My son, and I will love you unto all eternity. Since I love you, I will do for you everything that is best for you. I know that you do not always feel that it is in your best interest, but you have to trust Me. I know that I am hurting you once in a while, but you have to trust Me that these chastenings are for your own good. How else can it be true that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose? This is absolutely true. I am not a liar. But this is why the reprobates are in the world, to inflict on you the chastenings that I have designed for you. Through these hurts I am teaching you wonderful lessons in this life, so that you will be to Me a better servant than before. Fear not when these hurts tend to overflow you like a flood. I am still in control, and My grace is sufficient for you".

The Hymn we are going to sing, #411, reflects what I have been speaking about during the past half hour. I like all five stanzas, so here are the words of the five stanzas:

  • How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say than to you He has said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.

  • Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed; for I am thy God, I will still give thee aid;

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my gracious omnipotent hand.

  • When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;

For I will be with thee thy trials to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

  • When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply;

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

  • The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.






Our Merciful God and Heavenly Father,


  • We pray, Father, for Your Holy Spirit to give us wisdom when we read about Your election and reprobation. It is so easy to become stuck up in our knowledge of these matters. But we realize that we know nothing. Therefore we pray that we may read Your Word faithfully and that we may believe it.


  • We also pray, heavenly Father, that you strengthen our faith, so that we may be prepared when Your chastening hand comes to set us straight.


  • We also pray for the salvation of everyone who is here, the old and the young, the wise and the simple.


  • We pray for all these things in Jesus' name, Amen.








Article 6 of 1st head of Canons of Dort:


That some receive the gift of faith from God, and others do not receive it proceeds from God's eternal decree: (Acts 15:18, Eph 1:11) According to which decree, God graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe, while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy. And herein is especially displayed the profound, the merciful, and at the same time the righteous discrimination between men, equally involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation, revealed in the Word of God, which though men of perverse, impure and unstable minds wrest to their own destruction, yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation.




Article 15 of 1st head of Canons of Dort:


What peculiarly tends to illustrate and recommend to us the eternal and unmerited grace of election, is the express testimony of sacred Scripture, that not all but some only are elected, while others are passed by in the eternal election of God; whom God, out of His sovereign, most just, irreprehensible and unchangeable good pleasure, has decreed to leave in the common misery into they have willfully plunged themselves, and not to bestow on them saving faith and the grace of conversion; but leaving them in His just judgment to follow their own ways, at last for the declaration of His justice, to condemn and punish them forever, not only on account of their unbelief, but also for all their other sins. And this is the decree of reprobation, which by no means makes God the author of sin (the very thought of which is blasphemy), but declares Him to be an awful, irreprehensible, and righteous judge and avenger thereof.