God is our ruler and guide: Meditation for the 13th Sunday after trinity
Acknowledging the rulership and guidance of God, the Collect for the day petitions Him for increased mercy to pass through things temporal without finally losing the things eternal.
God governs all things, including the universe as a whole (Psa. 103:19), the affairs of nations (Psa. 66:7), human birth and destiny (Gal. 1:15), human successes and failures (Luke 1:52), and the protection of His people (Psa. 4:8). The Divine providence/Sovereignty, however, does not destroy human freedom and responsibility. It rather enables us to properly use them. We need to discern God’s guidance in the changes and chances of our lives and wilfully align our lives to His will and purposes. As God is the Ruler, so He should be our Guide. We should trust and follow Him, as where He takes us is actually where we should be.
The Jewish rabbis had the practice of moving in the front and their disciples following behind. That is why the disciples were also called followers. They did not know the destination or the way thereto. Neither did they have their own itinerary. It was their master, the rabbi, who determined their movement – when and where to go. They would just be following.
As Christians, we are disciples and followers of our Master, Jesus Christ. He came from heaven, became man and has gone ahead of us to show us the way. We need to follow Him to get to where He is leading us. Following the Lord is about being guided by Him. We need to be discerning of God’s guidance, and following Him both in ordinary things of life and the ultimate goal of our existence.
Lessons From The Readings
In the 1st Lesson for matins (Gen. 47:1-12), Jacob and his children were brought to Egypt by Divine providence and guidance. Jacob saw his life as a pilgrimage and not quite pleasant. He had wandered from Southern Canaan to Haran in Aram and back (Gen. 27-35) and now migrated to Egypt. But he hopefully awaited the fulfilment of the promise of a land, which, of course, came to pass. God prospered his people in the land of Egypt, such that even though they were enslaved, they came out of slavery, emerging a great nation, powerful and numerous.
In the Epistle (Rom. 8:18-23), Paul looked beyond the sufferings of the present to the glory of the future. In his sovereign wisdom and power, God has so ordered it that momentary troubles produce for the people of God “an eternal glory that far overweighs them all.” (2Cor. 4:17).
God is in charge of the universe, which He pilots in His infinite wisdom. Our lives should therefore be placed in His hands. He is our Guide and we should totally submit ourselves to His leading and not rely on our own insight (Prov. 3:5).
Those who trust and follow God may pass through the “valley of the shadow of death,” but they have no cause to fear any evil, because they are sure that, ultimately, God, their Ruler and Guide, will lead them “beside still waters” to the joyful destination of “green pastures,” where He will make them to “lie down” (Psa. 23). The people of God should be conscious of the love that God has for them and so trust His ways, as mysterious as they may be. Adverse circumstances do not preclude the love of God. As the writer of the hymn: “God moves in a mysterious way” (William Cowper) put it: Even “Behind a frowning providence, He (God) hides a smiling face”. Therefore, “Judge not the LORD by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace” (CH 484:4).
So, keep trusting and obeying God, our Ruler and Guide. Even when you do not understand and it’s getting unbearable, keep following, in understanding that He orders your steps to fulfil His purpose. He would not allow anything happen to you, if He has no purpose for it.
Ven. Dr. Princewill O. Ireoba is the Rector,
Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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