The Primary Basic Lesson of God’s Providence

Ezekiel 10:9-13

And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides; they turned not as they went, but to the place whither the head looked they followed it; they turned not as they went. And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes round about, even the wheels that they four had. As for the wheels, it was cried unto them in my hearing, O wheel.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): The providence of God was presented in a vision to Ezekiel, under the image of a vast wheel. The design was to show that its dispensations were constantly changing. For as, in the motion of a wheel, one spoke is always ascending, and another is descending; and one part of the ring grating on the ground, and another is aloft in the air; so it was with the affairs of empires, families, and individuals―they never continue in one stay.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Though they moved several ways, yet it was cried to them, “O wheel!” They were all as one, being guided by one Spirit to one end; for God works all according to the counsel of His own will, which is one, for His own glory, which is one―events are not determined by the wheel of fortune, which is blind, but by the wheels of Providence, which are full of eyes.

BASIL WOODD (1760-1831): What lessons may we learn from the dispensations of Providence?

THOMAS SCOTT (1747-1821): This is a wide subject.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Have we ever been brought to feel that in matters of providence, as well as in things of grace, we are truly and entirely foolish?  Methinks, no man can trust providence till he distrusts himself; and none can say, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” until he has given up every idle notion that he can control himself, or manage his own interests.  Alas! we are most of us wise above that which is written, and we are too vain to acknowledge the wisdom of God.  In our self-esteem we fancy our reason can rule our purposes, and we never doubt our own power to accomplish our own intentions, and then, by a little maneuvering, we think to extricate ourselves from the difficulty.

MATTHEW HENRY: Our heads may be filled with cares and contrivances. This and the other thing we may propose to do for ourselves, or our families, or our friends; but Providence sometimes breaks all our measures, and throws our schemes into confusion.

BASIL WOODD: Man is thus taught to feel his weakness. He sees God confound his schemes, and is taught to abandon his own will.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Yes, it is to the Lord’s will we must bow. It is for Him to determine under what circumstances I shall live—whether amid wealth or poverty, whether in health or sickness. It is for Him to say how long I shall live—whether I shall be cut down in youth like the flower of the field, or whether I shall continue for three score and ten years.

MATTHEW HENRY: All our actions and designs are under the control of Heaven…Therefore both our counsels for action and our conduct in action should be entirely referred to God; all we design and all we do should be with submissive dependence on God.

A. W. PINK: A true recognition of God’s sovereignty causes us to hold our plans in abeyance to God’s will. It makes us recognize that the Divine Potter has absolute power over the clay and moulds it according to His own imperial pleasure. It causes us to heed that admonition—now, alas! so generally disregarded—Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that, James 4:13-15.

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): When the Lord’s blessed will bloweth across your desires, it is best in humility to strike sail to Him and to be willing to be laid any way our Lord pleaseth.

THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): Alas! who is humble?

C. H. SPURGEON: Surely it wants but little teaching in the school of grace to make out that we ourselves are fools.

DAVID BRAINERD (1718-1747): I could not but think, as I have often remarked to others, that much more of true religion consists in deep humility, brokenness of heart, and an abasing sense of barrenness and want of grace and holiness than most who are called Christians imagine; especially those who have been esteemed the converts of the late day.  Many seem to know of no other religion but elevated joys and affections, arising only from some flights of imagination, or some suggestion made to their mind, of Christ being theirs, God living in them, and the like.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): For those who would learn God’s ways, humility is the first thing, humility is the second thing, and humility is the third thing.

THOMAS ADAM: Humility is knowing that we are not humble.

C. H. SPURGEON: Do you, O my friends, feel persuaded that you are foolish?―Or are you flattering your hearts with the fond conceit that you are wise? If so, you are fools.  But if brought to see yourselves like Agur when he said, “I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man,” Proverbs 30:2, then even Solomon might pronounce thee wise.

A. W. PINK: To really learn this lesson is, by grace, to attain unto a high form in the school of God, and even when we think we have learnt it, we discover, again and again, that we have to relearn it.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): We commend humility to you above many things; for we think that in these days, folks’ pride is like to break their necks. For when once conceit creeps in, they begin to think they are so far advanced in holiness that they must not keep company with others, nor join in worship with them.

THOMAS ADAM: Perhaps many who think themselves high in Christ’s school, have not yet begun with their A, B, C―the first lesson of a Christian is humility; and he that hath not learned the first lesson is not fit to take out a new one.


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