“Some Evidences Of God’s Providence With Respect To This Country”

Psalm 57.2



1.   Turn in your  Bible to Psalm 57.2:  “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”

2.   These are words written by David, referring to the time when he fled from Saul and hid in the cave.  The first half of the verse attests to God’s absolute sovereignty over the affairs of men and angels.  The second half of the verse speaks of God’s doings on David’s behalf, which would include not only miracles, but also providence.

3.   That God works is not to be denied.  That God works miracles is evident from scripture as well as the personal experience of many people, if you confine your definition of the miraculous to those occurrences during which God suspends the normal and natural laws by which He governs this universe.  For example:  The Lord Jesus walking on the water was a miracle, in that the natural law of gravity was suspended for a time.

4.   But miracles are not the only means by which God intervenes in the affairs of men to protect His Own.  There is also that unseen hand of the invisible God that moves in the unobserved background to accomplish His purpose and to protect His Own.

5.   Though I will make mention of some things miraculous over the next few minutes, my focus will be upon those things providential which have been effected by God to bring this nation into existence, which have been effected to protect this nation, and for which we should be humbly thankful.



My friends, I am convinced that this nation is the culmination of a series of events that can only be explained by God’s providence.  Consider just a few examples of God’s providence:

1B.    Consider the attack of the Spanish Armada.

1C.   In 1588 Spain sent 130 ships with 30,000 men to attack the British fleet and to invade England .  Their goal?  To strike down Protestantism in England .

2C.   The English had only a small navy of 34 ships with only 9,000 men.  Thirty ships and 9,000 men against 30,000 men in 130 ships from Spain .  England was outnumbered nearly four to one.[1]

3C.   But several strange events followed:  First, a band of pirates joined the English.  Next, several of the Spanish ships caught on fire.  Third, the Spanish fleet sailed off in different directions.  Fourth, as their ships rounded the west coast of Ireland , a tremendous wind scattered them over the wastes of the North Sea .[2]

4C.   The result was that Protestant England was spared and Elizabeth was secured on her throne.  Without God’s providential intervention there would be no United States of America today as we know it.  Apart from the providence of God we would be Roman Catholics (not sitting in a Baptist church house), and possibly speaking another language than English, and certainly not holding King James versions of the Bible in our laps.

2B.    Consider the attempted assassination of John Knox, the founder of Scottish Presbyterianism.

1C.   John Knox, the great reformer of Scotland, moved his usual seat away from the window one night, pressed by a feeling he could not understand.  An hour later a bullet crashed through the window which would have killed Knox if he had not moved.[3]

2C.   As with the Spanish Armada, nothing obviously miraculous took place.  God did not suspend the natural laws by which He governs the universe in any way that men could see.  But without John Knox, the English-speaking world might have remained Catholic.

3B.    Consider the preservation of young John Wesley’s life.

1C.   As a small child, John Wesley, whom God later used to ignite the Great Awakening in England , was saved from the top story of a house as it went up in flames.[4]

2C.   Hebrews 1.14 informs us of the involvement of angels in such instances, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?  But such involvement is entirely unseen, and therefore providential.

3C.   The entire course of western history and the development of western civilization would have been different than it has been but for God’s providence.

4B.    And then there is the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.

1C.   Did you know that they landed at a place on the coast far north of their intended destination?[5]  They had intended to go to Virginia colony.  Did you know that the wind blew them far off course?  Did you know that the master of the ship had also been bribed to land them in a different place than they had contracted to go?  Did you also know that their lives were saved when an Indian who had been earlier captured and enslaved, but who had returned to his native land after learning a bit of the English language, taught them how to plant and grow corn, so they could feed themselves?[6]

2C.   This, my friends, is God’s providence.   “unto God that performeth all things for me.  But for God’s providence things would be so vastly different in our nation’s past than things were.

5B.    What about the preservation of Washington ’s army at Valley Forge ?

1C.   They were not that far from well fed and clothed British troops, who could have and would have wiped them out had they found them.

2C.   A miracle?  People might use the word miracle in such cases, but what is more appropriate is the word providence.  God superintends the affairs of men, sometimes by suspending the laws by which He normally governs His universe and imposing His will in an open and obvious way.  Such is a miracle.  But when He moves behind the scenes, without disrupting the natural laws in any way, it is just as much God’s doings as is a miracle; it’s just more subtle, somewhat less obvious, somewhat more discreet.

6B.    They had much to be thankful for on that first Thanksgiving.  God worked to preserve and establish them.  Sometimes He worked miracles.  More often, He worked behind the scenes in a providential way.  But it was still God doing the deeds.  It is still God who should receive the thanks and the glory.



1B.    Consider World War Two.

1C.   World War Two was essentially a war between east and west.  If you doubt this, you do not know the history of Germany or of Japan .  Germany ’s great imperial aspirations were to the east, and Hitler attacked France , Belgium and England only because they issued him an ultimatum and declared war against Germany for invading Poland .

2C.   As well, western civilization was preserved and the loss to Germany was prevented before the United States entered the war, even though it took the United States to actually win the war.  Loss was averted before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor , though victory was guaranteed by Japan ’s attack on Pearl Harbor .

3C.   The turning point in the entire war, by my way of thinking, was the Battle of  Britain, the air war that took place over Great Britain, when a vastly outnumbered Royal Air Force battled the German Luftwaffe for control of the skies.  It was God’s providence that brought the great climax of the war to the skies over England .  It was God’s providence that changed Hitler’s mind to begin attacking British cities instead of attacking British airfields, enabling the RAF to keep fighting.

4C.   But I will grant that God worked miracles during the Battle of Britain in the skies over London , as well as working providentially.  “In the early days of World War II , Britain ’s air force saved it from invasion and defeat.  In her book, Tell No Man, Adela Rogers St. John describes a strange aspect of that weeks-long air war.  Her information comes from a celebration held some months after the war, honoring Chief Marshall Lord Hugh Dowding.  The King, the Prime Minister and scores of dignitaries were there.  In his remarks, the Air Chief Marshall recounted the story of his legendary conflict where his pitifully small complement of men rarely slept, and their planes never stopped flying.  He told about airmen on a mission who, having been hit, were either incapacitated or dead.  Yet their planes kept flying and fighting; in fact, on occasion pilots in other planes would see a figure still operating the controls.  What was the explanation?  The Air Chief Marshall said he believed angels had actually flown some of the planes whose pilots sat dead in their cockpits (Billy Graham, Angels: God’s Secret Agents, Guideposts Associates, 1975, pp. 163-164).”[7]

5C.   What brought Albert Einstein to the United States from Europe ?  It was Hitler’s nazism, but it was God’s providence.  But without Einstein, the letter he wrote to President Roosevelt suggesting the construction of the atom bomb would not have been written, and the bomb would not have been built.[8]

6C.   God’s providence throughout the war could be seen, from the sudden change of the weather that enabled the D-day invasion to go forward, to the sudden clearing of the winter skies during the battle of the bulge that enabled our fighter planes to get back in the sky and turn back the German offensive, thereby guaranteeing allied victory.[9]

2B.    Consider the attempted assassination of president Ronald Reagan.

1C.   John Hinckley almost took President Reagan’s life.  The bullet that entered his chest was less than an inch from his heart, slowed down by the heavy coat he wore and the deep muscle tissue in his chest, built up from years of hard work and exercise.  But how often do we forget the meeting of emergency room surgeons in the hospital where he was taken by the Secret Service, ensuring that the very best emergency room surgeons were moments away, and able to preserve the life of our president?

2C.   And the result of that attempted assassination?  His life was spared, his courage and coolness under fire was demonstrated for the entire world to see and our enemies to fear, and his political opposition was effectively stifled for more than a year.  Thus, God providentially set the stage for the downfall of communism, enabling Ronald Reagan to utter the famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”[10]

3C.   My friends, what would the world be like today if Walter Mondale had won that election?  What would the world be like today if Ronald Reagan had not opposed the Sandanistas in Nicaragua ?  Where would the Iran hostages be today had someone else been elected president?  What would Kaddafi be doing today, instead of turning over his nuclear plans, if Reagan had not authorized that attack on Libya years ago?  I shudder to think.

3B.    Third, consider a little boy named Elian Gonzalez.

1C.   “The mother of Elian Gonzalez wanted her little boy to grow up in a free country.  She boarded a small boat with the child and eleven other people to escape from Cuba .  Elian’s mother and the eleven other adults were drowned at sea.  Alone in the dark ocean, this six-year-old child clung to an inner tube for two days, tossed and turned by the sea under a hot tropical sun.  On Thanksgiving Day, 1999, some fishermen found Elian off the coast of Fort Lauderdale , Florida .”

2C.   “Several noted Cuban-Americans compared Elian to Moses, saved from a little boat let loose on the Nile River .  Maria Elena Quesada told the Washington Post, “Elian is a sign from God saying to the exile community: ‘I haven’t forgotten you.” Maria Quesada said that whatever happened next to Elian was ‘in the hands of God.’”

3C.   “In one of the worst acts of his presidency, Bill Clinton had his Attorney General Janet Reno send soldiers to break down the door of Elian’s uncle’s house, and take the little boy by force and hand him over to Fidel Castro, the dictator of Cuba.”

4C.   “But Maria Quesada was right when she said, ‘Whatever happens next is in the hands of God.’  Yes, Elian was forcibly turned over to the Communists in Cuba by Bill Clinton.  But the Cuban population of Florida , who had largely voted for Clinton , did not forget his foul deed.  The next year most of them registered their anger at Clinton ’s outrageous act by voting against Clinton ’s Vice President Al Gore.”

5C.   “The presidential election that year was decided by about 500 votes in Florida .  If Elian Gonzalez had not come to America on an inner tube on Thanksgiving Day, George W. Bush would not have been elected President, and would not be leading America in the War on Terrorism today.  Angered by Clinton sending Elian Gonzalez back to Castro, the Cubans in Florida elected the Republican, George W. Bush.  Bush was literally elected by Elian Gonzalez!”[11]

6C.   How right Maria Elena Quesada was!  On Thanksgiving Day, 1999, God providentially delivered that six-year-old child, far out in the ocean on an inner tube, because God is not through blessing America yet.  But for Elian Gonzalez, Al Gore would have been our president.  But for Elian Gonzalez, Afghanistan would still be controlled by the Taliban, Osama bin Laban would be openly operating and terrorizing the world, Saddam Hussein would still be controlling Iraq and butchering his own people, and the United States would be cowering in fear, wondering why the United Nations under Kofi Annan was so ineffective in protecting us.



1B.    It was God’s providence that preserved by life through two terrible automobile incidents as a teenager. 

1C.   Sliding sideways on an ice-covered road in a Volkswagen, with four friends in the car, the front wheels on the pavement and the back wheels in an irrigation ditch.  Why did the car not roll at 60 miles an hour?  Why were we not all killed?  I did not know at the time.

2C.   Passing a fully loaded log truck on a hair pin turn of a narrow mountain road, I was just abreast of the log truck when another log truck rumbled by in the opposite direction.  How could two log trucks and a Volkswagen take that turn simultaneously without hitting each other, without one of the vehicles plunging down the cliff, without someone getting killed?  I did not know at the time.

3C.   I was a foolish kid.  What I did was stupid.  I did not know, and had no right to expect, that God would providentially preserve my life.  Many others who have been far less foolish have not been so spared by God.  But I am thankful for God’s providence.

4C.   My friends, it was providence that brought me to southern California after graduating from college.  It was providence that brought me into the company of a Hughes Aircraft Company senior scientist who was a devout Christian, once and for all shattering my delusion that only idiots and fools would believe the Bible.

5C.   It was providence that resulted in the efforts of me and my wife to adopt a child being thwarted by a social worker who concluded that we were unfit to be adoptive parents.  It was providence that later resulted in me being introduced to Danny Jaich, who urged me to make another attempt at adoption.  And it was providence that resulted in our adoption of my precious Sarah Jane, who I cannot love more than I already do.



1.   God’s providence does not involve the suspension of the normal and natural laws by which God governs His universe and rules in the affairs of men.  It is likely that providence, while oftentimes recognized by His children, will generally be pooh-poohed by unbelievers as coincidence.

2.   But providence is what God does for His own, either to protect and preserve us, or to bring about the circumstances of life that leads to our preparation for and encounters with the gospel.

3.   Look at our text once more:  “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.  David looked to the past to remind himself of all the things God had performed for him.  Looking to the past, he saw both the miracles God had wrought and the providence of God.  Being so encouraged by what God had done, he was moved to appeal to God once more, “I will cry unto God most high.”

4.   Let us do the same.  Look to the past.  Miracles?  Perhaps there are some, hopefully the miracle of the new birth at the very least.  But also providence.  After we eat, while we are sitting at the table, I will ask you to stand in turn, should you desire, to speak of God’s providence in your life and in our country, and even God’s miracles, for which you are thankful.

[1] http://www.theotherside.co.uk/tm-heritage/background/span-armada.htm

[2] The Intervention of Angels - A Thanksgiving Sermon, by R. L. Hymers, Jr., a sermon preached November 21, 2004 at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles.

[3] Ibíd..

[4] http://rylibweb.man.ac.uk/data1/dg/methodist/jwol1.html

[5] http://www.mayflowerfamilies.com/colonial_life/pilgrims.htm

[6] http://www.rootsweb.com/~mosmd/#part3

[7] Hymers

[8] http://www.dannen.com/ae-fdr.html

[9] http://london.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/4/dday/pdfs/DDayWeather.pdf

[10] http://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan/speeches/wall.asp

[11] Ibid.

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