But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. 

Philemon 22

 

There are some dispensationalists, who knowing that the kind of supernatural intervention that occurred in the prophetic kingdom program of Israel (signs and wonders) is not occurring today, go to the extreme of believing and teaching that God does not intervene (i.e. He is not involved) at all in our lives outside of salvation and spiritual growth through His word.

However, I have never gotten that idea from reading and studying Paul’s epistles. I know that the Lord will not feed us with manna from heaven or allow us to walk on the water, but can we look to Him to guide and provide for us in our daily life? Is it a waste of time to pray for guidance or about physical and material needs? How we view this issue greatly affects our prayer life! 

 

What about Calvinism?

 

I realize that most professing Christians are Calvinistic (everything is predetermined) and superstitious (trying to understand what God is doing through feelings and circumstances) when it comes to this issue, but we must be aware that there is a ditch on both sides of the road of sound doctrine. In trying not to stay out of one ditch, we must be careful not to overcorrect and swerve over into the other.  

 

Deists and Gnostics

 

Some of the brethren sound somewhat like Deists (those who believe there is a God, but He does not intervene at all in this world) and Gnostics (those who think they have superior spiritual knowledge and believe that all physical matter is evil) in how they think God is not involved in our world today in any tangible way.

They assert that we should only pray about spiritual things, and that prayer in this dispensation is only about talking to God about what His word says (as if He doesn’t know). Paul didn’t think it was wrong to pray about the thorn in his flesh! If he didn’t believe God uses our prayers, why did Paul even bother to request prayer? By the way, it is a great privilege to pray regardless of results.  

 

By His Spirit through His Word

 

I agree that the primary way God is working today is by His Spirit through His word. That is how sinners are saved (Eph. 1:13) and believers are edified (Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). God is far more interested in changing us then He is in changing our circumstances. True and lasting peace and contentment are only found in Christ. The spiritual and eternal is far more important than the physical and temporal. Spiritual growth is the priority! It is very unwise to make the circumstances of life your main focus and concern. But will God do anything in our lives today outside of salvation and spiritual growth?  

 

The King James Bible

 

The King James Bible is a result of the providence of God. There is no doubt in my mind that He was involved in guiding the translating process! The finished product is proof that it is the perfectly preserved word of God.

How else can you explain a group of non-dispensationalists going against their theology in producing a dispensational Bible? The book of Esther provides an illustration of how God can intervene without signs and wonders (i.e. He works “behind the scenes).  

 Unless we have scriptural authority, we cannot dogmatically say God is doing this or not doing that. Where did Paul say that God will NOT: meet our needs, guide us in our daily life, bring people across our path (that we can help or they can help us), or help us recover from sickness? God can do all of that without using signs and wonders.  

 

Please read the following passages very carefully: 

  •  Rom. 8:26-28 – Intercession is intervention 
  • Rom. 15:23-32 – God provided through His people, protection, travel 
  • 1 Cor. 16:5-9 – God gives opportunity (2 Cor. 2:12; Col 4:3) 
  • 2 Cor. 1:8-12 – deliverance from trouble, helping by prayer  
  • Cor. 9:6-14 – favor, provision  
  • 2 Cor. 12:7-10 – Paul still prayed about it! 
  • Eph. 6:1-3 – God’s promise 
  • Phil. 1:12, 19 – God can bring good out of bad, prayer makes a difference 
  • Phil. 2:27 – Paul attributed the recovery of Epaphroditus to the mercy of God 
  • Phil. 4:19 – provision, promise for givers  
  • 1 Thess. 3:9-11 – direct our way (Prov. 3:5-6)  
  • 2 Thess. 3:1-2 – we should pray for people to have receptive hearts  
  • 1 Tim. 4:4-5; 6:8, 17 – material blessings  
  • 2 Tim. 4:16-18 – deliverance  
  • Philemon – Onesimus meeting Paul in Rome, prayer makes a difference (v.22) 

 

I will not give any personal illustrations because the scripture is the authority and not experience. However, there is still something to experience (Rom. 5:4)! The family and ministry that I have today is a result of God’s leading and working in my life. I can look back and see His hand!  

 By the way, this present dispensation began with divine intervention (Acts 9), and it will also end with divine intervention (Titus 2:13)! 

 

Questions need Answers
Please feel free to contact Hope Bible Church if you have questions regarding any of our Bible Study Notes. We look forward to seeing you Wednesday and Sunday!