We cannot always know whether the Lord has done something

Philemon Bible Background

11.03.2016 – New Testament: Phm 15–16

To read the Bible in a year, read Philemon on November 3, In the year of our Lord 2016

By Don Ruhl

Some will consider this heretical, but the Scriptures teach that we cannot always know whether the Lord has acted in a given situation. Listen to Paul write to Philemon about a runaway slave of Philemon’s, whom Paul had recently converted to Christ,

For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord (Philemon 15–16). 

Paul could not say for certain whether the Lord had arranged for Onesimus to be away from Philemon for a while that Onesimus might meet Paul, and by Paul meet Christ. Paul saw it as a possibility that the Lord had done something, because it seemed to have the indications of it, but the Lord had not communicated with Paul about the matter, and Paul could not see the Lord working.

Therefore, the apostle left the possibility open for the Lord’s hand, and for it simply being the way things worked out.

Questions:

  • Have there been times when you could not tell whether the Lord intervened or not?

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