The Gospel of Matthew: Providential Peace in the Midst of the Storm.

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:23–27 (ESV)

Following Jesus’ response to the disciple’s declaration, He rose from His cushion in the boat’s stern (Mark 4:35-38) and rebuked the winds and sea. To rebuke (ἐπιτιμάω; epitmao) means to command, denounce and express strong disapproval.

If you and I were to rebuke the wind and sea, it would be of no effect. Our words would prove useless. However, when the Creator gives an order to His creation, it complies. Matthew records that there was a great calm (γαλήνη; galena). The surface of the water was unruffled. It was like a sheet of glass or a mirror.

“A calm after a storm may be referred to figuratively in some languages as ‘the water lay down’ or ‘the waves sank down again’ or ‘the water became like a table top,” explains one commentator.

“When God rebukes the storm, it flees. He rides the wind; He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind (Psalm 104). God rules the elements. He sets boundaries beyond which the storm cannot pass (104:9). He is sovereign. When men cry to the Lord in their trouble, He delivers them. He stills the storm (Psalm 107:25, 28-29),” explains commentator Daniel M. Doriani.

Today’s text reveals that God is in providential control of His creation. What God creates, He sustains and controls. He upholds the universe by the word of His power (Heb. 1:1-3).

“The central point of the doctrine of providence is the stress on God’s government of the universe. He rules His creation with absolute sovereignty and authority. He governs everything that comes to pass, from the greatest to the least,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.

“Nothing ever happens beyond the scope of His sovereign, providential government. He makes the rain to fall and the sun to shine. He raises up kingdoms and begins them down. He numbers the hairs on our head and the days of our life.”

In the Lord we live, and move and have our being (Acts 17:22-28). May each of us live today in the truth of God’s providential peace in the midst of our storms.

Soli deo Gloria!

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