The ways of divine providence are difficult to fathom. The reason for this is that in providence God is operating “behind the scenes.” Unlike a miracle, providence is not a physically demonstrable proposition. We know that our Maker operates providentially only because the Scriptures plainly teach this concept.
There are many clear cases of Heaven’s providential activity in the Scriptures – one of which is found in Nehemiah, chapter 2.
Thirteen years after Ezra had led his group of Jews from captivity back to Palestine (444 B.C.), Nehemiah, still in Babylon, hears the news that Jerusalem is in ruins and that the wall is broken down. He was quite sad, and that disposition was reflected to the Persian ruler Artaxerxes, whom Nehemiah served as cupbearer.
When the king asked about the nature of the Hebrew’s problem, Nehemiah explained the circumstances, and asked for permission to return and assist with the reconstruction project. He also asked for materials for implementing the work.
Amazingly, the monarch responded favorably. Nehemiah records it like this:
“And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me” (Nehemiah 2:8).
The man of God did not view this circumstance as a fluke of fortune; he saw the hand of the Lord in the affair – in a word, providence. Mark this passage and label it with the notation: Divine providence!