Proverbs 16:4 – “The LORD has made everything for its purpose..." - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Biblical Wisdom Faith
October 1, 2018

Proverbs 16:4 – “The LORD has made everything for its purpose..."

Proverbs 16:4 – The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

by Dr. Bill Edgar, former chair of the Geneva College Board of Trustees, Former Geneva College President and longtime pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPNCA)

Scientists can study only what God has made. Concerning organs in living creatures, they unavoidably ask, “What’s it for?” When they cannot find an organ’s purpose, they label it “vestigial,” like the appendix, or “junk,” like certain DNA segments. Some philosophers, not unreasonably, have pointed to the appendix and junk DNA as evidence against a Creator and in favor of purposeless evolution. (The appendix, however, does have a purpose. It is a “safe house” for good bacteria, which repopulate our digestive system after an illness or a course of antibiotics. “Junk” DNA, it is now known, plays a vital part in the human genome.)

Like a good engineer, God made everything for a purpose. Sometimes the purpose is easy to figure out: every sheepherder knows that the main purpose of a ram and ewe copulating is to get more lambs. The purpose of other things like the appendix, take careful study and time to figure out. Some things, God tells us, we will never know because His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and some of His plans He keeps sealed until the end of time (Revelation 10:4). About some things in our fallen and corrupted world, God gives us clues in His Word, for example, His purposes for wicked men like Joseph Stalin, or Pol Pot.

God made the wicked “for the day of trouble.” How so? First, God uses the wicked to punish His people’s sin, calling Assyria the rod of His anger (Isaiah 10), and using Babylon for the same purpose (Habbakkuk). Second, the Lord also uses the wicked to show His justice and power when the time comes to call them to account. God said to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show my power in you (Exodus 9:16).” God makes even the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalm 67:10).

God’s punishments of the wicked in this age are only partial, and often they thrive for a long time. Why doesn’t God destroy them completely all at once and leave the world clean? He did that once, in the Flood, but evil survived because the human heart remained the same. Starting over again in a New World, as the Puritans discovered, never works as planned because the Old World always comes right along into the New. Second, God does not remove evil people immediately because doing so may harm the righteous, as Jesus taught in His parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30). (Recall what happened in Iraq to its Christian communities and many others after the United States decided to play God and uproot Iraq’s atrocious dictator.) Third, God gives people time to repent and time to the repentant to grow in grace.

Godly people, therefore, should not fret at the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73). They have their purpose “for the day of trouble,” sometimes bringing God’s judgment on His straying people, and sometimes bringing God’s judgment down on themselves (Romans 9:22). God has made everything for its purpose, even hurtful and unjust oppressors.

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