God is in the Details

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (v. 29).

- Matthew 10:28–31

As with every confession of Christian truth, our confession of “God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” has ramifications beyond the actual words themselves. In other words, when we confess and believe the truths of the Apostles’ Creed, we are actually saying far more than what these words might indicate if we were simply to rush through them. For example, when we confess belief in God as our Father, we are not saying merely that we have been counted as His children, although that is true. We are also saying that the Father loves us far deeper than any earthly father could and longs to bless us with every good gift (Matt. 7:7–11; James 1:16–18). Similarly, when we say God made heaven and earth, we mean far more than that He created everything out of nothing, as important as that truth is. We also mean that because the universe comes from His hand, it also depends on Him for its continued existence (Heb. 1:1–4). And, as question and answer 27 of the Heidelberg Catechism explain, we also mean that all creation remains under His control.

This control extends even to what we might otherwise consider insignificant. Jesus Himself teaches this point; indeed, it is revealed throughout Scripture. In today’s passage, our Lord points out that even though two sparrows are sold for a penny, the average daily wage for a poor worker in ancient Palestine, God still has enough regard for these creatures that even their fall from the sky is ordained in His providential rule (Matt. 10:29). In fact, without His sovereign control, the birds would not be here at all, let alone follow flight paths under His direction. The application should be obvious, but Jesus states it explicitly so that we do not miss it: if God is concerned with even the insignificant sparrow, how much more is He concerned with us, His image-bearers (Gen. 1:26–27)?

The saying “God is in the details” is used to emphasize the importance of paying careful attention to the tiniest things. That principle holds, but there is a greater theological sense to these words, namely, that our Creator reigns fully over every detail. From the timely arrival of trading parties to the flight and impact of small stones to the jealous men that crucified Jesus, nothing ever occurs outside of God’s decree and providential rule (Gen. 37:12–28; 1 Sam. 17:48–49; Acts 2:23).

Coram Deo

The control God exercises over everything that ever happens demonstrates that there is some significance to all that we do. In turn, this means that we should give thought to our actions and how we spend our time. The Lord is gracious, so we should not be paranoid and legalistic about making sure every moment is filled with what we might regard as self-evident “kingdom work.” But we should take care not to waste the time God has given us.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 104:14–15
Proverbs 16:9, 33; 20:24
Jeremiah 10:23
Matthew 5:45b

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