Does God orchestrate all events? By that I mean all events, not just the “biggies.” No Christian I know suggests God did not orchestrate things like the Flood, The Plagues of Egypt the birth of Christ, the crucifixion of Christ, etc. However, many balk at the idea that He orchestrates everything, even the mundane events of life for His purposes.
However, the Bible is fairly bursting with not only the teaching that God orchestrates all events but with examples of Him doing so. One such example is in I Samuel, chapter 9.
Just prior to this chapter, Israel’s last judge, Samuel, has become old. He’s put his sons in charge and they are corrupt as Eli’s sons had been a generation earlier. As a result of this and the people’s hardness of heart, they ask Samuel to give them a king so they can be ruled like the nations around them.
God tells Samuel to warn the people what that will mean for them but instructs him to give them what they want. We then come to chapter nine.
Several donkeys of a well-to-do man named Kish have run away. Kish instructs his son Saul and one of his servants to go look for them. Saul and the servant set out but have no luck finding them. They go from town to town, province to province, but no donkeys. Finally when they reach the district of Zuph, Saul suggests to the servant that they turn back. He’s concerned that his father will stop worrying about the donkeys and begin worrying about them if they stay gone much longer.
However, the servant just happens to know that there is a prophet in the town they are near. He suggests they consult with the “man of God” and see if he can help find the donkeys. Saul agrees.
As a result of all these events they are walking along the road exactly when and where God had revealed to Samuel he would find God’s chosen king for Israel.
Why did the donkeys run away? Why did Saul’s father send his son and not just some servants to look for the donkeys? Why did he choose this particular servant to go with Saul? Why did they take the route they took to look for the donkeys? Why did the servant suggest they check with the “man of God,” rather than just accede to his master’s wishes?
One one level the answer is because of the volition of the creatures, whether donkeys or men. They made real choices within time and space. But, on another level we must say because God orchestrated the events to happen just as they did. No differently than He orchestrated the birth of Christ and death of Christ at just the right times (Galatians 4:4, Romans 5:6). We don’t understand how those things work together – how men and women make real choices for which they are responsible yet all things that come to pass are the plan and purpose of God. But, the Bible consistently teaches both are true (see also Acts 2:23).
So does God orchestrate all things? Yes, and I’m thankful He does. If it were otherwise, we’d be at the mercy of the decisions of the creation rather than of the Creator and in whose hands would you rather rest?