References: Matthew 10:16-39, esp. vv. 29-31; Isaiah 49:13-23
Life can be a pretty scary proposition. We live in a world under the curse of sin, which means lawlessness, cruel dictators and taskmasters, tornados, floods, terrible accidents, and viruses. In such a world, how can we understand this statement in our confession: “Without the will of my Father in heaven, not a hair can fall from my head”?
Such a statement produces two responses. First, it’s viewed as a basic principle: God watches over you, but don’t take it to the extreme of hairs on your head. After all, look at all the contingencies out there. Sure, of course, God watches over us, but some things are just going to go wrong. Second, this statement can be believed, actually and truly, and we can live our lives accordingly.
This may not be an easy concept to comprehend, but the scripture teaches it. The passage’s context clearly demonstrates that we are to take this promise seriously, to its full extent.
I ask you to consider all the possibilities of things that could happen to you. Then picture living your life if God didn’t control the details, but maybe just oversaw things in general. How would you face such a life? I shudder to imagine it.
Yet when we confess God’s sovereignty over the details, does it remove all fear? The catechism’s statement, taken from Christ’s declaration, is based on the absolute sovereignty of God. God is omnipotent, up to and including the hairs on your head.
Further, Jesus speaks of the will of your Father, based on His sovereign power and control of all things, a loving Father who has shed His love upon you, adopted you, cares for you, and protects you.
However, notice very carefully: it does not say no hair will ever fall from your head. It simply says “without the will of the Father.” Similarly, our creed in Q&A #26 says, “Whatever evil He sends upon me in this troubled life, he will turn to my good; for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing also, being a faithful Father.”
I ask you to consider with me for some direction in dealing with these “whatever evils” in our lives.
God or man
Let us note first the context for the statement in Matthew about the hairs on your head being numbered. It addresses faithfully serving Christ, since the King has sent you into His Kingdom. In that context Jesus talks about your value, your worth to the Father who has called you unto Himself. Now you are called, He has given you the purpose of service in His Kingdom.
Jesus compares your worth with that of a sparrow. Apparently it was common in that world to purchase a sparrow in the marketplace so you could roast the meat and eat it. You could buy one for the smallest amount of money, and if you bought two you would get a third added for nothing. A sparrow, then, had about the least possible value, and yet this least valuable thing does not fall out of the sky without God’s will. It speaks of His care of His creation, even encompassing such a worthless part of it. It speaks of God’s sovereignty.
Compare that care with knowing you are a child of the Father. Not just made in His image, we are invited into a loving relationship, adopted into sonship.
There is no comparison to how much more valuable you are. If the Father’s will is totally involved in a sparrow falling to the ground, how much more is His will involved in protecting you… to the point of every hair on your head.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.