Chance on Trial

By Emad Khoury

"…And she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz," (Ruth 2:3).

The “divine chance”: In the Hebrew Masoretic Text - the original ancient language of the Old Testament we find the words “She happened to come" written: "Vayekir Mikreh - ויקר מקרה" which means literally "Her chance chanced upon”. It is astonishing that the word "Chance" has a place in God's word and dealings! Doesn't this question God's sovereignty, provision, and our security in him? Yes, it does if we understand the word "Chance" here as luck, fortune, random probability, and fate. Certainly, the writer of the book of Ruth does not ascribe what happened to Ruth and Boaz to impersonal forces and elements, but to assignable divine cause: The Lord's hand. For Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz all that was taking place "by chance or accidentally" was neither arranged nor predictable beforehand by them. They were indeed the main human elements involved in this marvelous story with its indescribable end; however they were not at this point aware of what was going on! The “divine chance” formed by the almighty God was both entirely causing and controlling what happens and determining the outcome in amazing ways. His divine intervention is supreme whether he arranges a certain marriage like this or when he intervenes at the last moment to prevent another marriage or any other matter of which he disapproves for his children! So we know that those whose marriage has suffered wreckage by a storm of separation or divorce are not excluded from God’s plan and care.   

Chance on trial: In returning the Ark of the Covenant to the land of Judah, the Philistines carried out a test for “chance”, to see if the plagues which had come upon them were the heavy hand of Jehovah or mere chance. “They made a new cart, took two milk cows which had never been yoked, and hitched the cows to the cart; and took their calves home, away from them. Then they took the ark of the LORD and set it on the cart and sent it away, and let it go. And watched: if it went up the road to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done them this great evil. But if not, then they should know that it is not His hand that struck them—it happened to them by chance.
 And behold the cows headed straight for the road to Beth Shemesh, leaving – contrary to all natural instincts - their calves behind, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left, being pulled by God’s invisible power.” 1Samuel (6:7-12).

 The main purpose: Let us be sure that nothing occurs to us by chance. All that happens to us in every area of our lives is intended and designed by our heavenly father who has already counted and numbered the very hairs of our head (Luke 12:7). Without excluding any tiny event, all that we encounter, as his own elect ones, on our way, is not accidental. The Lord is at work in the universe and particularly in our lives and he intends through problems, chaos, trials, indecision, sickness and perplexity, to make each one of his children in the likeness of Christ’s Character, thus leading us to draw nearer to him and enjoy an intimate friendship with his meek person. There is no other way to try and refine the metal of our personalities and faith that enables the divine Refiner to accomplish his genuine work in and through us. It is inevitable. Even more, we should remember that he prepares each one of us to be qualified and appointed to a distinct role assigned here on earth and in heaven for all eternity.  

   May God open the eyes of our minds that we may see his unmistakable arm involved in all our affairs, and then our arguments and bitterness are to vanish away, being replaced by contentment and rejoicing in his presence. The moment when in his light we see what we are going through from the Lord’s stand point, our hearts will be calm and able to accept his dealings with us. Afterwards, and in due time our wonderful God will doubtless exalt us. (1 Peter 5:6).