Devotional April 20
Over the next few weeks, you will hear much discussion about plans. Plans moving forward into the summer as we attempt to navigate this pandemic. Plans about how things will look in the next month or two as certain businesses and areas of life are reopened. We can be encouraged or discouraged based on the outcomes of these plans. The reality is that these will not be plans to get things back to normal or the way they were, but an attempt to move us forward in the ever changing landscape that we have been experiencing over the past month and a half. The thing to remember, is that no matter what plans are made, God is the one who is in control. We need to continue to look to Him for our guidance and direction.
The author of Proverbs 16 understood this. He wrote of planning in several verses in that chapter. He starts right away in verse 1 “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” And again in verse 2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” And even once again in verse 3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” It is in this verse that we start to see the idea of trusting in God’s plan over our own. He spends the first two verses establishing that a person’s personal plans and ideas almost always seem good to themselves. We may make our plans and think they are honoring to the Lord. We may think they are going to be successful. We may even think that they are in line with the Lord’s plans. But the author is telling us that first, before we make any plans, even though they may seem right to us in our own eyes, we need to commit our work to the Lord.
Far too often, we plan first, then we pray and attempt to commit our plans to the Lord. Verse 3 is telling us to flip that order. Commit our work, our lives, our livelihoods to the Lord first. Then get on with the planning stages. Commit your plans to the Lord before you even start to formulate them. This is a basic way of saying “not my will, but Yours be done” in imitation of Jesus before He went to the cross. Then seek the Lord in all the planning that you are doing or may do, and then your plans will be established. Not because you have convinced God that your ideas are good and worthy, but because you have taken the time to try and align your will with His, not the other way around. This is how we succeed in God’s eyes. Not that our plans come to the results we had envisioned or desired, but that we are drawn into line with God’s will as we are in the planning process. That is success.
The author goes on to address this issue again in verse 9. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” What he is saying here is simply that the Lord is the one who determines the success or lack thereof of any plans we may make. Therefore, we need to commit ourselves and our plans to Him first, knowing that it is only through Him that those plans will succeed. The outcome may not be what we had first envisioned, but if we are faithful to this process of committing ourselves and our plans to the Lord beforehand, we will end up walking in His will, which is better by far than any plan we might try and put into place on our own. Trust Him today, seek His face in whatever plans you are called to make, and find your satisfaction in growing in your relationship with the Lord, not in whether you end up getting the exact result you had envisioned.