This is the sermon for Wednesday evening, December 10th, 2008.
EVERYDAY WISDOM PART 14
Man’s plans; God’s will.
I’m a planner. I’ve been for a few years now. I start making plans for my day as soon as I wake up in the morning. I may not have the plans down on paper, but they are in my mind. I also hate when things go against my plans and I have to alter them. It can be quite difficult for me to let go of my plans.
Whether you are a planner, or you are someone who just does things without planning, we need to understand something this morning: despite our best made plans, God is Sovereign. He is in control.
We may prepare but God is the one who ultimately governs.
In Proverbs 16, Solomon has many things to say. In synopsis we find: God is in control; He has made all things for Himself; He hates pride; He has good advice for rulers of nations and those under their authority; He has created the scales; and God determines the outcome. These are all evidences that God is Sovereign and governs.
Before we go into tonight’s teaching, what does Sovereign mean? Having supreme rank, power, or authority. Being supreme; preeminent; indisputable; being above all others in character, importance, and excellence.”
These are good ways of defining God as Sovereign. He has supreme rank, power, and authority. He is preeminent, and indisputable; He is above all others in character, importance, and excellence.”
Our plans will only succeed if they follow the Lord’s direction.
Proverbs 16:1-4&9 TNIV – 1 To human beings belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. 2 People may think all their ways are pure, but motives are weighed by the LORD. 3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. 4 The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster. 9 In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Notice first that this Proverb does not state that we are not to make plans. It is just that God is not obligated to make sure that our plans are fulfilled. In v. 4 it states that the Lord has made everything for its proper end. He is only obligated in fulfilling His plans for us, not our own.
Let’s go just quickly through these verses here.
We may plan what we are to say, but in the end, God controls that and if He so chooses, He can change what we say.
Proverbs 16:1 TNIV – To human beings belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
Remember the story of Balaam. He was going to curse Israel, but every time he opened his mouth, God made him speak blessings. There are many times that I plan out my sermons and what I’m going to say, but when I get up to say them, the Lord begins dropping other things to say in my heart. That doesn’t mean I’m not supposed to plan. What it does mean is that God is the one who governs even what I say, and if He so chooses, He can change my plans and cause me to say things I hadn’t planned or even thought of before.
We may think our plans and motives for doing something is pure, but the Lord knows and determines if they are or not.
Proverbs 16:2 TNIV – People may think all their ways are pure, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
You see, we can deceive even ourselves and think that we are pure and our actions and plans are pure. The reason we can deceive ourselves is because we are not perfect judges even of our own character. But God is a perfect judge of our plans, motives, and character because He is the only one that has a perfect, unblemished character. He can see beyond even what we may not be aware of and expose our heart and motives as not being completely pure.
Notice the prayer of the Psalmist.
Psalm 19:12&14 TNIV – 12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
If we want our plans to succeed, trust the Lord enough to give them to Him.
Proverbs 16:3 TNIV – Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
This is more than saying that God is in control. This is to dedicate our works, dreams, visions, and plans over to Him. This means that we offer our works, dreams, visions, and plans to the Lord, that He may do to them whatever He will. If He wants to change them, so be it. If He wants them to remain the same, so be it. By offering our plans to the Lord, His plans will become our plans and He will make sure that His plans are successful.
J. Allen Blair made this wonderful statement of truth, “Occasionally we find ourselves disturbed and depressed, even in trying to do the Lord’s work. Could anything be further from what God desires? God cannot work through anxious hearts. Whenever a Christian reaches this state, he should stop at once and ask himself, “Whose work is it?” If it’s God’s work, never forget the burden of it is His, too. You are not the important person. Christ is! He is at work through us. What should we do then when things do not go well? Go to Him! Anything less than this is disobedience.”
God has a purpose for everything, even wicked people cannot live outside the purpose of God.
Proverbs 16:4 TNIV – The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.
Everything that God has created in all of creation was created according to His own purpose. According to this passage God has created a time or day of judgment for the wicked, and He created this time of judgment to fulfill His purposes and plans.
Let’s look at the way the New Century Version translates this passage.
NCV – The Lord makes everything goes as He pleases; He has even prepared a day of disaster for evil people.
One more reminder that we may make plans, but it is the Lord that establishes our direction.
Proverbs 16:9 TNIV – In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Why do you suppose that the Lord has to remind us of this statement? Well, I think as humans, we like to be in control, or think we are in control. But He has to continue to remind us that He is in control, and any planning or even success or failure that is in our planning or actions He is in control of.
Steven Curtis Chapman said it well in one of his songs, “God is God and I am not.”
We are going to stop here tonight. Next time we will look at what the Lord has to say about those who govern nations.
Why is it important to know that God is Sovereign and is ruling and reigning and He is the ultimate authority even if our plans are successful or not? Well, for one thing, if we learn this truth, we will be less anxious and stressful about things, whether they go our way or not, because we have come to realize that God is in control. Our success is not determined by how much we plan or how much we work to fulfill that plan. Our success is determined by God and His Sovereign will.
In light of this, be an encouragement to those who are being anxious and worrying. Remind them that the Lord is in control. He doesn’t need man’s permission to act, or to change things according to His purpose. He is God, and He will make sure that His purposes and plans will be done, not others.