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Sunday, July 13th
Today's Daily Verse is found in Proverbs 16.9
"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." - New Living Translation
It is a mystery...
How GOD can accomplish His fixed purpose by "free-willed agents" - us!
Man, without a free will is nothing more than a machine. That, we are not.
On the other hand, GOD without His unchangeable purpose ceases to be GOD
Malachi 3.6 expresses that fact..."I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed."
As rational agents...we think, we consult, and we act freely
Now, this is where it gets interesting -
As dependent agents, the Lord exercises His own power in permitting, overruling, or furthering our actions -
"You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail."
"No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord."
"But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken."
"Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish."
"Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission?"
It can be said, Man proposes, GOD disposes....Man devises, GOD directs.
GOD orders our will without infringing our liberty of choice, or disturbing our responsibility.
For, while we act as we please, we must be and we are answerable and accountable.
The amazing thing is that GOD directs us to an important end, or event - but He does it by directing "every step" and "every turn" along the way...
Psalms 37.23 "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives."
Proverbs 20.24 "The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?"
Jeremiah made a statement "I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course." Jeremiah 10.23
How little did Joseph's brothers contemplate GOD's overruling of their evil intentions.
They put Joseph in a pit. Sold him.
But GOD had other plans for Joseph. He became the very person to provide for his brothers when the famine came into the land...
Genesis 35.26-28 "Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. 27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
Genesis 45.5 "But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives."
Let's look at Saul of Tarsus...
Saul became Paul the Apostle...
Man proposes, GOD disposes.
Saul starts off in one direction, only to find it being changed by GOD's purposes...
And Paul becomes GOD's primary disciple to disperse His message...
When Saul's heart was devising slaughter against the disciples, and witnessed the stoning of Stephen, GOD had other plans...
Acts 9.1-6 "Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Look at David...when David simply obeyed his father, to bring food to his brothers - little did he know the grand crisis towards which GOD was directing his steps...
1 Samuel 17
verse 17 "One day Jesse said to David, “Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers.
v18 "And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.
v23 "As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel."
v58 "Tell me about your father, young man,” Saul said.
And David replied, “His name is Jesse, and we live in Bethlehem.”
We need much discipline to wean ourselves from wanting to proceed ahead on any plan based on "what I want to do"...
To seek GOD's direction and guidance is the better way. David says it well -
Psalms 143.10 "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing."
Remember this -
GOD knows the whole way - every step of the way - and "the end from the beginning."
How does GOD direct us?
How does GOD stop our enemies?
How does GOD know what to do?
I believe there is a connection that needs to be considered. GOD alone reads and knows every thought of everyone alive.
GOD know what we are thinking, He knows what our enemy is thinking, and there is nothing secret from GOD. He knows everything that is going on, and is able to re-direct intents and men's plans by overruling men's thoughts and feeding GOD thoughts into the situation...
Enemies that want to kill someone, suddenly change their mind...
That does not just happen! More on this at a later time.
See you tomorrow...
In the meantime:
May I encourage you to call or email someone and invite them to join us in our daily study in Proverbs...
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