It is said that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Solomon shares with us how well God lays out His plans for His children. Whose laughing now?
This section of proverbs is tied together with the reference to man’s plans or God’s plans. At least that’s how my bible helps sees it. I have to concur with their thoughts. God has plans laid out for every individual who was ever born. His plans begin before creation and go to after the final battle with Satan. NOTHING can derail His plans! And when HE is making your plans, you can bet the farm that they will succeed!
Verses 1 and 9 both speak of man making his plans in his heart. “I have my heart set on ____” would be a perfect example of that. But not ALL of mans’ plans line up with God’s plans. Remember back to Moses and Pharaoh. God told Moses that He was going to bring His people out of Egypt “with a mighty hand.” He did this through “hardening” Pharaoh’s heart. Whenever Moses went to stand before Pharaoh, he took the words of the Lord. He didn’t have to ‘write out a speech’ or practice it before a mirror prior to standing before Pharaoh. God gave Moses AND Aaron the words to say at just the right time. God also authored EACH step of Moses’ journey. This only happens when we submit our lives to Him.
God didn’t have to set Pharaoh in a position of power. He didn’t even have to let Egypt grow into a nation. He could have stopped it in its tracks. But He didn’t. I FULLY believe God put Potiphar and Pharaoh in Joseph’s path. He had a purpose for Joseph that had to run through these two men. Without these events the story wouldn’t have near the impact it does today. The same holds true for the people attached to ‘obstacles’ in our lives. Without our growth wouldn’t be complete. It might be easier for a time but we wouldn’t be who we are today.
I’m SO GLAD that not EVERY DAY is a struggle or a lesson. Solomon tells us that “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (verse 7). We see this in Joseph’s life too. After Joseph had endured MUCH, his life was elevated and Pharaoh himself called him “friend.” A slave no more. THEN, if that wasn’t enough, his brothers were restored to him. They were his ‘frenemies’, friends who were really enemies. (I’m shocked that my spell check didn’t have a fit over that word.) I have a feeling most families with more than two children have some who feel like they are ‘frenemies.’
The thing about Joseph though is that we are given to understand that he was always walking in the Lord’s ways. We don’t have any stories of him where he was in the wrong. As I sit here thinking about Joseph’s life, I wonder if he had a proud heart. He relished telling his family about his dreams. He was his father’s obvious favorite. He was quick to tell of his brother’s transgressions.
His high position was stripped away from him when he became a slave in Egypt. Was he proud of his position in Potiphar’s house? Was he still proud when the baker and cup bearer had their dreams? He was anything but proud when he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams. He clearly stated that God gave the interpretation. Did he have to be humbled before he could be lifted up? Only God knows the answer to that. But he would not be the same man without those humbling times.
I guess that question leads us right back to verse 2; “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” Joseph probably saw nothing wrong with his sharing his dreams. His brothers certainly saw it as pride. His heart was for God to weigh and to deal with accordingly.
I’ve certainly thought my actions and motives were pure at times, and then when I looked back on them, I realized they weren’t. This usually happened after God weighed my heart and dealt with me as He knew I needed.
This brings us to verse 3; “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Even when I have been weighed and found wanting in my motives, if I commit myself to following Him the BEST I can, He will lead me where I need to be. When I give ALL of myself to Him and let Him lead the way, it is amazing what He can accomplish! Sometimes my biggest obstacle of God using me is my pride in being used. I can work till my fingers bleed, but it I’m taking the glory, my work falls flat. When I give HIM the glory there is not telling what He can accomplish with what I have surrendered to Him.
Bottom line, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). Don’t worry if your plans seem to fall flat, let God direct you and He will make your path sure and secure. Give Him your whole life and there is no limit to what He can make of it. Even the little things count when done as unto Him.
Father God, thank You for reminding me today to stop looking for praise and accolades. EVERYTHING I have comes from You and I want to give it back to You. Let everything I do be a reflection of You. Let it point others to You. I want to be Your instrument. I know that an ‘instrument’ can make NO music without the hands of the Master playing on it. When both are ‘working’ together, music flows that moves even the coldest heart!