The Lord's Will

Scripture: Proverbs 16:9, ‘In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.’


Observations: The ‘heart’ in Hebrew thought refers to a person’s inner being, his motives, will, thoughts and emotions. The idea here is that our plans for the future are formulated by us, by our experiences and our reactions to those experiences, by our dreams and desires, and they are developed by our logic. But the main point of this proverb is that for all our planning it is the Lord who ‘determines’ the outcome of our lives. The Hebrew word here has the idea of ‘making’ or ‘forming.’ Just as God formed us in the womb (Job 31:15; Dt 32:6; Ps 119:73 etc.), and just as God formed the nation of Israel (Ezek 16:7), so God forms our future. It isn’t suggesting that we don’t both making plans, but just that our plans need God’s approval, they need to match up with God’s plans. Elsewhere Proverbs says, ‘In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov 3:6)’ We need to acknowledge that God is sovereign over our plans, that his will matters, not ours.


Application: When you make your plans or decisions do you acknowledge God? Do you, like James suggests, say ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. (Jam 4:15)’ Often we make plans with no regard to God’s will, or whether our plans fit his plans, or whether they bring glory to his name. I wonder if we are missing out so much of God’s blessing because we are busy doing our thing instead of what God wants us to do. It’s worth thinking about.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I so often just come up with idea and plans and implement them without a second thought. I so rarely pray over my plans, asking if they are what You want me to do. Lord, forgive my self-centeredness, and instead help me to remember You in all things. Help me to humble myself before You and submit myself and my future to Your sovereign will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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