His Plans or Ours?
Over the next month, Time With God will be studying the book of Proverbs. Although we will read an entire chapter each day, the study questions in Digging Deeper will focus on select verses addressing a specific topic.
When my husband left graduate school, he could not find a job. When he learned that there was a consulting position at the company he had longed to work for since graduate school, we were overjoyed. We felt that this was an answer to prayer, so we were utterly confused and discouraged when he did not get the job.
Two years later, I got a job in a different state. The same company that my husband had dreamed of working for had a regional office in that state, and they gave him the consulting position that we had earnestly prayed for two years earlier. God planted our family in a bigger city and opened doors to different paths that we would not have taken if we had stayed in our small college town.
- Do you struggle with disappointment when God’s timing does not match your plans?
Read the Word
Proverbs 16 (ESV)
16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
4 The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
7 When a man's ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness
than great revenues with injustice.
9 The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
10 An oracle is on the lips of a king;
his mouth does not sin in judgment.
11 A just balance and scales are the Lord's;
all the weights in the bag are his work.
12 It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
for the throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14 A king's wrath is a messenger of death,
and a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of a king's face there is life,
and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
whoever guards his way preserves his life.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it,
but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
26 A worker's appetite works for him;
his mouth urges him on.
27 A worthless man plots evil,
and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28 A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends.
29 A man of violence entices his neighbor
and leads him in a way that is not good.
30 Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things;
he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.
31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.
32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the Lord.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 1-3, 9, and 20.)
- What happens when we commit our work to the Lord (vs. 3)?
- Even with all our planning, who brings our plans to fruition and establishes our steps (vs. 9)?
- What is the reward for trusting in the Lord (vs. 20)?
- Two verses discuss how the Lord establishes our plans (vss. 3, 9). How are our plans established?
- What issue of the heart will we have to face when yielding to God’s will (vs. 20)? Where have you reaped the reward discussed in question 3, above?
Respond to God
It’s normal to be disappointed when God’s timing does not match our plans or expectations for our lives. If our plans succeed, we can be successful in life, but true satisfaction comes from yielding to God’s will and trusting in him. So, before we make plans for our lives, we must seek God’s direction and guidance. If we are willing to listen, God speaks to us through the Scriptures, godly counsel, and the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 16:3 assures us that if we commit our work to the Lord, God will establish our plans. Trusting God’s plan is the best thing we could ever do, because he is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above what we are able to ask … or even think (Ephesians 3:20-21)!
- Lord, help me to commit my plans to you and yield to your will. Help me to trust that your way is the best way for my life.