Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Detoured? Things not turning out like you planned? God is still Sovereign and You can trust Him!
(Update 3-8-2011, This is a re-post of a blog written in April 2010, as I was about to take my wife to MD Anderson Cancer Center for the second time last spring, a totally unexpected "detour" in our lives. But God is still in control, and is still Sovereign!! He is sustaining her (and our family). We give Worship, Praise, and Glory to Him now and forever, Amen!! )
(Update 7-12-2011, While reading through old posts, I reposted this one AGAIN (and may do so often) for my own encouragement, as I am recovering from shoulder surgery for which I was off work for a month, but seems trivial compared to my wife who continues to be in constant pain. She just received the worst set of labwork in a year from the Oncologist, who's counsel was not very encouraging to her)
While studying through the gospel narratives of Jesus' birth with my family around Christmas, followed by a study through Daniel, and recently reading/studying through Genesis, I've been pondering how Scripture consistently teaches that God is Sovereign in all things! Not just some things, as you hear all-too-often today. His Sovereignty is never limited by Himself nor any outside source.
Nothing ever takes Him by surprise. He never has to wring His hands and say "uh-oh, I didn't expect that, what do I do now". No, He sits enthroned in the Heavens and "works all things according to the counsel of His Will." (Ephesians 1:11) We can trust Him!
If, and when we make our plans, but our plans seem to get detoured, we can still trust in God's Sovereignty.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
I think of Joseph in Genesis. He had those dreams which he knew God had given him and would fulfill. What he didn't know was how the LORD was going bring it to pass. Hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, thrown into prison, etc...probably not the way he had "planned it". But later, He didn't simply tell his brothers God just turned things around and USED them for good. He told them God MEANT it for good. Big difference there. Some people like to use the Rick Warren approach, and search through 10 or 15 translations or paraphrases till they find a Bible version that says what they want the verse to say (as he did in his book The Purpose Driven Life.) But the NASB and the ESV (2 of today's best translations according to the scholars I respect)say "MEANT" in both places of vs. 20.
Genesis 50:20(ESV)As for you, you MEANT evil against me, but God MEANT it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive...
Genesis 50:20(NASB)As for you, you MEANT evil against me, but God MEANT it for good,in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive...
Genesis 50:20 (NIV)You INTENDED to harm me, but God INTENDED it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Also, the KJV Strong's Hebrew original for both words are the same.
Joseph's brothers were fully responsible before God and Joseph for their sinful actions, and at the same time, God was working all things according to the counsel of His will. How can man be held responsible for his actions if God is Sovereign over all? I can't explain how it all works but God is All-Sovereign-All-The-Time, I'm just simple enough to believe what Scripture teaches. It teaches both man's responsibility, and God's Sovereignty.
Deuteronomy 29:29(ESV)The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law
I also think of Joseph in Matthew. He probably planned to marry Mary and live a quiet, settled, secluded family life in his hometown. No idea what was about to happen. God had plans he didn't know about. He found out that Mary was with child before their wedding was final, and was about to "put her away privately, because he was a just man". Enter Gabriel, sent from God. Things changed in a major way! He was informed that his espoused wife would give birth to the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Wow! What a change of plans! This Son of God whom Joseph was entrusted to raise was heralded by an Angelic Host, laid in a lowly manger, visited by shepherds, and later worshiped by Magi from the East who brought gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Now things may have looked to Joseph like they would live a "Royal" life. But King Herod sought to kill Jesus. "Enter Gabriel" again. He told him to take Jesus and flee to Egypt. Then "enter Gabriel" again, told him to return home. Then as he returned to Israel, Joseph was told in another dream to "withdraw" to Nazareth of Galilee. Seemed like every time he may have thought things might settle down, God had other plans.
In both of these examples, as well as all throughout Scripture, and all throughout history, God was working out all the details as He revealed HIS GLORY in a mighty way! I know and believe He's doing the same in our lives even now!
I could type for days on this subject, but must wrap up this blog for now.
(I may write more on this later as time permits, and as God continues to work in our lives)
Job 42:2 ESV
"I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Psalm 50:15 ESV
and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me
I also think of Romans 8:28(ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Posted by Don