Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. He said, ‘I will rise, I will cover the earth, I will destroy cities and their inhabitants.”
Recently, I was part of a staff meeting where we were looking ahead and spent some time dreaming and envisioning where our church might be in five years. And from this meeting, we came up with some measurable goals that we want to reach by a certain timeframe. However, at the end of the discussion, our lead pastor made an interesting point. Although it’s great to have several goals we want to check off by a certain time, we cannot presume upon the Lord as if we are entitled to these things—as if accomplishing everything in our plans is the true measure of success. More than planning, it is important to constantly be sensitive to the voice of God in order to remain aligned to His will, even if they are contrary to our 5-year plans. True success for our church is to follow the leading of God, not the plans of man.
In our passage today, we see the grandiose plans of the Egyptians who proclaimed that they would conquer and cover the earth. They were powerful and made plans that they believed they could accomplish. I mean, who would have stopped this mighty empire? However, we know that the main point of this chapter is to vividly illustrate their destruction and the foiling of their big plans. No matter how much they tried to change the course of history with their might, it is always the plans of God that prevail.
For our generation, 5-year plans have become very popular. We love to plan our lives, set goals that need to be accomplished, and do everything we can to make sure it all unfolds just like we had imagined. And then we proceed to bring these plans to God and ask Him to bless them—even becoming bitter or resentful towards Him if our lives do not go the way we had wanted. In some ways, we always want God to adjust His plans to fit ours. But I wonder if we have it all backwards. I wonder how different our lives would look if we are always ready to adjust our plans to God’s—if we remain in a posture of listening rather than presuming that these things are owed to us. Don’t get me wrong—planning is important—but let us always be attentive to the voice of God and be ready to adjust. God’s plans will always prevail and that is a good thing because His plans are always better than ours!
Prayer: God, today I seek Your direction and leading. As I plan my life and think about the future, help me to always be attentive to Your leading and give me the ability to discern what is of You and what is not. And most of all, help me to trust in You more than myself!
Bible Reading for Today: Haggai 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Questions to Consider
- What does this passage imply about our own understanding about life?
- What do you think it means to acknowledge Him in all your ways?
- What areas of your life have you leaned upon with your own understanding?
- It implies that our own understanding is not to be fully trusted. Although we often think we can see all aspects of our life’s situation, we have many blind spots that distort reality—leading to bad decisions that feel right at the moment. Our ultimate trust when it comes to planning our lives cannot be placed in our own understanding.
- It means that, first, you have sought the Lord and received some blessings from him (e.g., wisdom that leads to making a better decision, an open door, etc.); and then afterwards, you give credit where credit is due by publicly acknowledging and thanking God for His favors. It also means a life submitted to God.
- Personal response.
In the busyness of our lives, it’s difficult to sit before God in a listening posture. Take advantage of the quiet night and ask God to show you His plans. Submit before Him different parts of your life and ask Him what it might mean to be aligned to His will in those areas.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Prov. 19:21).