On my bike ride today, I passed a place that always has interesting sayings on their sign. Today the sign said, “My eyes won’t tell me what to see.” I don’t know what they had in mind with this saying, but I was thinking about how when following God, you cannot base your belief on what you see with your eyes because we live by faith. Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” If you just go by what your eyes can see, you may not follow God’s plan for your life. For many, living by faith is just a verse in the bible because most really like to have a roadmap in front of them with everything all laid out. They want to see, taste and touch and it needs to be familiar. Living by faith mean you trust God’s word to guide you and it may be completely different than you could even imagine as we see with the life of Joseph. Acts 7:9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.”
Trusting God’s word is not naivety, but you do need to follow God’s word to be faithful. God’s word makes it very clear that His plans are not man’s plans as we saw with Joseph and even Job. Man’s plans usually involve man’s wisdom, ability and strength to make those plans happen. I say usually because man really has no control as to what the future holds. You could have the best laid plans but injury, death, sickness, financial loss can bring those plans to a sudden standstill. Even so, most would rather take their chances than waiting for God’s plan to unfold. Living by faith means you will wait for God’s plan to unfold, and most do not like waiting. Psalm 106:10 “He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. 11 The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. 12 Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. 13 But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.” Not waiting for God’s plan to unfold leads to disaster. Solomon lost the kingdom because He refused to wait for God. Samuel said to Saul, 1 Samuel 10:8 “you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” Then the enemy advanced against them. 1 Samuel 13:7 “and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. 11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.” Samuel said, 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
Samuel showed up just as he said he would. Saul did not wait the full seven days and because the enemy was advancing against them, he took matters into his own hands and did not trust God’s plan. The reason many do not like God’s plans is that it means testing, trusting and waiting. That does not bode well for most, especially in North America where the do-it-yourselfer is king. Saul did not trust God and failed the test and lost the kingdom and his soul. God said in His promise to David, 2 Samuel 7:15 “But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” Sadly, he waited almost the full seven days but when the enemy advanced, he gave up on God and took it into his own hands. Later he would disobey again and even “set up a monument in his own honor.”
Unlike Saul, there is hope for the church, even though the church has gone its own way and refuses to follow God’s plans. The promise to David means there would always be a remnant. Sadly a remnant is a small portion of survivors. The church decided to go their own way and follow their own plans just as they did in the Old Testament. Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.” Psalm 107:10 “Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains, 11 because they rebelled against God’s commands and despised the plans of the Most High. 12 So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. 13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 16 for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.” The problem with the church today is that there is so much deception and delusion, the church doesn’t know enough to cry out to God. This means that the church despises the plans of God and prefers their own.
If you are not following the word of God wholeheartedly, the plans of God will seem strange to you. People may even think you have lost your mind but as always, what does scripture tell us. Isaiah said, Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” During Job’s persevering, he remained faithful even though he had lost everything, and it would appear to most that he had sinned against God. God’s plan for Job was not at all what his wife and friends and those who knew him thought was going on. What they thought they could see did not include God. God then allowed Job to lose everything. Job 1:6 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to satan, “Where have you come from?” satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8 Then the Lord said to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job then lost his children and possessions. 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Then Job 2:4 “Skin for skin!” satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 6 The Lord said to satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” satan’s plan was to get Job to curse God. Job’s wife based her thoughts on what she could see and yes there was much devastation and pain, but God’s plan was at work. We have the book of Job before us, but he did not have what we have, but remained faithful. His wife tried to get him to curse God and die, to which Job responded, Job 2:10 “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Then most of the book of Job is about his friends trying to convince him he was a sinner and must have done something to cause all of this. Even those who knew Job mocked him, even though Job was a great man of standing. Job 29:7 “When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, 8 the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; 9 the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands; 10 the voices of the nobles were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. 11 Whoever heard me spoke well of me, and those who saw me commended me.” Job 30:1 “But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs. 9 “And now those young men mock me in song; I have become a byword among them. 10 They detest me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face. 11 Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me, they throw off restraint in my presence.” They were relentless but Job did not give in. Job 27:2 “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter, 3 as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 my lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies. 5 I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. 6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Job 23:10 “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Job 19:25 “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes— I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
Job was a faithful man of God. Job 1:1 “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 29:12 “because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them. 13 The one who was dying blessed me; I made the widow’s heart sing. 14 I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. 15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. 16 I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. 17 I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth.” 18 “I thought, ‘I will die in my own house, my days as numerous as the grains of sand. 19 My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. 20 My glory will not fade; the bow will be ever new in my hand.” Even though Job was a man of God, he came to the realization that God was much more than he knew. Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” God then blessed Job. Job’s obedience and perseverance would be a guide to all those who would follow. We see satan at work and we see God’s plans at work. We see a man of faith and those who only saw with their eyes. James would then use Job as an example. James 5:10 “Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
God does not change, and we still must follow His ways / plans and not our own. Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Deuteronomy 32:1 “Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Hosea 14:9 “Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. 10 The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” King Nebuchadnezzar came to the realization that God was sovereign and said, Daniel 4:34 “I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done? 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
God tells us this. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has plans for us and they are not our plans. If we refuse to submit our plans to God, we will end up following the wrong path, at that path will lead to death. King Nebuchadnezzar’s son did not learn the lesson his father learned. Daniel 5:22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” God wants to bless us but if we rebel against Him, His plans for us will change. Jeremiah 18:11 “This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ 12 But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’” Zechariah 1:6 “But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors? “Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’” It is better to trust and obey and submit to God’s plans. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
Jesus died so that we would have life. Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” John 3:36“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” It is here we learn what it means to submit to God’s plan. When they came to arrest Jesus John 18:10 “Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Matthew 26:52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Luke 22:51 “But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” We know that Peter did not always understand God’s plan. Matthew 16:21 “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
When the time came for Jesus to die, Matthew 26:36 “Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Submission to God mean we say, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus taught us to pray this prayer but for most it is just a ritual. Jesus said Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” 1 Chronicles 29:10 “David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
Can you say Your will be done and submit to God’s plan even though those around you don’t see it like Job? Will it be God’s plan or your own? As you seek God, His plan will unfold in your life. Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” As always test the spirits and make sure what is happening in your life resembles scripture but not the rebellious part.