O LORD, you are my God;

I will exalt you; I will praise your name,

for you have done wonderful things,

plans formed of old, faithful and true.

Isaiah 25: 1

 

There are days when the prophet’s idea gets lost in all of the noise and the confusion of life. I admit that I do forget, if only for a few heartbeats, that I serve the true King, who is fully engaged and absolutely in charge of the world where I dwell. There is nothing that is beneath my Lord’s dignity to touch, and no aspect of my life is so insignificant that God does not care about it and for me through it. This is the nature of God. He loves His creation in ways that make the love of the best of fathers seem distant and neglectful. The Lord not only says that He would die for us, He literally suffered awfully and took on death in its fullest expression so that we would not need to endure its ultimate end. This is the sort of God that I do know, and this is the God who is Lord over my life in all ways and at all times.

 

One of the most remarkable things to me about this relationship with God is the fact that it was not of my devising or creation just as it was not the creation of any other person. God planned to remain close to people, and He devised the means for that to happen. He did all of this from the beginning of the existence of this world, and He did it with nothing except love as His motive. God loves this world that is the creative work of His hands with such passion and devotion that He gave Himself, in the form of the Son, over to all that is evil in this world and then He defeated evil and took its power over life and death away from it forever. In so doing, we were set free from the living prison that is sin, and we were sent into life with the capability and the capacity to engage our days with that same love as our motivation and with the wisdom of eternity as our guidance for the journey.

 

This is the nature of the plan that the Lord formed for the benefit of His people and for the salvation of His creation. His plan is truth embodied, and the Lord’s expressed will to carry it out is founded upon His faithful desire to reconcile all that is distanced or separated, all that is broken, in creation. This deep and unshakeable love, a love that the Lord pours out on me continually, is something that I should never stop remembering and recognizing in my mind and in my heart. It is the true song of my heart, and God’s love for me is the solid ground that my feet can count upon even when all else seems to be crumbling away and failing to support me. This is a love that demands righteousness of me when I would rather take an easier path through my day, for Christ does grant to me the freedom to be holy and set apart from the ways of this world in order for me to live in the full expression of God’s truth, grace, and mercy. So Lord, I desire to praise You with my words and to lift You up for all of the world to see in the way that I live my life today!

The LORD of Hosts has sworn:

“As I have planned

so shall it be,

and as I have purposed,

so shall it stand.”

Isaiah 14: 24

 

The thought in this passage goes on to discuss what will happen to Assyria as a result of its godlessness. So, I could start to speculate about who are the Assyrians in our world today and look at what godless things they are doing. However, that is not what strikes me here as being important. Our world has always had its Assyrians, and it will until Christ puts an end to all that is evil in creation. What I am led to focus on are the facts that the Lord plans and He purposes, and so, those plans serve to develop God’s purposes in a way that is reality from the moment of its inception.

 

God doesn’t engage in speculative planning. There are no trial balloons in His processes. When He desires an outcome or sees a need to be met, those outcomes will be achieved. His timing and those process steps along the way to that achievement may require only moments to reach completion or they might take centuries to get there. Yet, God’s plans are never thwarted and are not debatable. It seems that some of these timing issues are mostly related to the Lord’s desire to bring people closer to Him by and through this working out of His will. God wants us to join Him with our passion for the justice and the righteousness that are always a part of the central goal of His planning.

 

So, as the Lord plans, He also sets His purpose to implement those plans. When God purposes to see something done, He applies all of His resources to that endeavor. As I have observed, the Lord’s storehouse of resources is impressive! Yet, He frequently pours them out into people, and allows us to join Him in effecting the outcome of His plans by joining Him in faith in working out the often miraculous work of His will. It seems to me that as a follower of Christ one of the most important things that I can do is to realize the unrelenting and universal truth of God’s oath above, and then to earnestly and continually seek out my Lord’s will for my life. Also, this life truth should lead me to a place where I can rest peacefully in confident assurance of Christ’s victory over all and in God’s plan and purpose for me and my life as it relates to all that exists in the world.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Matthew 24: 35

 

In the midst of teaching on a number of issues and delivering forward-looking statements about the future of Israel, Jesus makes this statement. He is providing what might be considered as investment advice; for, He tells His audience that day and us to consider the future value of the things to which we attach our allegiances. There are things that we can hold onto that are weighty and brilliant and that are even very costly, but they do not last. Their value diminishes with time and is influenced by the forces of human commerce. Most of us do place great importance on possessions and on learning that is also perishable. Neither the possessions nor the learning is necessarily bad, but we need to recognize the temporary and the temporal nature of them.

 

Christ brings us something that comes from beyond our earth-bound existence. He speaks to us with the words of eternity. The truths that come from His mouth are formed beyond time and outside of the constraints of purely human understanding. Although Jesus was the perfect and the final sacrifice that accomplished the Father’s plan for reconciliation of humanity with God, He was much more. Jesus brought the literal presence of God into our world. He demonstrated and taught holiness and righteousness in the setting of the daily life that we all experience. He made real and perfected our understanding of what being formed in God’s image is about. Jesus delivered God’s message of true concern for who we are and how we behave that speaks to our inner selves as being of far greater importance than our outward appearance.

 

However, the real importance and the impact of Christ’s words are not in what He said alone. It is found in the way that they influence us to seek God and to desire to know Him and His will more fully. As the Holy Spirit breathes life into the page-bound utterances, they do actually come to life. Words that were spoken and recorded two thousand years ago are fresh and vibrant in this moment. Jesus’ pronouncements about living in a Greek and Roman influenced Jewish culture during a time when a horse was the fastest form of transportation are accurate and pertinent for our world today. Jesus, as God incarnate, was not bound by the limitations of human understanding. His words endure as the standard and guide for living in the center of God’s will. Investing in them is guaranteed to bring a return that is perfect and eternal.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29: 11

 

God has plans for me. That can be a very troubling thought, or it can be a truly comforting one. My response to this idea is primarily based upon my view of God and upon how well developed my own plans are at this time. If I know with absolute certainty where my life is headed and I am working hard to assure that future, it can be very difficult to set all of that effort and my thoroughly designed game plan aside for a time in order to do what is necessary for me to truly hear the will of God expressed. It is hard for me to enter into this period of prayer and meditation, this cessation of my own efforts toward my goals, in order for my voice to recede into the background.

 

In order to do this I need to trust God more than I trust myself. This depth of trust comes from knowing God well. As I look upon Him in His Word and in the world, the nature and the character of the Lord are fully on display. Often it is God’s people who present the most telling demonstration of His unceasing trustworthiness as they tell the stories of their lives and the ways that God has been with them and taken them through all that they have encountered during the journey. This undeniable and continual presence of God is a very clear indicator of His faithfulness to myself and to all of His people.

 

So, when God tells me that He has plans for me, I can trust that, in fact, those plans are the ones that I should seek out and follow. However, seeking and following doesn’t necessarily mean that I stop all that I am doing and wait until the message from God is clear to me. The Lord often works through our efforts as we yield them to His will. He illuminates certain paths and darkens others. His will is frequently expressed through the prayerful advice of Godly people. Some of His ways are hard and the environment there can be harsh and unfriendly, but He goes with us to those places and shows us His strength when ours fails. The one thing that I can count on is that God knows where He wants me to go, and He is the sovereign Lord of that place.