Summary: God is not scrambling about trying to work out His plan or make last minute corrections. When we fumble the ball or tragedy occurs, God’s plan has not slipped a gear. The tragedy is a part of God’s plan for our faith to grow and for His glory.
Opening illustration: Consider Charles Colson, the aide to Richard Nixon who was sent to jail for Watergate. As a result of his experience as a convicted felon, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, now the world’s largest Christian outreach to prisoners and their families. Prison Fellowship has more than 50,000 volunteers working in hundreds of prisons in 88 countries around the world. A ministry that has blessed millions of people got started twenty-five years ago because Charles Colson committed a crime. God’s eternal purposes for that man included even the sin that sent him to prison. It was a part of God’s plan from the very beginning. But the story that matters most to you isn’t Peter’s, or Paul’s, or even Charles Colson’s. It’s yours. And what I want to say to you this morning is that the story of your life has not been ruined, not by your sin or anyone else’s. God’s good plan for your life is not buried under the mistakes of the past. God has a plan for your life, a good plan, a wise plan, a loving plan, a sovereign plan, and that plan is still in effect. You haven’t missed it. He is working out that plan in your life right now, today. Will you believe that? And will you renew your commitment this morning to seeking God, and following Him, and serving Him with your whole heart; free of the past, no longer weighed down by regret?
Introduction: When did God form His plan? 2 Timothy 1: 9 declares it is “from all eternity.” 1 Peter 2: 20 says it was from “before the foundation of the world.” God’s plan is an eternal plan that has existed from all eternity. While it is an eternal plan, it is unfolded and manifested in time or human history. However, the entire plan was formed from all eternity and it is not subject to change. God is not scrambling about trying to work out His plan or make last minute corrections. When we fumble the ball, or when things go wrong, or when tragedy strikes, according to Scripture, God’s plan has not slipped a gear. He is still on the throne and in control. The tragedy was (or is) a part of God’s plan. God includes our fumbles and allows the tragedies of life in His sovereign purpose (Isaiah 43: 10-13; 44:6-9, 24-28; 45:6-13, 20-22).
He has foreordained all that comes to pass and this includes the evil and the good and the permission of the evil will ultimately demonstrate His glory and bring praise to Him (Psalm 76: 10).
How does God’s plan work?
1. God’s plans are always MADE in ADVANCE [vs. 1 - 4]
Genesis 46: 3 & 4 “So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes."
God knew of the famine and hunger in the future that is why He made Joseph go through all the hardships and hoops before he became the Prime Minister of Egypt. He received the dream of the famine in the near future and started to gather and store food, which would not only save the Egyptians but Israel’s [Jacob] family and the world.
When the Israelites left Egypt God led them to this place so that they would be surrounded by mountains on two sides, the wilderness on one and the Red Sea at the other. He already had this planned out so that they would now know Who their God is, experience Him at close quarters and witness what He could do for them as well as they would learn to depend on Him always (not only during difficult times). The Israelites had to trust God for their deliverance not their circumstances. In all this God would be glorified.
Illustration: Our move from the Middle-East to the US as missionaries to this land and nation.
2. God’s plans do NOT need your HELP … only you’re OBEDIENCE [vs. 13 & 14]
(a) Fear Not ~ Genesis 46: 3 “So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.”
The angel said to Mary ‘Fear not’ when disclosing the news of the birth of Christ. Again the angel said ‘Fear not’ to the ladies & the disciples who came to the tomb to see Christ, because He was risen.
(b) Stand Still ~ 2 Chronicles 20: 17 “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."