Summary: People can make plans; God determines how things will turn out
Man proposes but God disposes
Thomas a Kempis. Wrote the second most widely read Christian text after the Bible itself the Imitation of Christ. It contains many sensitively and wisely expressed insights into spirituality and morals.
In Chapter 19 of Book 1 we find:
"For the resolutions of the just depend rather on the grace of God than on their own wisdom; and in Him they always put their trust, whatever they take in hand. For man proposes, but God disposes; neither is the way of man in his own hands".
In other words - People can make plans; God determines how things will turn out.
How does this apply to us?
Most of us wanted to be something when we were younger, maybe you dreamed of being a fireman, a doctor, movie star, or a truck driver like my younger brother. I dreamed of having a family to love, and being loved by them.
It’s safe to say that we have planed our course in life, and some of our dreams have come true, and some haven’t.
Today I believe we will see that man can make plans and have dreams, but in the end he can do no more and no less than what God intends.
God has a purpose for each of us and a plan to use each of us.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
A. In the final analysis, it is always God’s designs and not man’s plans that are being advanced
B. Man goes to great length to plan his career, but the LORD alone determines whether these plans ever come to pass.
1. Saul of Tarsus planned to persecute the Christian saints in Damascus but ended up becoming one of them!
a) Here was a man who took God seriously, who knew God would have the last word, and who sought to align himself with God’s will..
b) He lived by another proverb..
Proverbs 3:5,6.. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
2. Onesimus planned to leave Philemon forever but God brought him back on better terms than ever.
a) It is Suggested that he had stolen from Philemon
Philemon 10-19 NIV
10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him — who is my very heart — back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back — not to mention that you owe me your very self.
b) but better than a slave, as a dear brother
c) He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord
3. Jonah had One idea, God had another
a) Jonah wanted the Ninevites to perish
b) NINEVEH (City of Nin) was the capital of the ancient kingdom and empire of Assyria
c) Johan was concerned with what he wanted, and not what God wanted
d) God used Jonah as a too for their restoration.
4. Joseph was sold into slavery, but God used him in a great and mighty way
In the eyes of his older brothers, Joseph was a spoilt child, the favorite of his father. One day they ‘took it out’ on him. They seized him when he came out into the fields and sold him to a slave trader. He was taken to Egypt. There he became the Pharaoh’s right hand man. A famine hit the whole land. Only Egypt had food. His brothers went down to Egypt for help and it was Joseph they had to deal with. They did not recognize him but Joseph recognized them and eventually made himself known to them.