Plans of the heart
I love the book of Proverbs, such challenging statements within. listen to these again.
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
and we find something similar in verse 9
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
What straightforward teaching. what a challenge as well. Don’t we want to plan it all out sometimes.
I know people, they call them “a type” personalities, that have such a detailed plan of events in their lives that it boggles the mind. but who is really in control? that’s what these verses really point to, who is in ultimate control. these verses can bring us back to the right perspective.
listening to a preacher this week, he used an illustration of how sometimes we try to get God to fit into our story. We can sometimes think we are the author of our story and that Jesus is just a supporting actor. But history is His story, and He is the author of life. He knows the future better than we know the past. He knows our lives.
So we can plan, but if we don’t plan in a way with His will first......then we better expect things to go very different then what we think will happen.
I think about Joseph....and his dreams. He even saw some great things and spoke about them which turned into almost self fulfilling prophecy. I don’t think he would have chosen or planned the path he went on though. being disowned by his brothers,
put in jail because he was accused of wrongdoing
but then, God restored the place for Joseph and it worked out for him to restore his family and his people.
when Joseph shared his dreams, it brings me to verse 2 in Proverbs 16.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
I don’t think in the life of Joseph, that he really was trying to be mean to his brothers....when he shared his dreams with them.
Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more.
but let’s get some back story to this just a few verses before.
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.
So, there is already something going wrong in this family. Joseph being loved by his father more than his brothers(isn’t this the warning for parents) it causes strife. it just does. I am sure the brothers felt a sense of injustice. and that is a hard thing to deal with. On top of that, when we look at the dreams Joseph shares with them, we see even more of the struggle. verses 7-11
Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words. Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
you know, if your brother had said this to you, you may think the same thoughts as Josephs brothers did. What a tough thing to hear. The dreams revealed Joseph was going to rule over his brothers and his parents,
but telling them this dream? sometimes it seems better to not say anything at all if we have information that is going to make people mad.
Maybe Joseph was just innocently telling them, maybe it was like Proverbs 16:2, it was pure in his own eyes, but I wonder. I know and you know when we speak, we say some things arrogantly, we might think in ourselves that we are pure in our ways, but we sometimes speak in prideful ways, boasting a little when we feel good about something. we can feel justified to say it. Even if it might bring a rise to someone else.
Was it really that innocent? One thing is for sure, the Lord with weigh it out.
I know I have had to go back to people and apologize for some things I have said before, getting that conviction from the Spirit after God weighed it and showed me that I wasn’t being so pure.
As for Joseph, the dream telling led to his brothers selling him off. it was all a part of the bigger picture really. Which is such a great witness of how God works through everything.
Joseph stayed faithful through his ups and downs....like verse 3 in Proverbs 16.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
the life of Joseph is a great picture of integrity. So much of his life seemed like a struggle and out of his control, but he continued on and God blessed Him. It is interesting that the pain in his past became a ministry in his future. what do I mean?
Joseph shared the dreams and was hurt by it, yet God used Joseph to interpret dreams in Egypt.
God often uses our past and our pain to bring us to our ministry that He has for us. Remember a testimony not so long ago from Gail? God so used what Gail went through to minister to others in her life. How cool is that?
What might be God guiding you in for ministry? take a look at your life and what pains you went through. It certainly wasn’t for nothing, God can use it for His purpose like verse 4 in Proverbs 16 says.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
God will get the glory. regardless of what it is. IF people work against God, He will deal with them and it will show God’s justice. this is some times hard to hear for us, we might like to look at the loving side of God but God has Grace and Justice at the same time. and God will not tolerate certain things forever. listen to verse 5.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
God deals with prideful people in His way. the arrogant seem to be people that lift themselves higher than they should. So many verses warn against this.
Josephs brothers seem to be against him. were they lifting themselves above him? planning this attack on him? out to get rid of him? look at the humble state they find themselves in later in the story, coming to Joseph in Egypt.
Was Joseph was being arrogant with sharing his dreams, if so, then there was a repercussion that he experienced to that. Was this justice for sharing his dreams?
Scripture doesn’t say in the account about Josephs emotional state, But the question I ask myself is why would he share such dreams that one would think would cause such a struggle with his family? Either way, Joseph seemed to have learned to walk faithful to God.
and we see in Proverbs verse 6
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
Joseph lived with such an integrity that the Lord blessed him incredibly. Joseph showed faithfulness even in the moment where he could have fallen into sin with Potifers wife. But even then, Joseph had a fear of sinning against God. Joseph said in verse 9 of chapt 39 How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Joseph is walking with the Lord and restrained by the Lord to not sin.
shouldn’t this be our walk too? restrained by God to not sin?
we see more of God’s relationship with Joseph even when he was lied about and thrown into prison in verse 21
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
It’s not always about where we are in physical location but where we are spiritually. Joseph was close to God but in prison.
reminds me of the story of Paul in prison, singing songs at midnight! Paul was free, spiritually, even though he was physically in prison. Sometimes we can be so bound spiritually, but look like we have it all together on the outside. and others can be spiritually free, but not look in in their physical life.
It is when we are walking in God’s will.... like Proverbs 16:7 alludes to.
When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Look at the peace God gave Joseph with even the jailers. it is amazing how God works. How He can bring peace! when a persons way pleases the Lord.
When we walk in His will, God meets us there, and He can work in mighty ways.
Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.
We see corruption in this world with power and money. God looks at the heart, and sees truth.
I like that Joseph didn’t let his wealth and power get to his head. He stayed connected to God. He stayed humble.
God had a plan through the entire life of Joseph and we see God establishing the steps of Josephs life.....
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
what are your plans? are your plans in God’s will?
if they are, they are right on.
if not, we better plan again.
Listen to this..
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
What an understanding Joseph had of his own life and how God worked through the ups and downs.
now, were all these times were easy? no way.
and they certainly didn’t always feel good going through them, but
Praise God for how He works everything out. It is God writing the story....we might make a plan, but God will have His way.