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A Transcription of Tim Keller's "Your Plans:God's Plans"


We are going to continue to look at Proverbs and at the subject of wisdom and each week we’ve said that wisdom basically the ability to make wise choices, right choices. Our life is basically made, you make or break your life on the basis of your choices. Is this the right person to hire? Is this the right career for you? Is this the right job for you? Is this the right, is this the right amount of freedom to give to your child this age? Is this the right person to confide in? Is this the right person to give this responsibility to? Is this the right person to marry? Was it right not to marry that person? And every one of those situations, the options in front of you are many and most all of them are moral, most all of them are legal, most all of them are allowable but most of them aren’t wise. So we need guidance to make decision and in the bible, in the Hebrew Scriptures, there’s a word guidance that comes up quite a bit, especially in the book of Proverbs, in fact it shows up in the first verse at the top and whenever you see the word guidance, most of all the time in the Hebrew bible, it comes from the word “for rope” and it’s derived from the word “rope” because where the method of navigation for sailors in those days who used ropes to lower the sails when the wind was in your favor or to move the sails when you needed to, when the wind changed, or to raise the sails and tie them up when the storm came up otherwise you will be blown totally off course so ropes were ways of navigating. Now the question is how do you get God’s guidance, how do you get God’s navigation? So that when you have all these choices, you know the right course to take. How do you do that? How does that happen? We’ll find out by answering, by looking at these proverbs and understanding first of the guidance God does, secondly the guidance God gives and thirdly the guidance God purchases for us. The guidance God does, the guidance God gives and the guidance God purchases for us. Ok first, the guidance God does according to the list of proverbs, there’s two ways in which God does guidance, he guides paradoxically and he guides non-obviously. What do I mean?

Paradoxically. Take a look at the second last and the third last proverb in the list. Second last proverb is something that nobody, you’re not going to raise any eyebrow, it says “the plans of the diligently is to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” The word haste might be better translated “impulsive” and the word diligent can also be translated as “strategic”, “thoughtful” or “reflective” and it’s saying if, instead of letting life happen, if you act, if you plan ahead, if you’re strategic, then life will go better. Making choices, making decisions, acting makes a difference, ok fine. But look at the verse just above it, look at the third last verse. “The lot is cast into the lap but it’s every decision is from the Lord.” Now lot casting was a way of doing a lot of things. If you wanted to know ok, casting a lot is very much like flipping a coin. If you said “ok, which one of you gets to go to do it”, “let’s cast or drawing a straw”, ok. It was just a way you know, who kicks off first, I guess if they had football back then, then they would’ve cast lots not flip the coin. But look what it is saying. Every little detail. Every coin toss comes down exactly like how God planned. Even the smallest things are fixed by God’s plan. Now we do not know as human beings how to hold those together. Human categories of thought cannot hold those two things together. We feel like either are choices matter and are significant and they have consequences and that means our destinies are not fixed, history is open or we believe everything is fixed and therefore everything is fixed, who cares how you live, it doesn’t really matter what you do but not in the bible. In the bible we are told and you can see it that we’re absolutely free and we’re absolutely determined at the same time. That’s even the word that uses. In fact, even though as we are going to see, there’s many other places narratively where there’s a spell out, there’s places where the bible shows us in actual accounts of people’s lives how this works out, there’s no better place to think in the bible that puts the principle in a nutshell then right here. If you take a look at the fifth proverb down and then at the ninth proverb down which is, this is Chapter 16 verse 3, and chapter 16 verse 9. Verse 3 says, “to man belongs the plans of the heart, but from the Lord come the reply through the tongue” and then down to verse nine, “in his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” What is that? Here’s what it is saying, very very interesting. It says, “your plans are yours, your choices are yours, you are responsible for them, no one’s forcing, God’s not forcing you in any direction on this, see. It’s yours. If you do something stupid, if you do something wicked, if you do something selfish, if you do something cruel, there’s going to be bad consequences and people are going to hold you accountable and they should and God will hold you accountable and he should. Your plans are yours but what actually happens as a result of those plans, what actually happens in history, whether it’s words in verse 3 or actual deeds in verse 9, those are absolutely controlled and totally fixed and set by God. Nothing happens is not according to His plan, your plans belong to you, your choices belong to you but what actually happens is completely set, it’s completely fixed, both at the same time. Not fifty fifty, not like fifty percent free and fifty percent fixed. or 23rd, twenty eighty or sixty forty or forty sixty, no 100% free, 100% determined under the sovereignty of God. Now of course I said human categories can’t work that out, we just don’t think that can happen, it’s oil and water to us, it’s one or the other, or some mixture and if it’s a mixture they, like I said it’s fifty fifty or sixty forty or something like that. Now let’s go, let’s go to literature just to show that human beings really basically say either things are basically set or things basically are free and open. So let’s take the more fatalistic approach, the famous Legend of Oedipus. Oedipus, when he’s born, the Delphic oracle says he will kill his father in mary his mother. That’s his fate. And he grows up and he hears this by the way, he hears the prophecy and he does everything he can to avoid it. Everything he can, he makes all of his choices to try to avoid but in the end he kills his father and marries his mother. In other words, his choices have no connection to his destiny. His destiny is fixed in spite of his choices, there’s no connection between them at all. He can choose and do everything that he wants and it doesn’t matter, it’s going to happen. Now let’s take another famous figure in literature, Marty McFly and, and, and at the end of the Back to the Future trilogy movies Doc Brown explains the message of that profound set of movies which I love, completely, I’ll watch it any day it’s on, any time, any time, and what does he say? Remember what Doc Brown says at the very end, it sums up the message of the three movies. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one. And of course everyone who’s ever been on a focus group and that’s the reason why they did it, it says “ah, that’s what I believe” and that’s what U.S. popular culture believes. Your future is not set, it’s not written, it’s whatever you make it so make it a good one. Now it may be true that intellectually it’s almost impossible to hold together this biblical concept that we’re absolutely free and absolutely determined. We either believe that we are determined or we believe we’re free but if you believe either of those, your cooked. It’s almost, it’s impossible to live a decent life that way, if for example, if you believe everything is fixed no matter what you do, that there’s no connection between your choices and, and the destiny, you’re gonna be totally passive. You’re going to be totally bored, you’re going to be totally cynical, totally hard to believe indifferent, who cares. But if you as you U.S. popular culture believes, not the way the fatalist believe, there’s no connection between your choices and destinies, if you believe there’s a total connection that your destiny is completely set by your choices, if you really believe that and you thought about it, you wouldn’t get up in the morning. If you believe that and you’re happy, that’s wonderful, you’re not thinking. You wouldn’t even get out of bed in the morning. Look when I was 22, 23, I use this illustration for other things, it’s very helpful in many ways. I did everything I possibly could, everything I possibly could, like Oedipus, you know, everything I possibly could to get married to a woman who if I had gotten married to her, it would’ve been the wrong woman. And as I look back at my 22 year old self, I now think that probably about two thirds of the things I wanted were wrong or bad, bad things and if I gotten them, they have been very bad, two-thirds. Now here’s the thing that scares me. What’s my percentage now? Now you know, I think it’s better, I think it’s a lot better, I hope it’s a lot better. I mean I think it’s getting better because you know I’m old enough, now I can think of my thirties and it wasn’t two-thirds, it was better than the two-thirds, it might have been half. It might have been maybe half the things I really wanted would’ve been ok for me and other half would’ve been bad for me. But you know what when you’re in the age, you’re in you don’t know your percentage and it’s something. What fool knowing how little we know would want to live in a universe where your future is completely what, is completely and totally fixed by your choices. Here’s what’s so fascinating. The biblical understanding which is intellectually so wild and so wierd and so intellectually difficult to hold onto is utterly practical because the bible does not say, your choices have no connection to your destiny or that your choices determine the destiny but rather God in His sovereignty relates your choices partially to your destiny but he is the one who fixes everything and therefore you are held responsible, you are completely free and yet you can relax. See if everything was, if everything was all fixed there would be no incentive but since your plans are yours they belong to you, you have every and conesquences will come from it, from bad choices, you have every incentive to work with every fiber of your being to do well and to do right and to be wise but on the other hand, since everything is under the control of God, who is working things together for good you can relax. This is the reason why and not freak out, this is reason why Paul, when he was in the boat in Acts 27 acted the way he did. He was in a boat, there was a terrible storm that came up, he was in a boat with soldiers and sailors in the Mediterranean and the storm was so bad that the men were afraid for their lives and God came and spoke through an angel to Paul and said “I am the Lord and I am telling you that though the storm is bad and you might lose the ship, no one in the boat will die.” God told Paul that, then Paul gave the prophesy to every else and by the way prophesies in the bible, if you get a prophesy and it doesn’t come true, you’re a false prophet and you’re put to death, book of Deuteronomy. Paul knew that. Once God had told him that was the way, that was the way and yet the next day in the midst of the storm when sailors try to abandon ship, Paul grabs the soldiers, takes them to the part of the ship and forces them to stay and says the sailors, “unless you stay on the ship, we’re all going to die.” Ok, we say “alright if we’re all going to die then it’s not sure they’re all going to live but if it’s absolutely sure that they’re all going to live, who cares how they act.” But don’t you see, if either of those is true, you’re not going to be wise in a storm. You’re going to be passive or you’re going to be paralyzed. But Paul’s cool because he understood that he’s absolutely free and absolutely in the hands of God. So God guides paradoxically.

Secondly God guides non-obviously. Non obviously yes because here in the middle, pretty much in the middle of the page, it says this is little half-way down from the middle. This is chapter 16 verse 4, “the Lord works out everything for his own ends even the wicked for the day of disaster.” “The Lord works out everything for his own ends”, now you know what that’s saying? It’s saying not only are little things parts of God’s plan but bad things are part of God’s plan. The evil doer, deeds are part of God’s plan. Now if you had not just been through what we’ve just been through, if you hadn’t come to, if you hadn’t thought through, its 16:1, 16:3 and 16:9, you would say, “oh no, if bad things are part of God’s plan then God is the author of evil!” But you see, “the plans of a man belong to him” that is to say, “or to her”, that his evil deeds belong to the evil doer. They’re responsible for the evil deeds. God does not force anybody to do evil deeds. They are yours, he hasn’t made you do that and yet, God is going to overrule and work and weave in even the worst things into an ultimate good, in the end though, it says, in the end. And the perfect example of that is Joseph. Joseph, you remember the story of Joseph and you have, he’s one of many brothers and Jacob was utterly poisoning that family. Destroying that family system because he was favoring Josephy over the rest of his brothers and Joseph was on his way to becoming proud, becoming cruel, becoming hottie, becoming shallow and he was on his way to being wrecked and his brothers were all becoming murderously bitter and of course we know what happened. The brother threw Joseph into a pit and sold him into slavery. And then when he was in Egypt as a slave, then he was accused of raping, he was thrown into a dungeon and if you read the story of Joseph, you’ll see that years go by over and over, he’s thrown into these dark pits and basically cries out to God. No answer. God seems to be absent. No answer. Year after year after year, one thing goes wrong after another thing goes after wrong after another thing and there’s slavery and there’s injustice and there’s screaming and fighting and running and crying and everything’s going wrong and yet only because every one of those things have gone wrong. Years later, does it become obvious that only because of all those bad things, Joseph becomes a man of greatness, his brothers and his family are completely healed psychologically and in the end the family is saved from starvation as is most of that rest of that part of the world, all because of those bad things. Only in the end and that’s the reason why Joseph is able to say in his famous summary what is an actual, it’s almost an exact restatement, though it happened earlier of Proverbs 16 verse 3 when he looks as his brothers and says, you meant it for evil but God meant it for good. You meant it for evil but God meant it for good. Now what does that mean? That means this. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever think that God’s not working, no matter how much it seems like He’s absent and at the same time never, never, never, never think you’re going to be able to figure out for a long time what he’s up to. Because it’s only at the end, at the end, at the end, don’t say he’s got till Saturday to tell me, you know why He’s letting this happen. No. God works non-obviously but God works. Now you see this is the first point but let me show you how important it is, you see how important it is? People are always saying, “I need God’s guidance, I need God’s guidance” you know, “I gotta figure out His will” but God’s guidance according to the bible is more something God does then something God gives. And so you know, when somebody says, “I need God’s guidance, I need God’s guidance”, you’re standing in it. You’re in the middle of the current. It’s moving you right along. You are being navigated, you just may not think so. So first of all if you want to live a wise life, if you don’t want to freak out, if you want to be calm in the storms like pollen therefore you know have the wherewithal to make decent choices, if you want to have the philosophical, you might say, worldview infrastructure of the relationship of God to things that actually happen. If you want to understand the relationship of evil and good, if you have that and you see God is guiding, you’re standing right in the middle of it, then you will like Paul be calm in storms, make decisions and save the day. Secondly however we do have to ask the question, “but how does God give guidance?” Because you do have decisions to make and you do have choices to take and you are at forks of the road and you want to say, “alright how does God help me make this decision? I need to know. So how do we get the guidance God gives?” And now we have two principles, we get out of the proverbs, you have to pay the price for God’s guidance and then develop the wisdom for God’s guidance. You have to pay the price and all the wisdom. And why do I say, why do I say pay the price? Well in chapter 16 verse 5 which is smack practically in the middle and perhaps the most intriguing of all of these proverbs, we read this. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” And you read that and right away you say, that’s great and I’ll bet you, you think you know what it said and I thought I knew what it said but you know you’ve heard of the meat of the word and the milk of the word? Proverbs are the hard candy of the word. You don’t just swallow it, you don’t just bite into it. You have to dissolve it very very very slowly on your tongue. You have to meditate, you have to think about it. And you know what all the commentators point out? This is a complete reversal of the way people think. You would think they would say, commit your plans to the Lord and then your deeds will succeed. In other words, commit your plans to the Lord, “oh Lord bless my plan” and then the execution will succeed. That’s what you think it’s saying, it’s not saying that, it says the opposite! It says commit your deeds to the Lord and you will become more and more person who makes smart plans. More and more person who makes successful plans. it’s exactly the opposite of what you might think and this is what it’s saying. The word commit is a word that literally means to roll over onto, to put all of your weight on. And this is saying, unconditionally trust God for all things that happen in your life. Unconditionally trust God, radically unconditionally trust God and you slowly will become a person who makes wise plans, plans in accord with reality. Plans in accord to who God is, who you are, human nature things. Why do I call this paying the price? Now I’ll show you in a minute, I don’t mean by paying the price, paying the price earns guidance. I’ll tell you about that in a minute but I’m saying paying the price receives guidance, not the same thing. Why do I call it paying the price? Elizabeth Elliot in her book, she wrote years ago on guidance puts it like this. She says, “the more we pay for advice, the more we are likely to listen to it. The more we pay for advice, the more likely we will listen to it. Advice from a friend which is free, we may take or leave, advice from a consultant we’ve paid much more personally, we’re more likely to accept but it’s still our choice, we can take it or leave it but the guidance of God is different. First of all we do not come to God asking for advice but for God’s will and that is not optional. And God’s fee is the highest one of all, it costs everything. To ask for the guidance of God requires abandonment. We no longer say, “if I trust you, you will give me such and such, instead we must say I trust you, give me or withhold from me, whatever you choose.” As John Newton says, “what you will, when you will, how you will”. See she says, “finding God’s will is not coming to God and saying if I trust you, you will do such and such”, that’s the way we have read the proverb before we thought about it right? She says, “no if you want guidance you come to God and say I trust you. Give me or not give me whatever you choose. Lord what you will, when you will, how you will.” Now what does it mean to unconditionally trust God for every part of your life, it means I think to say, “Lord from this moment on”, it will be wonderful for some of you would do this tonight. “From this moment on, I will obey anything you tell me, whether I understand it or not. And I will accept anything you send me whether I understand it or not but I’m going to bail on you no matter what.” And the bible is saying, only if you go through life like that, not bailing on God, obeying unconditionally, trusting unconditionally, committing everything will, as time goes on, you are both your good time and bad times will turn you into the kind of person whose plans are wise, whose plans you plan more and more successfully. He said “why would that be, how would that be? Ok.” Some years ago I was studying this, the story of Joseph, you know bible study, I can’t remember who was in it and I can’t remember how long ago it was either but I do remember that somebody said, “all this slavery and injustice and years and years of agony, was that really necessary to do that? Why couldn’t we do it the way it always happens when you are touched by angel?” The angel shows up and everybody goes, “ahhh” or maybe God shows up with all His glory and says, “ok I’m going to settle this right now, we don’t need forty years of misery and pain, no, you Joseph, you’re turning into a spoiled brat, stop it” you know he’ll say, “oh my gosh alright” and He’ll say, “all of you people, you brothers, you’re turning into murderously bitter people, watch out they want to kill him, if they want to summon a slavery, don’t let him do it”, “oh ok, and Jacob you’ve gotta stop your favoritism you know, by the way everybody 25 years there’s going to be a terrible famine and you better start saving up otherwise you’re going to die of starvation”. Alright! Just like that! Half an hour maybe. No, that’s Hollywood, when it tell you how it works in real life. Real life, in reality, you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever become wise like that, nobody has ever learned they were sinner by being told, no one has ever learned about their flaws by being told, you have to be shown, you have to be shown, your mother’s been telling you about your flaws for years, you had to be shown and until you see your flaws and until you see your flaws and the only way you will see your flaws in experience, they’re going to control your life. And secondly no one ever learned that God loved them by being told. You know I tell you every week practically and you go home and say, “oh the preacher told me that I love, I believe that, no you don’t. No you don’t, you wouldn’t live the way you do, if you believe that. You know what you need in order to really know, you have to be shown. Over and over and over as life goes on, you have to be in positions where you’re absolutely sure God has abandoned you and then you find out later on you were wrong. It has to happen over and over and over, you can’t bail, you have to commit everything to Him but as time goes on, you will find that you are finally becoming wise. Your understanding for the first time, your flaws and therefore your plans are more careful than they would be otherwise and secondly you’re learning that God loves you and therefore your plans are more bold than they would be otherwise. And therefore by paying this price, by committing everything to Him, by then saturating yourself in His word so that you not only see the solid line to your decisions but the dotted lines, you understand that? I mean there are a lot of things that biblically are technically ok but you can see, you can see inferences out of biblical principles. The more you saturate yourself and seek to do what this verse says, commit your entire life to Him, unconditional trust, you’ll become more and more a wise person and you can see it in all these, on all these verses. For example, look at the first proverb, “the integrity of the upright guides them but the faithful” now what does that mean? Honest people, your honesty guides you it says. Well now, wouldn’t it be better to say God guides honest people, yes of course that’s true but don’t you see what it’s saying. God does not so much tell you how to get guided but how to become the kind of person that gets guided. How to become the kind of person that makes wise choices. Look at the next verse. The plans of the righteous are just and if you see only if you do this commitment, rolling everything, paying the price, unconditional trust and therefore find over the years you finally are learning truly about your flaws and you’re finally learning truly how much he loves you. Only when that happens, do you plans become more and more smart, wise, just, fair, proportionate. For example we talked about this every week. It’s ok to love your children but if you just completely build your whole life around your children, if they’re your meaning in life right? If you trust your children more than God, if you look to your children more than God then what happens? You’re going to have stupid goals for them, destructively bad goals for them, wrong goals for them. If it’s ok to want somebody to love you, to be in love you right? But if you’ve got to have it, you’ve just got always have a lover, you gotta have somebody really in love with you, you know what’s going to happen? You’re going to need to date people that you shouldn’t, you’re going to stay in dating relationships that you really should’ve broken off in another words your goals will be wrong, it will be destructively wrong but what happens is, as time goes on, you become the kind of person whose plans become better and better and wiser and wiser and there’s only no, that’s the only way to do it. You become a wiser person from this radical commitment and look at all the other verses which tell you, look at the third verse, “the way of a fool seems right to him but a wise man listens to advice, plans lack fail for a lack of counsel but with many advisers they succeed.” Here’s how you make your decision, here’s how you get God’s guidance, you commit yourself to Him utterly that slowly turns you into a person of wisdom because of the humility you get, you turn to everybody else and so you generate lots of options, you’re not a fool, you don’t think you know everything and because of the love that you feel from Him, at the same time you’re bold, you’re diligent and you make plans and that’s how God shows you what you should be doing. Now this isn’t necessarily however what most Americans want to hear. When most people come to me over the years as a pastor, they come to me and say “I need, I have decisions to make and I want God’s guidance. I want to discern the will of God” and I always say, “make a decision” and they say “how spiritual, I mean I thought you were a pastor. I’m trying to find out the will of God, how do I know what God wants. I’ve been praying and I’ve been getting peace about this but I haven’t any peace about this. I need to know which one, I want to, how do I discern the leading of the Holy Spirit?” I say, “make a decision.” In the Old Testament you had the (hebrew word*), we don’t even know what that was, it was in the breastplate of the priests and it was way of getting a yes or no answer from God. It worked on a binary system from what we can tell and that means that it was either a couple of stones or a couple of sticks and you could maybe throw them in the air and if they both came up like this, it was yes from God, if they both came up like this, it was a no from God, they came up like this or like this, it was a no answer. We know that one time, you know at one time there’s many places in the Old Testament where people went to urim and thummim and there was no answer from God that is, they didn’t get it yes or no answer. One time, David went and asked God a question with the urim and thummim and he said, he was on the run from Saul and he said “if I hide in that city and Saul pursues me there, will the people of the city give me up to Saul?” And God said “yes”, so David didn’t go there. So you know, we read that and we go, “that’s what I’m talking about I want to know that, that’s what I, that’s what I want. I want guidance.” There’s no talk of that when you get into the New Testament, there’s no talk about it at all and you say, “well what’s going on here?” Here’s why, why doesn’t God do that? Of course we, we create our emotional urim and thummims, that’s what the peace thing is. I have peace about this but I don’t have peace about this. I’m praying about this and it feels good, I’m praying about this and it doesn’t feel good, how do I know. In other words, we don’t want to make a decision, David didn’t make a decision, he didn’t need to make a decision, God just told him. He didn’t have to use any wisdom, he didn’t have to figure out, he didn’t have to know the people, he didn’t have to know the human heart, he just and that’s what we want. Is that right? By the way, I’m not saying don’t even listen to your feelings. Sometimes when you say, I’m not getting peace about this, you’re trying yourself into but your conscience actually knows better. Sometimes you say, I don’t have peace about this, you’re trying to talk yourself into something but you’ve got a reason why it’s wrong but you haven't been able to articulate it yet. You need to talk it out with somebody else, I’m not saying ignore your feelings but I am saying if Jesus decided on the basis of some emotional urim and thummim what the will of God was, if Jesus said should I go to the Cross or not? I don’t have any peace about it, of course He didn’t have any peace about it. He would never have gone, where would you be? So why does it, but why doesn’t, why doesn’t God just do it, why doesn’t he just give us, you know the answer. Why doesn’t he make a decision? Imagine, some of you this wouldn’t be hard to imagine, you have a four-year-old son. Your four-year-old son comes to you at five o’clock and says, “daddy I can go out and play” and you say, “well you know, I think your mother and I are creating dinner at 5:30 so don’t go out too far, you know just go over here and play but I will call you.” Scroll forward sixteen years later, sons twenty, he’s at way in college and he calls you up at five o’clock and says dad, “can I go out and play, there’s a bunch of guys playing frisbee in the quiet, I was wondering whether I could go out and play.” And you would say, “what is wrong with you? I don’t know, you know your workload, you know what’s going on, you’re supposed to make this…”, “well dad I just want you to make this decision for me” and listen there are parents, believe it or not who will like to have their children that depended on them, that emotionally dependent on them but God is not one of them. He wants you to be like Him, make a decision. And when I came here to start a church, people are constantly saying to me, “are you sure God’s called you to start this church in New York City”, and I used to always say, “no”. I think He did, I used my, I see an opportunity, I don’t see anybody else going through taking the opportunity, I feel an obligation to come, I think it’s a good idea, I think God’s calling me but I can’t be absolutely sure, I can’t be absolutely sure, I mustn’t lie, it’s in the bible, I can’t be sure, I mustn’t bow down to an idol it’s in the bible, I’m sure of a lot of things that are God’s will but as far as I know I won’t be sure that I was called to plant a church until it happens then I’ll know, “don’t you have peace about it”, “no, it was too hard, it was too scary. No I didn’t have peace about it but I know this, guidance is as much something that God does as something God gives and therefore I knew, my selling my house and coming up here and getting started and signing a three year lease”, oh my gosh, “ that if I failed to plant a church God was preparing me for something I couldn’t envision.” You see. So we have to understand that with the guidance God gives, does, then we can understand and use the guidance God gives, they operate together but then one last point and it’s very important.

When you read 16, verse 3, “commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed” which actually means, unconditionally trust God. Make a radically unconditional trust commitment to Him and you will slowly become the kind of person who, you know He will guide you, he will make you the kind of person whose plans are wise and you make good choices but who does that? Who does that? Who commits completely? Who rolls everything over onto God. The word commit is an absolute word. Who puts all their weight, nobody in this room, certainly nobody behind the mic, in that case, well I guess we’re not, we’re not, we’re not eligible for his guidance, no, and yet it still comes to people. The first time you really see this in the bible, it’s when the children of Israel are being led out of Egypt and one day you can read about this in Exodus 13, one day suddenly a pillar by day, it was a, look like a cloud, by night it looked like a fire, went before the children of Israel to guide them. When the pillar stopped, they camped, if the pillar stopped for five days, they camped for five days, when the pillar moved for before, they went. Guidance! The presence of God. But the pillar, the Shikanah glory of God dwell over the Holy of Holies, it dwelling over the tabernacle, it dwelled over the mercy seat, the place of atonement in other words, they did not pay the price for guidance, in spite of the fact they didn’t deserve it, in spite of the fact that they couldn’t do this complete commitment, it came to them anyway because in some way, the sacrificial system indicated that somehow the price was being paid for them. Who do you think really paid that price? What is the ultimate guidance, what is the ultimate price pay, who do you think they did that? When last illustration about this whole idea of navigation, when Jesus Christ was in the boat asleep during the storm and his disciples are just flipping out, they’re freaking out, why? Because here they are in the storm and their navigator, the Lord is sleeping. No navigation, no guidance in a storm, so they’re freaking out and they wake Him up and they say, “Lord, don’t you care that we’re dying?” “Carest thou not that we perish?” is the Old King James, don’t you care that we’re dying and Jesus gets up, he’s actually pretty short with them and he says, “where’s your faith?” And I, you know He’s so often tender with, with people that I’ve often wondered why he was that sharp. I don’t mean he was sinfully sharp, he was right and here’s why I think He was sharp with them. I have to go back into my parental experience to get to this, you know, at some point your child is going to look at you, when you withhold something from him or her, you don’t let your child have something they really want. And when they look at you and they say “you don’t love me”, and when that happens, it will happen to you sometimes, those of you who have little kids, just try not to blow up and I’ll tell you why it’s so hard. You want to say, “how dare you, you have no idea what I have done for you, you have no idea the sacrifice, you don’t know, have no idea the things that I’ve withheld from myself to raise you, you have no idea the sacrifices, you have no idea, and if you knew all I have done for you, you would never question my motive from withholding that from you. If you knew all that I have sacrificed for you, you would know I must have a loving purpose from withholding that for you.” When they said “master, don’t you care that we’re dying”, I think Jesus was saying back to them, “don’t you care that I’m dying?” And then they said “master, you’re not really navigating through the storm” and here’s what Jesus is saying, “there’s a real storm coming, a cosmic storm, the storm of God’s wrath, the storm of eternal justice, a storm of the justice that we deserve for everything that we’ve done as human being” and he says “I am going to bow my head before that storm and I’m going to take it for you and I’m going to go through that storm without any navigation. The father is going to abandon me, I will be the only righteous person in history who committed absolutely everything, rolled everything over onto the Father and I’m going to sink. He’s going to abandon me.” “But don’t you see, I am going through the ultimate storm without navigation so you can be sure that in spite of the fact you don’t deserve it, you will always have me at the helm. I’m going through the ultimate storm without navigation. I didn’t abandon you to that storm and therefore I will not abandon you in this storm and you know it now because I’m telling you.” Look at Jesus, look at what He’s done and to the degree you know that, to that degree you will be able to commit everything to Him and become the kind of person who makes wise decisions. You know there’s a man who was very prone to clinical depression who wrote a wonderful hymn, this is how he got through it. “His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour, the bud may have a bitter taste but sweet will be the flower. Ye, fearful Saints, fresh courage take, the clouds you so much dread, our big with mercy and shall break with blessing on your head.”


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