Did you ever work toward a goal but have things turn out differently than you had imagined? In Genesis 29 we see that Jacob worked for seven years to marry Rachael only to wake up one day and realize he’d married her sister Leah instead. Oh, he eventually married Rachael but it took seven more years to seal the deal. Jacob was blessed with twelve sons as a result of his marriages and the Twelve Tribes of Israel were established through him. But it wasn’t exactly Jacob’s Plan A.
It was, however, God’s.
If Jacob had gotten his way and married only Rachel we might be talking about the Two Tribes of Israel. If he had harbored resentment, or gone back to Isaac with Leah and pouted about not getting what he wanted, who knows what would have been the result. Instead Jacob accepted the roadblock and went back to work. And God blessed him for it.
What do you do when your plans and dreams take a detour? Do you give up? Do you waste time with anger and resentment? Do you play the blame game? Or do you thank God for the detour and get going again? Not all our goals are from God. And if he puts a roadblock in our way or shuts a door in our face to prevent us from succeeding at that thing, he does it out of love.
I think God would have me see that he is interested in our journey as much – or maybe more than- reaching our goal. And on this journey he wants to bless us, to bring us joy, to use us to demonstrate his love. That’s why I pray that if what I am doing is not his will, he will put up that roadblock, that I will fail. And if it is from him, that he would bless it and bring about his goal. I’d rather have his Plan A fulfilled in me than my own Plan A… or B… or C… if God isn’t in it.
God, I thank you for having a plan for my life. I know that the bottom line is that you want to use me to draw unsaved people to the Savior. So Father, I pray that you will make your will known, that I will recognize the stop signs and detours, and that I will be faithful to walk where you want me to go. I want your Plan A to be mine.
The themes for these three chapters are honesty and success. Each verse contains a proverb that could be put on any sign of any Bible-believing church and would give passers-by something to consider.
The thing is many of these proverbs sound like good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad. Remember that the Old Testament is a physical, material example of the Spiritual truths we live after the cross. If we get caught up with a material interpretation of the proverbs we might find ourselves thinking God lied to Solomon. Because it’s obvious that there are some pretty wealthy and ungodly people around and there are some dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling to make ends meet.
What is God saying to us through these proverbs? 11:4 says “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath but righteousness delivers from death”. We know that speaks of the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise”.
Chapters 12 & 13 speak of success. Is it material success we read about? Some of the principles apply, certainly. But real success stems from a right relationship with God who blesses the obedient. There are wealthy Christians and there are Christians in poverty. There are rich non-Christians and poor people who don’t know Christ. The difference is not the dollar amount. It’s Jesus. It’s peace and hope and love and life and forgiveness. It’s the Presence of God in our lives.
No earthly success can compare. We are rich indeed.
Father, help your people to recognize that having you in our lives is better than any kind of income. I know it doesn’t pay the bills. But I thank you that you are faithful to provide what we need. It might not always be what we want. But when we offer you ourselves with no strings attached, you provide perfectly. Guide us. Show us what you would have us do to pay those bills that keep coming. Help parents who struggle to feed their children. And put a desire in the hearts of those who have enough, to reach out to someone who needs a helping hand. Let us be the answer to their prayer today.