Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter
“Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3
I believe the Word of God is inspired by God Himself. This conviction sets the stage for me as I read a passage of scripture. Years ago, as I was reading Proverb 16:3, I asked God what He wanted me to see in this short verse. What He showed me has made this little verse one of my “life verses.”
The first thing that impressed me was God’s choice of the phrases “your work” and “’your plans”. I suppose at first glance this verse could look like a formula for self-determination; a means to an end to get what we want in life. But as the Spirit, my Teacher, directed the eyes of my heart to see these words through the lens of other scripture, I understood that “your” work and plans are not the work and plans we choose of our own initiative, rather, they are the ones He has chosen for us . . . from before the foundations of the world! I was reminded of John 8:28 where we read that Jesus did nothing of His own initiative, and of Jeremiah 29:11 which reads, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD . . .”, and of Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” . . . and so on and so on. I love the way the Word of God resonates with itself! It is true that “Deep calls to deep . . .” – Psalm 42:7.
And even now, as I write these words, God’s Word is working in me to illuminate His Word working in me and through me. I hear the echoes of another life verse. Inscribed in my wedding ring, Psalm 37:4 reads, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As I grew in life from a boy to a young man to a husband and Father, my desires changed. As we mature spiritually, God reveals to us our true desires, the ones He has planted deep in our innermost being. Isn’t that what we really want, what God wants for us? Proverbs 16:3 calls out to me to be fully engaged with Him in the work He has for me so that He might accomplish His plans in me, through me and around me.
The second thing that was so significant to me about this verse, was the order of the phrasing. With God, the order of things is important. I am convinced that many people (myself included) often live like we believe that if we commit our plans to the Lord, then He will establish our work. But that is getting the cart before the horse, the end before the beginning. The proper order is to start where we are, being faithful to do what He has already given us to do. This includes every area of life; worship, relationships, etc. This is not limited to our vocation. God will often use other areas of our life to advance our vocation. We can’t play “leap frog” and skip steps when it comes to God’s plan for our lives. That will only lead to strife. This verse is telling us to blossom where we’ve been planted. Take care of first things first. If we do that, He will grow our lives. He will take us to the next thing.
It is amazing that God can show us so much truth in such a small verse. But what is even more amazing is that there is still more truth to be gleaned from this little verse . . . and every other verse of His marvelous Word! I’m just scratching the surface! How about you, what is God showing you today in His Word?