Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” There is an old saying that reflects this truth. “Man proposes but God disposes.” People may make their plans, but the Lord will ultimately accomplish His purposes. We read a similar thought in Proverbs 16:1, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.”

Let’s look at the plan that Saul of Tarsus made in Acts 9:1-2, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” His desire was to travel to Damascus to find and capture Christian men and women. Along the way, he encountered the Lord and his plans changes drastically. In recounting his salvation experience to King Agrippa, Saul (the Apostle Paul) said in Acts 26:19-20, “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Saul’s intention was to persecute Christians in Damascus. By the time he got there, he was one of them and he began telling people about the Lord Jesus.

In the case of Joseph and his brothers, the Lord did not interfere with their plans to capture and sell Joseph but caused His will to be done through their evil plans. We later have the words of Joseph to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

As believers on the Lord Jesus we learn that sometimes our plans do not accomplish what we intend, but what God sees to be best for us and His cause. This is a great reason to praise the Lord, for He works out His will in our lives. We learn in James 4:14-15, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” In view of this precious truth, we should desire and seek the Lord’s will in our lives. We should make our plans in dependence upon the Lord. “If the Lord will” should be our true yearning. We have the reassuring words of the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (324.2)