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GOD HAS THE BEST PLAN
Intro: Read James 4:13-17. In these verses, James councils men against the foolishness of making plans without consideration for the will of God in the matter. All James is saying is that you and I can make any plans we wish to make, but God always has the final say in the matter. Then, when we learn His plans for the situation, and we make our plans based on His plans, we find out that He had the best plan all along!
But, we humans like to make our plans, don’t we? We want things to go the way we want them to go. But, have you ever thought that God might have a better plan?
1. When Peter and the others had fished all night without catching a fish, Jesus told them to out into the deep water and they would catch fish, Luke 5:4-8. Peter’s plan was to forget fishing for that day and go home. But, when he obeyed the Lord, he found out that God had the best plan!
2. When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to die, Peter rebuked the Lord, Matt. 16:21-23. Peter thought he had a good plan, but when Jesus went to the cross and paid for sins forever, Peter found out that God had the best plan.
3. When Goliath saw David coming to meet him for battle, he had plans to kill David and feed his carcass to the scavengers of the field, 2 Sam. 17. But, when that stone sank deep into his forehead and he fell to the earth dead, he found out that God had the best plan!
4. When Israel sent spies into Canaan and saw the giants that lived there, Num 13-14, they made plans to find themselves a new leader to go back to Egypt. But, over the next forty years, as they died one by one in the wilderness, they learned that God has the best plan.
Now, I could go on giving you example after example from the pages of God’s Word, but this truth is fleshed out really well in this passage we have read from Judges. When Gideon and his army went into battle, they must have had a plan, but before the battle was joined and the victory was won, they found out that God had the best plan. I would like for us to consider that thought today: God Has The Best Plan. As we do, lat us learn the lesson that God’s plan may not be the easiest plan; it may not be the most popular plan; it may not even seem like the smartest plan; but God always has the best plan!
I. THE REALITIES OF GOD’S PLAN
A. V. 2-7 God’s Plan Is A Different Plan - Gideon planned to march into battle with 32,000 soldiers, but God had a different plan! (Ill. The Context and how God whittled down the army of Gideon.) (Ill. When we make our plans for our lives, we always try to stack the deck in our favor. That is human nature! However, God will usually have a different plan for your life than you do! (Ill. David was just a shepherd, but God had a different plan. Job was a wealthy man who just wanted to worship his God, love his family and enjoy his wealth, but God had a different plan. Joseph and Mary were just a young couple who wanted to get married and raise a family, but God had a different plan. Saul of Tarsus just wanted to destroy Christianity, but God had a different plan!) (Note: The test of a truly consecrated life is that it is willing to submit to the plans of God, Luke 22:42, even when His plan contradicts our plan, Ill. Paul Acts 16:6-9.) Remember, God’s plan is a different plan!
B. V. 9-14 God’s Plan Is A Declared Plan - Here is Gideon, he has seen his 32,000 man army reduced to just 300 men. He is getting ready to attack a force that is many times larger than his own, verse 12. But, God is not asking for a leap in the dark, he is asking for a clear step of faith. (Ill. What Gideon heard from the enemy, v. 13-14). (Note: When it comes to you and me, the Lord expects us to walk in obedience to His will, but He never asks for a blind leap in the dark. He always asks His children to respond to His plans by them taking a clear step of faith. Now, God uses many means to speak to His children! He speaks through His Word, Rom. 10:17. He speaks through the Spirit, Acts 13:2; 16:6-8. He speaks through other believers, Acts 9:17-18. He even speaks through the circumstances of life, Gen. 24:12-16. The bottom line is this, God will always direct your feet plainly! He will not leave you in doubt. His plan is a declared plan!) (Ill. Knowing His plan takes requires prayer, holiness and patience, but be sure, in His time, He will reveal His plan. When He does, you will see that it is a different plan, a declared plan and that it is the best plan!)
C. V. 15-23 God’s Plan Is A Distinct Plan - Ill. The Context. Gideon’s men were to surround the enemy, 300 hundred against thousands! They were to sounds their trumpets, shout for the battle and break a little clay pitcher containing a candle. God said that this would give them the victory, and it did! What a distinct plan! No man would ever have come up with a plan like that! (Note: Had Gideon and his men not been willing to follow God’s plan, they would have missed out on God’s best for their lives! So it is with the plans of God. There are times when the Lord will lead you in directions you never imagined. He can come up with plans for our lives that are very distinct! Yet, when we go His way, we find out that He always has the best plan!) (Ill. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot!)
II. THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S PLAN
(Ill. If a person or a church is going to walk in the plan God gives them, three steps are necessary.)
A. God’s Plan Requires Surrender - Think about this: Gideon was a man with 32,000 followers! But, by following God’s plan, he saw his army reduced, his rank lowered and his pride crushed. He was reduced from general Gideon to Gideon the barley cake, v. 13. He went from being considered a great leader of men to being called a dog biscuit! That will do something for your ego! What Gideon learned was that this fight was not about Gideon, his army, or even the enemy. This battle was about the Lord! Gideon had to come to the place where he was willing to lay his plans, his goals, his dreams, his will aside so that he might surrender to the will of God! (Note: That is what the Lord still requires of those who would walk in His perfect will! Those who see the reality of the fact that God has the best plan are those who turn from their plan to go with His plan. God’s plan is always the best plan! You can trust Him to look out for your best interests, Rom. 8:28; Jer. 29:11.)
B. God’s Plan Requires Submission - For God’s plan to succeed, Gideon and his army had to submit to God’s plan. Gideon had to watch when first 22,000 men and then 9,700 men turned and went home, taking their weapons and their potential with them. Gideon and the 300 who remained had to walk in obedience to God’s plan for the battle or none of them had a chance of survival! (Note: If you want to see the Lord’s best for your life, then it will require obedience to His plan on your part. You may not like that which the Lord is telling you to do, but you do it anyway. Obedience is important to the Lord, 1 Sam. 15:22! It is His command for each of us, Eph. 6:6.)
C. God’s Plan Requires Steadfastness - If Gideon and his army were to experience the victory, they would have to humble themselves under God’s hand, surrender to His plan, obey His will and proceed in faith! It took great faith for 300 to go out against thousands! It took great faith for them to take no weapons! It took great faith for them to blow their trumpets, break those pitchers and shine those lights, but God answered their faith by giving them a resounding victory! (Note: If you are going to see God’s best plan for your life, it too is going to require faith! God is going to ask you to take some steps along the path of life that will be difficult, and that you will be unsure of. But, the path to God’s best is always the path of faith! God always honors faith because faith always honors Him, Heb. 11:6! (Ill. 3 Hebrews and Daniel - God’s plan seemed bad, but faith secured the victory!)
III. THE RESULTS OF GOD’S PLAN
(Ill. When God’s people submit to God’s plan and carry it out for His glory, there are certain results they can expect!)
A. V. 21-22 God’s Enemies Are Vanquished - The Midianites and the Amalekites turned on one another in fear and fled the scene. Israel saw their enemies defeated because Israel followed God’s plan! (Note: God has a plan for your life. Don’t you think that His enemy, Satan, may also have a plan for your life? The enemy wants you to be defeated, unhappy and miserable! But, you choose to walk in the Lord’s plan, you can be confident that it is the best plan and that it gives you and Him victory over Satan!)
B. V. 23 God’s People Are Victorious - Israel enjoyed a great victory because they chose the best plan! By the way, they already had the victory before the battle was ever engaged, v. 7-8! (Note: God’s plan for your life and mine is that we be able to walk in victory, Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 15:57. But, victory will only truly be our experience when we walk in His plan and not our own! If you walk in His plan, which is the best plan, you will never walk in defeat! Ill. Paul - 2 Cor. 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 12:7-10! How could he say what He did? He knew that he was walking in the will of God and that even though it might be hard, God always has the best plan!)
C. V. 2, 15-23 God’s Name Is Venerated - Because the victory was won without a great army and without a fierce battle, God got all the glory for the victory! Neither Gideon or his army could go home and brag about what they did not the field of battle. (Ill. How that story might have gone!) (Note: When we turn away from our plan and embrace His, we are assured of the victory and we are assured that He will receive all the glory for all that happens in our lives. After all, that’s what life as a believer is all about anyway! Ill. 1 Cor. 10:31; Matt. 5:16! Our lives, our obedience, ought to point me to Him and not to ourselves!)
Conc: Is God messing around with your plans? The best thing you could ever do is submit to His plan, because His plan is the best plan!
1. He has the best plan for living - His will, when followed, always produces victory in the life of the believer!
2. He has the best plan for leaving - His plan is for you to receive Jesus as your personal Savior. If you do, then you need never fear the fires of Hell, John 14:6; Acts 4:12!
Do you need to come before Him and talk to Him about His plans for you?