Devotion: The three plans

Here is a devotion that I am giving today at work. Feel free to give it a look.

A tale of three sons
A tale of three plans

Pauly Hart

Number 1: The Ishmael Plan: The plan of the flesh.

It is your own, born out of fear or need

Genesis 16: 1-4a
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant.

It suffers from strong ideals and hard-core adherents. People are usually all for it or dead-set against it.

Genesis 16:12
This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

Even though God was patiently waiting for us, our plan that we had made just might be able to be pulled off, if we pray hard enough.

Genesis 17:20
As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 

End result of the plan of the flesh?
Trying to rush Gods plan usually results in sorrow

I Samuel 8:18,19
When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the LORD will not help you. But the people refused to listen to Samuels warning. Even so, we still want a king,・they said.

Number 2: The Issac plan: The plan of the heart.

It came from the heavens.

genesis 15:1
1Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, 泥o not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.

It will seem incorrect

2But Abram replied, Oh Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since you've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.

It will seem impossible

Genesis 15:4
Then the LORD said to him, No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.・5Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!

It takes too long

Genesis 16:16
Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.

Genesis 21:5
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.

Often, because it takes too long, you will decide on a plan of the flesh

Genesis 16:2-4a
So Sarai said to Abram, "The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.・And Abram agreed with Sarai's proposal. So Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram knew Hagar, and she became pregnant. 

End result of the plan of the heart?
God will forever abide in it's results

Acts 13:20b-23
After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.・And it is one of King Davids descendants, Jesus, who is Gods promised Savior of Israel!

Number 3 - The Midian Plan: The plan of the mind.

It seems like a great transition to another plan, the next logical step

Genesis 24: 67 -25:1,2
And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah's tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother. Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 

It usually has farther reaching consequences than originally intended.

Abraham to Issac to Jacob to Levi to Kohath to Amram to Moses

And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well. 

Sometimes, the outreach of the third plan will serve the second plan

Exodus 2:16,17
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father's flocks. But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks.

Sometimes, the second and third plan will intertwine to form an even greater goal

Genesis 2:21-22
Moses accepted the invitation, and he settled there with him. In time, Reuel gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, for he explained,  have been a foreigner in a foreign land.

And maybe, without the Midian plan already in place, the Issac plan would eventually fail

Exodus 4:24-26
On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the LORD confronted him and was about to kill him. But Moses・wife, Zipporah, took a flint knife and circumcised her son... etc... etc... After that, the LORD left him alone.

But without cultivation, it is easily led astray and eventually will have to be put down.

Numbers 31:1,2
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "Take vengeance for the children of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people."

End result of the plan of the mind?
You had better remember the promise of the second plan and try to reconcile with it or certain calamity awaits the plan of the mind.

1 Kings 11:11-13
The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the LORD's command. So now the LORD said to him, Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.

So, what can be learned from these three plans?

Patience eventually is better than instant gratification - if it's worth waiting for, it's worth having.

When you don't have a fresh word from God, you just keep doing the last thing He told you to do, and know that one day your faithfulness will meet his blessing.

Just because your plan is not from heaven does not mean that it is not God breathed.

Usually in every great thing there is a great plan and that plan usually came from a great idea that came from a moment of epiphany. Often that epiphany is directly from the great being who created all of the other beings. The Lord of lords, the God of gods. Abram called him: "God most high" and he usually gives the best plans.

Copyright Pauly Hart 2014
Permission given to use wherever you want when including my name