“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
Everyone makes plans. We make plans about how to spend our evenings, our weekends, and our holidays. We make plans for what we want to get done at work each day. We plan our finances and our giving. Individuals have plans. Businesses have plans. Teams have plans. Nations have plans.
This is both the nature of the world that God created, and it is the nature that God has given to us. We are created to be planners and doers.
However, the Lord did not create us to be autonomous planners and doers. He did not create us and put us on planet earth to act independently of him. God created and called us into relationship with him, and our plans need to align with his purposes and his principles.
This is the focus of the Proverb above: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
The same principle is communicated in Proverbs 3.6: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”
And again in Psalm 37.4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
And Proverbs 16.9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
As important as human planning is, the ultimate outcome belongs to God. All planning should be done in recognition that God can indeed overturn it. The thought is not that we simply pray for God to honor our plans and to establish them. Rather, it is the idea that we submit our entire life’s action to God, so that even if our human plans are subverted, we can recognize an even deeper plan at work in our lives.
Planning must be done with the awareness that God can intervene and change one’s future. This proverb is a call to recognize God’s sovereignty over one’s life.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” (James 4.16-19)
There are two ways to go through life. One is to be independent and decide that you are perfectly capable of running your own life without God. This is the way of arrogance and pride. The arrogant cannot be told anything because they think they already know. The other is to be willing to trust and obey God. This is the way of faith and humility. As Proverbs 15.33 says, “Humility comes before honor.”
Scripture admonishes us to be wise and humble in our planning … to be honest about the what, why, and how of what we do … to examine our motives and methods. God gives us the freedom and responsibility to make plans. At the same time, he invites us into relationship with him and asks us to trust him.
Understand God’s purposes and obey his principles. Pray and ask for wisdom. Be diligent about setting goals and developing plans. Do disciplined work, and submit to his sovereignty.