God Is Accomplishing His Purposes
March 1, 2010 - In light of God’s promise through the Prophet Isaiah, how could believers have anything but confidence as they enter the days ahead? Read Isaiah 46:9-11.
By Richard Blackaby
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,” calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.
List three truths from this passage that assure God’s people that He is in control of the future.
The Lord is all-powerful; He can make every word He speaks come to pass. The challenge for God’s people is to believe Him, even when they see evil at work all around them. Evil is real, and the effects of Satan’s wiles are painfully evident today, as they were in Old Testament times. The Israelites to whom Isaiah was writing were eventually going to have their city and temple destroyed by the Babylonians. Their faith in God’s promise to make them a blessing to all the nations would be tested in the extreme. Their difficult circumstances could certainly have appeared to negate God’s promises to make them a blessing to all the nations.
Yet God assured His people that even as the Babylonian hordes were swarming across the Judean hillsides, He had already appointed Cyrus, who was not a believer, to act as His servant to ultimately deliver them (Isaiah 45:1). Cyrus, a Persian king, would unknowingly carry out the wishes of the true God to the letter!
At times, it can appear as if people are thwarting God’s purposes. We read in Scripture that God intends for one thing to happen but we watch ungodly people, nations and spiritual forces working against God’s will.
For each of the following passages, list specific things people did to oppose God’s work: Exodus 5:5-21, Exodus 14:5-12, Joshua 8:14-17, 1 Samuel 1:1-7, 1 Samuel 21:10-15 and 1 Kings 19:1-4. What is the common theme in these verses?
God’s enemies sought to destroy God’s people and to thwart God’s will. If all you read were these verses, the future would appear extremely bleak. But this is not the whole story! God never promised His people exemption from opposition. Rather, He said that following Him would ensure persecution (Matthew 10:16-26). However, God has guaranteed that He will stand by every word He has spoken. What does this mean for Christians (Psalm 16:8)?
Every other person, political party, institution or false god will inevitably disappoint us. Even the best intentioned people cannot offer guarantees for the future. If we trust in our savings accounts or insurance policies or our friends, we are living precariously. But the Bible says nothing can prevent God from doing exactly as He intended. Read Psalm 2:1-4.
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces And cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh.
How does God respond when foreign leaders make pronouncements about the destruction of God’s people and the defeat of God’s purposes? Can opposition prevent God’s will from being accomplished?
Read the following verses and list some promises God has given concerning the future: Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 10:9, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Matthew 11:28-30, Galatians 6:9 and Philippians 4:19. List things you sense are threatening God’s promises to you.
Review your list. Are any of these beyond God’s power to overcome? Read Isaiah 40. In light of who God is, is there any reason you should not have hope for the future?
Jesus was not immune to problems or persecution! Read Matthew 16:23, Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 19:47-48 and list some people or circumstances that seemed to threaten God’s purposes for Jesus.
As Christ hung on the cross—tortured, crucified, mocked—with His life ebbing away, it appeared that Satan’s forces were victorious. Yet even at the darkest moment in history, God’s plans were being carried out exactly as He intended! Jesus cried out triumphantly, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). He had obeyed His Father’s will perfectly.
As you consider the future, you may detect dark storm clouds on the horizon. Difficult times are coming. But rest assured. God’s purposes will be accomplished!
Richard Blackaby is the president of Blackaby Ministries International, Blackaby.org. He writes and speaks extensively on the Christian life.
©2010 Richard Blackaby. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version.