Summary: Most Christians want to know and obey God’s plan for their lives. And He does have a unique plan for each one of you to fulfill. Only God can fully reveal that to you. But in the 27th Psalm that we’ll look into below, there are some powerful tips for creating a spiritual awareness and mindset in your life that will greatly assist you in discovering and fulfilling the Lord’s specially-tailored plan for your life.
I’m age 80 as I write this. For my first 25 years, even having attended church most of that time, I walked without the personal knowledge of the Lord and His gracious salvation. I had the same fears many others have — fear of death, fear of the uncertainty beyond this life, and more. Then at age 25 my life changed forever, those fears were gone, and it was entirely due to the grace and goodness of God.
I had begun to read the New Testament of the Bible. As I read the God-inspired Scriptures, I came to a personal knowledge of the great Lord and Savior — Jesus Christ — who died for my sins and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) so that all who come to Him in faith and repentance for sin (Acts 20:21) can be born again and have eternal life in the Lord’s presence.
In these almost 55 years since I received the Lord’s light and salvation in Jesus Christ, I’ve lived without those fears of the unknown. In their place I have the absolute confidence that when these, my late senior years, are completed, I will enter into the Lord’s glorious presence and will experience His promise that in His presence is fulness of joy (Psalm 16:11) — forever!
Your entrance into experiencing God’s plan for your life must begin, as mine did, with that life-changing salvation that comes through repenting of your sins and embracing Jesus Christ as your Savior and the Lord of your life from that moment on. It’s the greatest decision you’ll ever make! Then you’ll continue your life walking in all the blessings of a born-again son or daughter of God Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18).
If you have sincerely come to God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ — Jesus is the only way to God — then you have God as your Father in heaven. And fathers are very good at protecting their children. I have four now-adult children, and I would give my all to protect them from danger. If we natural fathers have that protective paternal instinct, just imagine how much more diligently Almighty God, our heavenly Father, will be a shield for us against those with evil intent toward us.
This Psalm is generally believed to have been written by King David when, early in his pathway to the throne or perhaps some years later, he was on the run from enemies attempting to harm him. The Bible shows God intervening in various ways to protect David. He will do the same for His sons and daughters nowadays.
In these days there are wicked men and women who would love to devour those of us who believe in and live for Jesus Christ. Our attempts to obey God by pursuing lives of holiness are an affront to many today who feel they should set their own moral (or immoral!) codes. But be of good cheer, my Christian brothers and sisters. As the Psalm says, our God has ways of turning the weapons of our enemies against them and causing them, not us, to stumble and fall. Never forget, my fellow believers, God is on the side of His sons and daughters.
War is a terrible thing. I served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. I have friends who were actually on the front lines with bullets flying. No one likes the horrors of war. But — those who have experienced God’s gracious salvation in Christ (vs. 1) can look to God for His protection and deliverance (vs. 2). Armies and wars do not need to fill us with fear. We serve a God who will remove our fears and give us confidence.
We are not naive. We understand that we do live in a fallen, sinful world. Jesus acknowledged this, but He offered great encouragement to His followers: “…in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
In David’s time Israel worshiped the Lord in portable structures — the “tabernacles” of Moses and later of David. David’s son, King Solomon, had the privilege of building Israel’s first glorious temple. In Old Testament times, those buildings were called the “house of the Lord” and were where the people would have deep experiences of the Lord and His presence.
In New Testament times, since Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection, believers assemble and worship God at “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15, KJV). In pre-cross times the house of God was a physical building — a portable tabernacle, then a temple. Since Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation, physical temples have been replaced by “the church” — the assembled believers in Christ. The apostle Peter calls us (Christ’s followers) “living stones … built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). The great apostle Paul wrote of Christ’s followers that “we are the temple of the living God” (2 Corinthians 6:16). We human believers — not a physical building — are the Lord's church, His temple, His spiritual house.
It’s God’s plan that every believer in Christ be committed to and be part of a local church congregation. There, as the New Testament “house of God…the church” we assemble with fellow Christians. In obedience to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 14:26), we worship together, we hear God’s holy Word preached and taught, we experience the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. There, in that assembled gathering — usually, but not necessarily, in a building for that purpose — we "the church" seek the Lord and experience His marvelous beauty and goodness.
Can’t we worship the Lord alone? Of course! And you should do so often, just you and the Lord. But there seems to be a special blessing when the believers gather together for worship — Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20, Amplified Bible). Let’s be consistently among those “two or three” (or 75, or 500…) gathering regularly to love, honor, and worship the Lord together.
Will there come days of trouble? Yes, Jesus said so. But in those troublesome times the Lord will “keep [you] safe.” Where? in “His tabernacle,” the Church. He will also “set you up upon a rock.” The apostle Paul likened that Old Testament rock that gave nourishing drink to ancient Israel to Jesus Christ — “That rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Be devoted to and faithful to the Lord’s beloved church. Remember, that Christ “loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). If our Savior loves His church, how can we not! In the assembled church Jesus builds us up in our faith, as we also encourage one another in our faith and our walk with the Lord. There is in the church great strength, help, and protection given to us by the Lord our Rock.
In a worshiping church the Lord wants there to be vibrant praise and worship to God. Even shouts of joy. Also we have the privilege and blessing of “singing and making music to the Lord.” I may be getting more emotional in these my senior years. During our church worship times I often find myself with tears in my eyes in the midst of a particularly moving hymn or song unto the Lord. As an evangelist friend of mine once said, “Jesus is Someone to get excited about!” Amen.
Find a local church to attend that has all three of these in the services: the Word of God, the worship of God, and the gifts of the Spirit of God — 1 Corinthians 14:26.
God’s plan for our lives includes our developing a life of prayer to Him, knowing that He will hear your voice when you call. Jesus said, “When you pray…” That tells us that our Savior expects us to seek Him in prayer.
I wrote above that God wants us to “pray biblically.” That is very important in gaining confidence that your prayers will be answered. Hear what the apostle John wrote: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
This is a major truth to incorporate into your prayer life. Find out what the Lord’s will is. We'll find His will spelled out for us in detail in the 66 books of the Bible. For example, (1) look to the Bible to see if it is the Lord’s will to heal. And you find that, yes, it is His will to heal sick bodies. That will give you confidence that your prayer for healing is (2) “according to His will.” And therefore (3) you will “know that he hears [you].” And that will give you the confidence that (4) “we know that we have” the answered prayer from the Lord.
Seek the Lord; pursue Him; make every effort to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8, NKJV). God is 100% willing to enter into deeply personal fellowship and prayerful conversation with us. But as the Scriptures above imply, He won’t force us. Rather, it’s our responsibility to “draw near to God … to seek His face,” not to wait for Him to initiate that. As we take steps to seek Him in prayer, in worship, in studying His Word, God will in turn make Himself known to us.
It’s not unusual to be puzzled at times. The Psalmist, we are told, was probably in flight from dangerous, pursuing enemies as he wrote these verses. It’s OK to be candid and open-hearted with God about your emotions. God will encourage us as we call to him in unsettling times in our lives, as the very next verse indicates — “the Lord will receive me” (10).
My wife of 38 years died some years ago. I was deeply shaken. I didn’t lose my faith in God at all, but I found myself casting about for answers. Then the same day that she went on to heaven, some close friends from across the country called me. He quoted to me the Scripture: “we are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8, KJV). And that verse from God through a Christian friend brought help to me in keeping my wife’s death in perspective. I could be perplexed (and I was), but as I held onto the Lord I did not fall into despair. And I never did entertain despair (loss of hope) in my time of recovery. The Lord did not “hide his face from me” in my time of need. And the Lord will “be [your] helper” too in your times of need.
I was blessed with wonderful parents and a very secure upbringing, thanks to the Lord. Dad was an FBI agent, then later a corporate real estate executive. He deeply loved us four kids and was very much involved in our lives. Mom was a marvelous mother, who cared for and loved us kids with all her heart. She once said (and this still touches my heart), “My greatest joy in life was raising my children.” Dad and Mom never once failed us or rejected us in their long lifetimes. Not once ever.
I’ve said all that to help you imagine what I would have felt like if Dad and Mom had suddenly forsaken me. Without the Lord I can’t imagine dealing with the hurt with any significant degree of victory. But as I’ve talked with many who did not have my experience of childhood security, I hear from many that the Lord was a strength and support in the hurtful absence of some people who had held important places in their lives.
The takeaway? Most, maybe all, of us today have people in our lives with whom we are close. One or more of them may one day fail you, reject you, or even turn hostile towards you. That’s a good time to recall God’s faithfulness: “The Lord will receive me.” If you’ve come to Him through Jesus His Son for salvation, He is your Father … and He will continue to be a loving and perfect Father to you for all eternity.
Let your cry to God be, “Teach me! Lead me, Lord! Show me your ways” — not the ways of the world or the ungodly, shifting cultural trends current in society. Lord, show me your ways, your path. Pray always that phrase in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done!”
And the one true source to teach us His ways is the holy Bible, the Word of God Almighty. In it we find God’s truths and God’s ways. Read them, pray over them, incorporate them into your heart, soul, mind, and spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate these truths to you every time you open God’s Bible. And determine resolutely to walk in God’s ways, whatever the cost.
In the wonderful “Lord’s Prayer” (known to many as the “Our Father”) [Matthew 6:9-13] Jesus taught His followers to pray: “Our Father in heaven … deliver us from evil [or the evil one]…”
I pray the Lord's prayer the very first thing each morning, giving some thought to each element of the prayer. In our verse 12 above, David is asking the Lord for deliverance from the pursuing enemies. And the Bible record shows God did faithfully deliver him.
Keep this in mind: Jesus Himself specifically taught us to pray: “deliver us from evil [the evil one].” That clearly tells us that this is a prayer that is IN God’s will. Therefore, we can pray this with confidence, knowing that we are praying consistent with the known will of God — that is, that His people be delivered from evil and from the evil one Satan and his demons.
King David knew God and His faithfulness. He was confident! In what? Confident in God Almighty, as we too should always be. I’m reminded of Psalm 150:2, KJV — “Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.” The Psalmist urges us to praise God for (1) who He is: his character, His “excellent greatness” and (2) what He does: His “mighty acts.”
God is for us, His people who love Jesus His Son. Jesus spoke to His disciples about the heavenly Father: “how much more shall your father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11, KJV). Good things! As David wrote, remain confident that you too will see the goodness of the Lord in this life, that is, in the land of the living.
Concerning the phrase: “Wait on the Lord” (KJV) — Dr. David Jeremiah says, “To wait on the Lord is to trust that God is at work even when His timetable is longer than we’d like…Our part is to ‘rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him’ (Psalm 37:7).”
My mother received a prophetic word concerning me when I was 9 years old. The prophecy came to pass 23 years later. Mom lived to see it, and only afterward did she tell me about it. Here's another example: When I was ordained in 1975 as an Ephesians 4:11 Bible teacher, a prophecy was spoken to me about “another ministry” to follow. A full 10 years later that prophetic word was fulfilled.
The point? King David by the Holy Spirit was telling us simply to give ourselves daily, steadily, irreversibly to serving the Lord, not disappointed — "take heart," David said — if prayers are not answered immediately, remembering also the apostle’s words, saying that we who follow the Lord will “through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
Obviously it’s not possible for one Psalm to cover God’s entire plan for your life. Rather, I’ve taken this Psalm as a helpful indicator from the Lord of certain mindsets that will enable us to discern and patiently follow God’s will for our lives in all its emerging details, as God progressively reveals those details to us.
Hopefully, you’ve been helped and encouraged to continue seeking and walking in that unique plan and pathway that God Almighty has chosen for you personally. As you pursue that with diligence and passion, remember that we are in a lifelong walk. It takes a lifetime to fulfill God’s full will for the days He grants us. As you serve God each day, remember King David’s closing exhortation to diligent seeking of the Lord today and every day:
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (vs. 14, KJV).
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©2023 James H. Feeney.
and Bible Studies by
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