He Knows the Plans He Has For Us—a Pictograph Interpretation
January 2011, our church held a women's conference that was themed "Dreams" Some of the focus was given to dreams, as in the plans and purposes God has for you.
Three questions were asked during our small group activity, which consisted of close to 20 women between two groups:
- How many of you are sure of what God's plan and purpose are for your life, specifically?
- How many of you have an idea of what God's plan and purpose for your life is?
- How many of you have no idea what the plan is?
I imagined that most people would be in varying stages of discovering the plans and purposes for their lives. I expected that most people would raise their hands for the second question assuming that they might have an idea but hadn't quite grasped the details or how to work that out.
I was surprised to discover that no one raised their hand for the first question. Two people raised their hands for the second question, and everyone else raised their hand for the third.
I am not a mathematician by any means, but this tells me that about 80% of the people there, who were predominantly Christian, had absolutely no clue what God's purpose is for their lives. I began to consider the possibility that this might be an accurate statistic across the board.
These results meant that many of us are wandering around aimlessly and perhaps mundanely, just trying to get through it or survive. This lack of direction leaves us just skimming across the surface of life, being busy, just hoping it all works out with no real route or destination in mind. Our eternal thoughts end up amounting to nothing more than a vague elusive notion of heaven when all is said and done.
In this study, I hope that my presentation for the small groups I hosted will encourage some to seek the Lord and discover the hidden potentials given to each of us. We were created to do more than exist.
There is a goal in mind, and it isn't just about surviving life on the planet. There is a plan that is highly specific and full of significant meaning and purpose that is deep and wide and can only be realized in our gracious God and Savior. It is an eternal plan.
This lesson is written to address the varying stages of dream discovery. It will also include some Hebrew word study.
It's All Intentional
I want to begin by understanding that God has given each one of us a unique and precious purpose for our lives that will ultimately glorify Him. God knows what the plan is even if we don't, and it is a good plan with a future and hope.
Most of us are very familiar with this verse:
For I know the plans I have for you" (A) —[this is] the LORD's declaration—"plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB)
The Hebrew word for plans in the above verse is "machshavah" מַחֲשָׁבָה and defines as a thought, plan, purpose, or intention according to Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon.
The root of this word is "chashav," meaning; to compute, compose, meditate, and reason.
if we read again in light of these definitions, Jeremiah 29:11 reads like this:
For I know the purposes and intentions (machshavah), I have composed and reasoned (choshev—root) for you. intentions and purposes (machshavah) of (Shalom—bonus word ) satisfaction and fulfillment, wholeness and well being, to give you a future and a hope.
God isn't glibly just trying to find something for us to do. He isn't surprised that we are here and wondering, "What shall I do with this one?". Nor was God thoughtless in what He planned. The definitions above indicate that He meditated thoughtfully and reasoned this out. He composed our purpose in the grand scheme of things more eloquently than a musician creating masterpiece compositions. Our life and mission are highly intentional from His perspective and most highly unique.
He planned this in Christ before time began. We were not an afterthought. He knew we would be here, and He planned on it. We are here for a purpose!
. . . who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
— II Timothy 1:9
Lord my God you have done great things. Your wonderful works and Your plans (Machshavah) for us; none can compare with You. If I were to report and speak [of them], they are more than can be told.
— Psalm 40:5 (HCSB)
Hebrew Word Study for Machshavah:
In studying the Hebrew word picture for machshavah we will first look at its root chashav and then add the prefix "mem" and suffix "hey" at the end. Its word picture confirms the meaning of the above verse.
"Chet" is the first letter of this Hebrew root word for "plan" and is a picture of a fence. It is symbolic of boundaries that protect. Our life plan is only genuinely realized within the protection of a committed covenant relationship with our Father through His Son Jesus.
"Sheen" is the second letter and is a picture of teeth and carries the concept of chewing, breaking down, and putting back together. The story of Joseph is an excellent example of this. Joseph had to be broken down and then put back together before fulfilling his dream.
"Bet," the last letter of this root, is a picture of a house. The ancient pictograph is actually a blueprint. God's plans for us are like a blueprint for our life.
When you build a house, you don't just start slapping things together, hoping it turns out alright. It is a very deliberate process that requires planning. This word picture shows us that God's plans are deliberate, intentional, and well thought out. They are also only realized in terms of a relationship with Him.
Receiving and Conceiving His Plan
The "mem" (prefix) at the beginning of the word and "hey" (suffix) at the end comes with an interesting concept as well. When "mem" is a prefix, it is thought to look like a uterus and a picture of water, like a baby in the womb. When "hey" is at the end of the word, it makes the word female conveying the idea of transforming a concept (conception) into reality (baby), according to Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
I think God is showing us in this word picture that He would like us to conceive His plans for us within the womb of our hearts that we might give birth to them and bear fruit in the earth through them for Him.
I can't help but think of Mary when the angel visits her and tells her that she will have a son. She receives the plan and purpose that is spoken to her when she says:
“Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
— Luke 1:38
She then gives birth to the Savior of the world.
Purposes must be revealed, conceived, and incubated before they come to birth.
Having a sense of purpose is an innate need we all have
A quote from a book titled Buried Treasure by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
"built right into us is a human need to dedicate everything we do to a higher purpose"
The Bible tells us:
Where there is no revelation (vision in some translations), the people cast off restraint . . .
— Psalm 29:18
Without a revelation of our purpose, we can become aimless and or careless.
Our purposes in Him won't always meet up to worldly criteria and may come with few accolades. But to know we are doing what God has called and empowered us to do will be most gratifying.
When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well, His disciples returned with food thinking to satisfy His hunger.
His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
— John 4:31-34
© 2011 Tamarajo