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He Knows the Plans He Has For Us (part 1)
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 is for your life specifically?
- How many of you have and idea of what God's plan and purpose for your life is?
- How many of you have absolutely no idea what the plan is?
I had imagined that most people would be in varying stages of discovery of 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 gotten a grasp on 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.
This means that possibly most of us are wandering around aimlessly, maybe just trying to get through it or survive it, maybe mundanely or otherwise just skimming across the surface of life being busy as can be, hoping it all works out with no real direction or destination in mind other than a vague illusive notion of heaven when all is said and done.
I am hoping in this study, that was my presentation for the small groups I hosted, will encourage some to seek the Lord and discover the hidden potentials that are given to each one of us. We were created to do more than simply 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.
The lesson is written to address the varying stages of dream discovery. It will also include some Hebrew word study.
I would like to begin with the 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 a 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)
Hebrew word for plans in the above verse is machshavah מַחֲשָׁבָה and is defined as a thought, plan, purpose, or intention according to Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon.
The root of this word is chashav meaning to compute, to compose, to meditate and reason.
if we read again in light of these defenitions 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.
Can we see in this definition that God isn't glibly just trying to find something for you to do, surprised that you are here thinking "What shall I do with this one?" nor was He thoughtless in what He planned. The definitions above indicate that He meditated thoughtfully and reasoned this out. He composed your purpose in the grand scheme of things more eloquently than a musician creating masterpiece compositions. Your life and purpose are highly intentional from His perspective and most highly unique.
What is even more stunning to me is that He planned this in Christ before time began. You were not an after thought. He knew you would be here and He planned on it. You 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)
A beautiful lesson on the Hebrew language done by Jewish Jewels
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. Hopefully when complete you will understand why. 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 truly 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 we will look at the story of Joseph a little bit later and see how Joseph had to be broken down and then put back together before the fulfillment of his dream took place.
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 come with an interesting concept as well. When mem is a prefix it is thought to look like a uterus and is also a picture of water (think 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 do will be most gratifying..
When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman by 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
Part 2 we will look at proper and improper motives for a dream.
© 2011 Tamarajo