The Bible reveals to us many events of men and women sharing their intimate relationships with God. Throughout the Old to New Testament we find these relationships deepened as God’s people understood the plan He had prepared for them in advance .
Six of those people stand out:
- ABRAM (Abraham) spent most of the first part of his life in Harran as a wealthy livestock owner where his father Terah settled. Together with his wife Sarai (Sarah), Abram’s plan would surly have been to stay there had God not personally called on him. Genesis 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
Abram had to decide between staying in a secure place, or going out to parts unknown and follow God’s plan. Thankfully, he followed God’s plan and became acknowledged as the Father of Israel.
- MOSES was living a casual life as a shepherd with his wife, Zipporah, and their family. Surely he had no plan of confronting the powerful Pharaoh to demand Pharaoh set the Israelites free from slavery – until God spoke to him. Exodus 3:10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Moses made excuses that he was inadequate for the task, but God does not allow the idea of human weakness to alter our purpose. Moses did lead the Jews out of slavery in Egypt, to the Holy Land that God had promised to Abraham, just as God had planned.
- ESTHER, a beautiful young Jew, lived through circumstances beyond her control. She was taken to the palace of Persian king Xerxes to be part of his harem. Once Xerxes found favor in her, she became his queen. A horrific situation was soon plotted that all Jews were to be slaughtered. Esther, knowing her own life would be in danger if she approached the king without his request, courageously spoke up in order to save her people. Ester 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Ester’s early life was that of a Jewish orphan. Imagine her lack of education and social skills, yet God chose her, supplying support from those around her, to save his people from destruction. Esther was teachable and courageously followed God’s plan.
- MARY, a young virgin from Nazareth was betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph. No doubt she was happily looking forward to living a simple homemakers life. But the usual dreams of an engaged girl changed when she was visited by God’s angel Gabriel. Luke 1:31-33 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
Mary, declaring herself the Lord’s servant, willingly followed the plan God created for her. Without understanding how this majestic event occurred, or what new meaning it would bring to her life, Mary was happy to obey.
- SAUL (Paul) was a staunch persecutor of Jesus’ new followers. He was trained as a Pharisee and believed this new movement of Christianity would harm Judaism. It was God who decided to transform Saul, whom He renamed Paul, from persecutor to preacher. Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man [Paul] is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Paul had a personal encounter with Jesus which literally changed the direction of his life. As Paul was on his way to Damascus to find and imprison Christians, Jesus appeared before him and asked Paul why he was persecuting him. Jesus then blinded Paul and Paul spent three days in Damascus until Ananias, sent by God, came to restore his sight.
After several days spent with Jesus’ disciples, Paul began to preach in Jesus name. And Paul never stopped sharing the gospel until his own death for Christ, which is believed he was beheaded. God had a plan for Paul, and Paul followed it to his death.
- PETER was a fisherman casting his net along the Sea of Galilee when a man, a total stranger, came to him and said “Come, follow me,”. That man was Jesus. It was in that moment that Peter gave up all he knew and changed his plan of fishing, to follow God’s plan of building His church. Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Peter is recognized as a leader among Jesus’ disciples. If he had neglected to abandon his original life plan of fishing, his strength of spreading the gospel would have been lost. But God would not let that happen, because He had a specific plan for the person of Peter, just as He has a specific plan for each of us.
Are you hearing Jesus say, “Come, follow me.”?
We all have a specific plan God prepared for us. If you don’t know your plan, keep praying for guidance and understanding. I am. His word is true, Psalm 40:5 Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you have planned for us. None can compare; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be to many to declare.