TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS 18-20
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” – Proverbs 19:21
“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” – Proverbs 20:5
We have many plans, thoughts, inventions, and ideas in our hearts (the word for mind in Proverbs 19:21 is actually heart). But, according to Genesis 6:5, “every intention of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil continually.” The problem with this is that “every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 21:2)
Within all of these thoughts swirling around in our hearts is the purpose of the Lord. Proverbs 19:21 says amongst all our thoughts and inventions that it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. But, the word stand is more often translated arise. Therefore, out of all the thoughts and plans in my heart, it is the Lord’s purpose that will arise.
How is that the Lord’s purpose will arise in my heart?
For Proverbs 20:5 tells us that the purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water. The Hebrew word for deep also means unfathomable, impenetrable, cunning, and mysterious. We have all experienced the multitude of swirling thoughts and plans in our hearts and wondered which one of them was really of the Lord.
How do we know?
“A man of understanding will draw it out.”
The phrase “man of understanding” occurs ten times in Proverbs. Read through those ten occurrences and you will find that the characteristics of this man are remarkably like Jesus.
Jesus is the man of understanding that draws out the purpose of the Lord from all of our own thoughts, plans, and intentions that are like deep water in our hearts. And, if all of our thoughts and intentions are wicked and evil continually, then the one purpose of the Lord that Jesus draws out must be completely different.
The one purpose that Jesus draws out of our hearts is peace. Perhaps this is what Paul was getting at in Philippians 4:5-7, which says, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made to known God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus is here. There may be all sorts of plans and thoughts creating anxiety in our hearts. But, through prayer we make our requests, the plans we truly desire, known to God. And, Jesus sorts through all of our thoughts to draw out the one purpose of God, thereby bringing peace to our hearts and minds.
Jesus is qualified to do this as our great high priest, the one mediator between God and man. And, he partook of flesh and blood so that he could understand us. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Jesus knows the weaknesses of our hearts and minds. He knows the many thoughts and plans that are in them. But, he understands.
Because he understands, Jesus is the man of understanding that will draw out the purpose of the Lord in our hearts.