God Reveals His Plans

By Pastor Teck Uy

We all know that life is full of surprises. However, does God allow things to happen without prior warning, so that we are all caught unguarded? According to the prophet Amos, this is not so. He said, “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Somehow, God gives advance notice on the things he plans to do. He reveals these to his servants, the prophets. Even in our days, he continues to reveal things that are coming through his Word. However, many do not heed these warnings because they do not see these things happening quickly enough. Some have the notion that when a warning is given, it will immediately happen. But this is not how the Lord works in all situations. The apostle Peter explained the reason for some delays when he said, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

When God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness, he revealed his plan to Abraham. He said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him” (Gen. 18:17-18). This kind of warning, or revelation, was repeated many times in the history of Israel, because God cares abut the welfare of his people. He used prophets and priests to speak of his plans, either to build or to destroy, to reward or to punish. Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isa. 46:10).

Because prophecies do not come quickly as men expect, many take these in stride. Some are comforted by the promises given by God, yet they do not expect that these promises will indeed happen to them. Others straighten up when they hear of warnings, but soon go back to their old ways because nothing bad ever happens. But will God not fulfill all that he said? The prophet Habakkuk said, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Hab. 2:3). God has his own perfect timing for everything. He will make things happen at their appointed time, because he will make everything beautiful in its time. Indeed, there is a need to wait on the Lord. Delay happens for our own good—to afford us time to repent and to prepare. If we hold on to our faith and trust that the word of the Lord will not fail, we shall not be caught off-guard when it will finally happen.

How long will it linger? For as long as we are not ready, it will linger. When the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was prophesied, it did not happen immediately. In fact, his birth was foretold right from the beginning, after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. It was repeated many times over through the prophets of God. In particular, the prophet Isaiah said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). This found fulfillment only about two thousand years ago, when the angel Gabriel said to Mary, a virgin, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). While Mary wondered how this could happen, she responded positively to her calling and answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).

Because God reveals his plans even before these happen, we need to heed all the warnings in the Scriptures. All of these have their appointed time of fulfillment and it will go well with us if we prepare ourselves. Even in the difficult situations that we do not want to be in, we need to respond as Mary responded: “May it be to me as you said.” Had Mary refused to submit to God because it would mean that she would be the object of ridicule, she would not have been highly favoured. We are called to be bearers of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us carry it with confidence, regardless of the ridicule and persecution that come with it. No matter who the Lord will use as his messenger, may we receive it as Mary did and say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you say.” Hallelujah!