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What Does the Bible Say About Planning?

Confession: I used to hate planning.

I didn’t like planning sessions, meetings, or anything having to do with planning, especially when it came to the church.

And if I’m really honest, I did not have a good reason for it. But what I would learn very early after planting a church is that planning was not only necessary, but biblical.

When I became a lead pastor and church planter, I was good decent at planning a worship service and message outline for the following week. But I wasn’t great at planning much further ahead than that.

I realized that not having a plan was my plan.

I would use the excuse that I was letting the Holy Spirit lead us by not planning too far down the road. And although I do still believe the Holy Spirit directs, I now know that the same Holy Spirit is just as much a part of the planning as well.

Not having a plan is a bad plan. And if I can be real for just a moment, it’s also lazy.

I was certainly being lazy.

As I have grown as a pastor and church leader, thankfully I have learned how to plan better and rely on the Holy Spirit in those plans because I have a better biblical view of planning. So not much drives me more crazy than when I hear someone complain, “You’re planning the Holy Spirit out of it!”

  1. I don’t think that’s possible.
  2. The bible is full of people planning and God not only working in the plan, but also being part of the development of that plan.

Three Reasons to Plan

1. God is a Planner

I have a hard believing that God just randomly tossed out His power and said, “Go create something.”

When we read the story of creation, we see a plan. Each day there was creation and the next day built upon the former. There could be no light without first darkness and there could be no day without night and separation between the two, which brought about evening and morning. There was sea and sky, a bountiful earth, the lights of the day and night, fish and birds, living creatures, man and woman and then rest.

Even in the creation of man and woman there was a plan for them to be in His image.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:26

God’s will was to make the earth his kingdom and to get it ready to be ruled by humans. That’s what we call a plan.

When the fracturing of the world happened through the fall (Genesis 3), God would have a plan for our salvation through the coming of a messiah in Jesus.

Not only that, but we see God as planner through detailed instructions he would give people like Moses, Joshua, David, Jesus and others.

In Leviticus we see detailed instructions from God for all the offerings. And even with the giving of the Law, there was a plan.

And here’s an easy one, even if you’re still not convinced that God is a planner; do we not believe that God has a plan for our lives?

God is a God who has a plan.

2. People in the Bible Had Plans

Not only is God a planner, but there are plenty of examples of people in the bible with plans, by which many came from listening to the voice of God.

Moses: In Moses’ first encounter with God, he’s given a plan to lead the people of Israel out of slavery. Later, when not having a plan became too much to handle and was seen by his father-in-law Jethro, he said to him, “What you are doing is not good.” In Exodus 18:17, so a plan was developed. There would be many more carried out by Moses, including a succession plan to have Joshua be the next leader.

Joshua: Speaking of Joshua, when reading the book of Joshua, there is one plan after another. The fall of Jericho happens through a plan. Later, Consequently, in Joshua 6 and 7 when Joshua decides to make his own plan without hearing the Lord first, things do not go so well.

Nehemiah: When Nehemiah would be led to rebuild the walls the Jerusalem, he would do it through a well-thought out plan where he assessed the state of the walls, counted the cost and gathered leaders and helpers to see it through.

Jesus: The ministry of Jesus was all part of the plan. He sought out men who he would develop to send out and carry on the mission after his resurrection and would even give them a plan to do so (Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8). His entire life on earth was all part of God’s plan to bring redemption to mankind, as Jesus came to “seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

3. Scripture Backs It Up

The bible is full of scripture pointing to a plan or a reason to have a plan. For example:

  • Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
  • Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  • Proverbs 15:22 – Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
  • Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
  • Psalms 20:4 – May he grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans!
  • Acts 2:23 – This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
  • Luke 9:51 – When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem
  • Luke 14:28-30 – For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'

The truth is, we will not drift into becoming people who plan. It will take prayer, work and trial. Yes, let the spirit of God move and work in you, through you and in your church. But allow the same spirit to move in and through your plans. Like the writer of Proverbs 16:3 says, commit it to the Lord.