7 Old Testament Verses That Show Us God Has a Plan

| Writer
2021
27 Oct
mom with small son on piggyback looking up

“Don’t worry, God has a plan.”

So often we hear a well-meaning friend speak these words, or we find ourselves uttering them to reassure a loved one. How can we really be certain this statement is true? When the future looks more precarious than ever—perhaps even hopeless—can we really be certain God has a plan for us? For our children? For the world?

When we look to God’s word, we find many scriptures that illustrate God’s unfathomable love for us and His sovereignty over our lives. In the Old Testament, we often find these scriptures embedded in stories that illustrate God’s way of saving His people and creating a future for them. We also find many scriptures that point to the eternal hope we have through salvation in His son, Jesus, who is the way for God to accomplish His ultimate desire in our lives: eternity spent with Him.

Below are seven scriptures that show us God not only has a plan – but that His plan is good, perfect and always right on time.

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mom with small son on piggyback looking up

Genesis 28:15

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Jacob was a man who did everything with great zeal. He did many things wrong before he learned the error of his ways. God promised to give Jacob a vast amount of land, multiply his descendants, and bless all the people of the earth through him and his offspring. It was the same promise that God had made to Jacob’s father and grandfather (Isaac and Abraham.) God made the promise to Jacob long before Jacob did anything commendable. In fact, up until that point, Jacob’s greatest accomplishment was deceiving his brother, Esau, out of his birthright. 

This verse is a reminder that God loves me and has a plan for me despite my failings. He sees the good I can accomplish and even the faith I’ve yet to attain. His plan for me won’t be thwarted by my past mistakes if I choose to follow Him. He is by my side and will not leave His plans unfinished.

2. Genesis 50:20

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive.”

Joseph was Jacob’s favored son. His other sons became jealous of Joseph and tried to get rid of their younger brother by selling him into slavery. God saved Joseph and eventually put him in a favored position with Pharaoh, who put Joseph in charge of Egypt. Because of Joseph’s position, he was able to preserve his family’s lives, save Egypt, and prepare the way for the beginning of the nation of Israel.

God is sovereign and brought good out of the evil deeds of Joseph’s brothers. God’s plan for Joseph took time and required perseverance. Joseph was sold into slavery, accused of rape, sent to prison—yet all of this set him up to be in front of Pharaoh, who ended up putting Joseph into the position to save his family 22 years after his brothers betrayed him.

Joseph’s experience shows me that God brings good from evil for those who trust Him. God can overrule other’s ill intentions and plans to bring about His will for my life. When I find myself in a situation that is unjust because of another’s actions, I can trust God to make a way out of the predicament. It may take time, patience and hardships beyond what I think I’m capable of, but God keeps his plan through it all.

Photo credit: SWN/Bethany Pyle

mom with small son on piggyback looking up

3. Psalm 138:8

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your faithfulness, Lord, is everlasting;
Do not abandon the works of Your hands.”

This is another verse that assures us God will accomplish His plan for our lives. It was written by David as a psalm of thanksgiving for answered prayer. David is known as the greatest king of Israel, ancestor of Jesus, and described by God as a man after his own heart. But David was also an adulterer, murderer (by arrangement), directly disobeyed God, and did not deal with his own children the way he should have. What David got right was his willingness to repent and learn from his sins, as well as his unswerving faith in God. He was willing to suffer through the consequences of his own sins while also praising God for His forgiveness and love.

From this psalm and David’s life I can be assured that my plans will be accomplished when they line up with God’s plans. God knows what’s best for me and doesn’t allow the desires in my heart, that are evil or against His will, to prevail. When I repent of my sins and seek His will for my life, I can be assured that His plans will be accomplished.

4. Ecclesiastes 3:1

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven—"

King Solomon was David’s son and the third king of Israel. He is also the author of the book of Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, much of the book of Proverbs and two Psalms. Solomon had it all – his life was abundant in wealth, wisdom and power, and yet in Ecclesiastes he deems it all “meaningless.” His point in the book is that everything we may accomplish in life is meaningless outside of our commitment to God. 

When I am committed to God, there truly is an appointed time for everything. The hard times will pass. Time for celebration and dancing will come. This verse reminds me that when I accept God’s perfect timing for everything, I can find peace in any situation. This means knowing that times of uprooting, weeping and mourning will not last forever, and it also means committing myself to being fully present for the laughing and dancing moments because those, too, will pass. In it all, God is in control and has a plan.

Photo credit: SWN/Bethany Pyle

mom with small son on piggyback looking up

5. Isaiah 43:18-19

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or consider things of the past.
Behold, I am going to do something new,
Now it will spring up;

Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah is considered to be the greatest Old Testament prophet and is quoted in the New Testament at least 50 times. Though most of his prophecies fell on deaf ears at the time he wrote them, we see them fulfilled in the life of Jesus. In fact, Isaiah speaks more about the coming Messiah than any other Old Testament prophet. In the verses above, Isaiah is speaking of a relatively soon-to-occur event when God will again rescue his people (this time from Babylon), and he is also referring to the future redeemer they would have in Jesus. 

Sometimes it seems like God doesn’t have a plan because I expect Him to do things He’s done before. These verses remind me that I need to let go of how I thought things were supposed to be or how I expect God to fix a situation, and start looking at what new things He may be doing in my life or the world around me. He can make a way where none seems possible, I just need to be willing to see it.

6. Habakkuk 2:3

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hurries toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it delays, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay long.”

Habakkuk was a prophet to Judah. He didn’t understand why the people in Judah were not being punished for their sins. He complained to God: why was He allowing evil to persist? God answered that He would use the Babylonians to punish Judah. He also assured Habakkuk that the Babylonians would face justice for their sins. As we read below, Judah did pay the consequences for their sins by being overtaken by the Babylonians and becoming their captives for 70 years. 

Sometimes I feel discouraged by the injustice I see in the world around me. Why does God let the evildoers flourish and go unpunished? This verse from Habakkuk reminds me to be patient. God’s justice comes in due time. Even when I don’t understand the why of what is happening, I can trust that God hates sin even more than I do, and He will not let it go on forever. His justice will prevail. While I wait, I can pray for those around me to be protected. Knowing God’s desire is for all to be saved, I can also pray for the wicked to repent.

Photo credit: SWN/Bethany Pyle

mom with small son on piggyback looking up

7. Jeremiah 29:11

“’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

Jeremiah made the above proclamation to the exiles in Babylon. Jeremiah was a prophet who ministered to Judah for 40 years. Most of what he said fell on deaf ears, and the people found themselves conquered by Babylon. Through Jeremiah, God assured the exiles that He would rescue them, but it wouldn’t happen for 70 years. Jeremiah also instructed the exiles to go on with their lives while they waited. Undoubtedly, most of them didn’t live to see this promise fulfilled, but their children did.

This story reminds me that as a Christian, I am an exile on earth. Like the exiles in Babylon, I can hang onto God’s promise for a future and hope, even when I don’t see the promise I expected coming to fruition. Jeremiah 29:13 instructs “You will seek me and find me when you search for Me with all of your heart.” When I seek God with all my heart, I will find myself living with the eternal hope that can only come from Him. My hope doesn’t come from my present circumstances or even what tomorrow may bring. It comes from the Lord and my relationship with Him (Psalm 62:5-6).

God’s plan may not look like my plan. That can be a hard truth to swallow, but when I understand His plans are far better than anything I could come up with, the truth becomes a blessing. God’s word shows me over and over again how His plans always prevail. I may not know what the future holds, but I know that God ultimately wants good for his children. He gave His only child, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins so we that we could spend eternity with Him. In all the plans God has for us, our salvation is the most important one. He wants us to have a relationship with Him. As Solomon found out, everything else is meaningless.

Related articles
One-Sentence Summaries of Every Old Testament Book
The Old Testament Is Filled with Fulfilled Prophecy
Why Do We Need the Old Testament?

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Melanie Campbell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW. Her debut novel, One Woman Falling, won the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Award and is a finalist for the Selah Award. She lives in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband, their three children, and several spoiled pets. You can learn more about her writing and sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website at melaniecampbellauthor.org. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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