Though men may think they make their own choices in life and choose the paths they will take, it is ultimately God who plans the course that a man will take, and it is ultimately God’s purpose for his life that will prevail. Whatever a man may do, whether he does good or evil, God’s plan and purpose for His creation will be realized. The course of action that a man takes and the path that he follows are but a part of the larger will, plan and purpose of our all-powerful, all-knowing, and sovereign God.
In his prayer the prophet Jeremiah said: “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23). Another similar verse is found in Proverbs: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9). The Scriptures teach that a man’s life is not his own, and regardless of whatever plans he may map out for his life, ultimately it will be the Lord who directs his steps and determines the paths he will take, and it is ultimately the Lord’s purpose for his life that will prevail.
Two more verses from Proverbs also emphasize the sovereignty of God in the lives of men. In Proverbs 19 we read: “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21). And in Proverbs 20, we read: “Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord; how then can man understand his way?” (Proverbs 20:24).
A man may be convinced that he chooses his own course of action for his own purposes and benefit. However, the Bible reveals that a man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, and that ultimately God’s purpose will be realized as a result of the things he does. With the question, “How then can man understand his way”, the Scripture is teaching us that men cannot fully understand the paths they travel during the course of their lives, or the things that happen to them along the way.
As believers, our loving and sovereign God determined long ago His plan and purpose for our lives, and the paths that we would travel. These are paths that He has chosen for us and paths in which He directs us, through the circumstances that unfold during the course of our lives, and as a result of the limitations He has placed upon us. All of the events of our lives were decided long ago by God Himself, who foreknew all of His people from before the creation of the world. The psalmist wrote: “And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:16).