Have you ever wondered about the concept of God's divine plan and what exactly He has "ordained"? When we hear religious leaders speak of what God has ordained, it can sound mysterious and vague. But understanding the biblical foundation of this idea can give us clarity into how God works to orchestrate His purposes in our lives and in the world.
To ordain something means to set it apart for a special purpose. So when the Bible refers to what God has ordained, it means He has specially appointed those things to be part of His sovereign plan. God does nothing randomly or by accident - He ordains even the smallest details with intent and purpose.
In this article, we'll explore what it means when the Bible says God has ordained:
- Our life purpose
- Events that occur in the world
- Trusting in God's ordained plans
God Has Ordained Our Life Purpose
One key aspect of God's ordained plan is the life purpose He establishes for each of us. In Acts 17:26, Paul teaches that God determined the exact times and places we would live:
"From one man God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands."
This shows that God ordained even the time and place of our birth. Why? Because He has an ordained purpose for our lives that only we can fulfill.
In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells the prophet Jeremiah:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
This reveals that God ordained Jeremiah for a specific purpose - to be a prophet - even before he was born.
Similarly, God has ordained a unique life purpose for each of us according to His master plan. This is not something we choose, but rather it is God's predetermined calling on our lives.
For example, some are called to be teachers while others are ordained to serve in healthcare. Some become engineers, musicians, or ministers. Others take up trades or raise families.
The key is that whatever purpose God has ordained for our lives is what will bring us the greatest joy and fulfillment. It is in walking out our ordained purpose that we discover meaning.
Of course, just because God has ordained our life purpose doesn't mean it will be easy. God ordained Paul to take the gospel to the Gentiles, which came with great hardship (2 Timothy 1:11-12).
But we can take comfort in knowing every detail of our lives has been ordained by God for a good purpose. As Romans 8:28 promises, "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
God Has Ordained Events in the World
In addition to ordaining life callings, the Bible teaches that God has ordained all events that transpire in the world - past, present, and future.
For example, Scripture reveals it was God Himself who ordained the death of Jesus on the cross. Acts 4:27-28 says:
"Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen."
This shows God not only knew the crucifixion would happen, but He actually ordained it to fulfill His plan of salvation.
Additionally, Ephesians 1:11 explains that God works out "everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." In other words, He has ordained the events of history to accomplish His purposes.
If God has ordained something, then nothing in heaven or earth can prevent it from taking place.
For instance, when the religious leaders tried to stop the spread of the gospel, they were actually attempting to thwart what God had ordained. Acts 5:38-39 says:
"Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
This is a sobering warning not to resist what God has ordained. His purposes will prevail regardless of human opposition.
Trusting in God's Ordained Plan
At times, it can be challenging to accept the events God has ordained. When we face pain, injustice, or confusion, we may be tempted to doubt God's wisdom and sovereignty over what He has ordained.
In those moments, we must remember that God sees the full picture. He knows how every ordained event throughout history will ultimately weave together to fulfill His glory.
Though we walk by faith, not sight, we can trust God's ordained plan is perfect.
Furthermore, God promises to be with us through every ordained season of life. As Psalm 138:8 assures, "The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands."
God will never leave or forsake His ordained plans. Even when God's ordained will is difficult, He provides the grace and strength we need to endure.
We see this with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew the ordained plan was for Him to suffer and die on the cross. Though it was excruciating, He submitted, praying: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39).
Furthermore, God can use every ordained season - even those meant for harm - to cultivate good in our lives.
Romans 8:28 promises: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Through every joy and every trial ordained by God, He will work to shape our character into the image of Christ.
So in the end, we can have hope and peace knowing every detail of our lives has been ordained by a good God for a glorious purpose.
God's plans cannot be thwarted. What He has ordained will come to pass. Therefore, we can surrender our lives fully into the security of His hands.