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By Dr. Richard Ing

December 8, 2003



When Joseph was seventeen years old, God gave him a dream of his family gathering sheaves (as in harvesting wheat).  The sheaves of all his brothers bowed down to his sheave.  When Joseph shared the dream, his brothers hated him.  Soon thereafter, he had another dream in which he saw the sun and moon and eleven stars.  They all bowed down to his star.  Gen. 37:7,9.  His brothers hated him all the more and plotted to kill him.  Reuben, however, saved the impetuous, unwise Joseph (Gen. 37:21) and Joseph was subsequently sold as a slave to a passing caravan.  Gen. 37:28.  He became a slave to Potiphar, captain of the Pharaoh’s guards.  Gen. 39:1.  Joseph was so wise and diligent that he became second in command only to Potiphar.  However, because of the lies of Potiphar’s wife, Joseph ended in prison where he spent more than several years.  Gen. 39:20.  When the Pharaoh of Egypt had a disturbing dream that no one could interpret, one of the former prisoners remembered that Joseph could interpret dreams.  His accurate construal of Pharaoh’s dream eventually led Joseph to become second in command in all of Egypt.  Only the pharaoh was higher.


David was a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep.  Shepherds were an abomination to society (Gen. 46:34) and David was the youngest and most insignificant of Jessie’s eight sons.  He was so worthless of mention that when Samuel the prophet came to Jessie’s house and asked to see Jessie’s sons, Jessie forgot about David.  1 Sa. 16:11.  David, meanwhile, spent many lonely hours in the desert where he learned to praise and trust God.  When a lion and then a bear jumped on one of the lambs, David killed each one with his bare hands.  1 Sa. 17:34-36.  This was no ordinary feat and David surely knew that God was with him and had a plan for David’s life.  David was so unobtrusive that he spent much time playing the harp for King Saul and being Saul’s armor bearer; yet, when David appeared before Saul to fight Goliath, Saul did not recognize him.  1 Sa. 17:55-58.  God can make the insignificant into a king and priest.

David knew what his destiny was when Samuel secretly anointed David to be the next king of Judah.  When David challenged the giant Goliath, he knew his destiny and he believed God.  He knew that there was no way Goliath could kill him.  He had a destiny to fulfill for the Lord.

A parallel incident was when Abraham was instructed by God to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham did not hesitate because he knew his destiny.  God had promised him that he was to be the father of many nations through Isaac.  Gen. 17:4,5.  He knew that God would either prevent Isaac’s death or raise him from the dead.  As it happened, God prevented Abraham from killing Isaac.  This episode showed the willingness of a father to sacrifice his son - a prelude to God’s Son, Jesus, being sacrificed for the sins of the world.  But, the episode also speaks of the sureness of Abraham in the destiny God had given him.

Like Joseph, there would be testing and suffering for David first.  After the episode with Samuel, David spent years running and hiding from King Saul’s army.  All of Judah were looking to kill David.  He was forced to move from one remote place to another, sleeping in caves and gulches and not knowing where his next meal was coming from.  He became a praying man and learned to trust in God.  It wasn’t for many years that David’s destiny would be fulfilled.  But David never wavered in his belief in his own destiny. 

Both Joseph and David knew that even before they were formed in their mother’s womb, God had a plan and destiny for their life .  In Psalm 22:6,10, David declared, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. . . But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.  He realized that God had a plan for his life and from his birth, his hope was in that plan or destiny.  He put his life in God’s hands.  David had faith in God’s plan and he became humble and confident in his destiny.  In Psalm 71:6, David said, “By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art He that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.”  He knew that God would keep His word. 

God knows the life of everyone even before he is born.  He knows who will belong to Him and who will belong to the devil.  David said, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are  born, speaking lies.”  Ps. 58:3.  There are people who will never come to Jesus.  God knows who they are.


Isaiah the prophet of God knew that he too was called by God even before he was born.  He knew that God had a plan for all the heroes before him, including Jacob and all of Israel.  In Isaiah 44:2,24 he said, “Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou Jesurun (a name or symbol for Israel), whom I have chosen.”  Isaiah recognized that everything that had happened in the past was in God’s plan for Jacob and the nation of Israel.  God wants you to realize and attain His destiny for your life.  However, if you do not believe God and will not submit to God’s hand, that plan could be sidetracked and postponed for another generation.  God’s plans for Israel were sidetracked many times by unbelief and rebellion. 

Isaiah declared that he was chosen by God to warn His people. “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”  Is. 49:1.  “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be His servant, . . . .”  Is. 49:5.  Like David, Isaiah surrendered his life to God to fulfill the destiny in his life.  He recognized the honor and privilege to have been created to fulfill God’s plan for Israel.  His steps were sure.  So with Cyrus of Persia.


One hundred forty years before Cyrus of Persia was born, God revealed that one day He would raise up Cyrus to set His people free from Babylon.  God not only prophesied that someone would release Israel from Babylon, He actually called Cyrus by name long before Cyrus was even born.  Is. 45:1-6. When King Cyrus was shown the written prophecy made over one century before, he believed in his destiny and immediately released the Hebrew people and made provisions for the re-building of Jerusalem and the temple there.  It fulfilled not only Isaiah 45:1-6, but also Jeremiah 25:11,12; 29:10.  God’s word never comes back void.


God chose Jeremiah before he was born to be a prophet to the nations.  In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord said, “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”  Because of this knowledge, Jeremiah could stand against all of Judah - the priests, prophets and people who wanted to kill him.  Jer. 26:8,11.  He knew that he would not die at the hands of his own people.  God had another plan for his life. 


Gideon was a nobody, a peasant’s son, and in the beginning he could not believe that God would call him to do something great, but God did.  He “put out a fleece” twice to find out if it was really God that spoke to him.  Judg. 6:37-40.  Once it was confirmed, Gideon threw his whole life into that plan and destiny.  God knew Gideon from his mother’s womb.   Gideon didn’t even know God when God put that plan into action.  But, when the time came, God fulfilled every bit of Gideon’s destiny and he went from being a nobody, to general in the army of God.  All Gideon had to do was believe and obey.

It goes without saying that the 300 men out of 32,000, chosen to be in Gideon’s army were already known to God from before they were born.  It was Gideon and the 300 men that didn’t know, so God had to use a sign to show Gideon.  Those that drank water by using their hands instead of lapping it up like a dog or bowing on their knees had been destined from the beginning to be in that army.  Judg. 7:5,6.  God didn’t use the manner of drinking to choose the 300.  They were already chosen before they were born. 


Some find out their destiny early in life and some late.  Jeremiah found out early and so did David.  Gideon found out later in life.  Moses too.  Either way, God fulfilled the calling He placed on their lives.  All were ordinary people.  They were not prominent or rich people.  They were mostly shepherds and farmers.  Like you and me, the world did not consider them worthy to admire.  But, God does not look at people the way the world does when He chooses His champions.

The disciples were destined for greatness before they were born.  Judas was destined for destruction. 


I’d like to think that it is automatic and we do not have to do anything about our destiny.  But it is not entirety true.  Samson had a destiny to fulfill.  He was to deliver his people from the Philistines (Judg. 13:5), but he bungled it.  He liked women and the things of the world too much.  But, even unto the end, God used him although not to the fullest extent.  Samson failed because he didn’t believe God and did not submit his life to God.  Nevertheless, God fulfilled what He could.

The champions that did attain had to agree with God and allow God to use them.  They became humble with the knowledge that God wanted to use them for something extraordinary.  They knew that their had no power in and of themselves to fulfill the destiny God gave them.  In the case of Moses, God humbled him even when Moses had no idea that God had a destiny for him.  He went from prince to pauper in one day.  He went from living in a palace in Egypt to living in a desert far away from Egypt, but it took forty years in the desert tending his father-in-law’s sheep to take Egypt out of Moses.  In the end, he was totally devoid of self-ambition and ready to serve God.  Moses even ran away from his destiny until God threatened to take his life.  Ex. 4:24.  You can’t run away from your destiny.

If you are unsure, “put out a fleece.”  God will honor it.  Then you will know.


Blessed is the  person who knows his destiny and agrees with God.  It matters not if you are a peasant or king; it is God who called you.  Have you been called by God into a tremendous destiny?  Did not God know you before you were even born?  How did you ever become a member of this church?  Was it not God that drew you here?  What will happen in your life and mine is not accident or happenstance.  It is destiny.

How foolish is one who knows and refuses to allow God to fulfill that destiny.      We need to be people of destiny - obsessed with the calling God put on our life.  We have a destiny to fulfill, if we would only believe.  Let us pursue our destiny with joy, persistence and diligence.  Let us praise the Lord continually.

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