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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
WHAT IS YOUR DESTINY?
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
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.