Updated: May 15, 2019
PREPARED FOR US
A major and recurring principle in the Scripture is that God has gone before us to prepare a place (position) for us. God first prepared (established) the heavens to contain the earth (Proverbs 8:27). Then in the seedbed of Scripture, the Book of Genesis, we find that God had prepared a place for man to live on, the earth. (Genesis 1:1-31)
Having done that God prepared another place for Adam to dwell in, the planting of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8).
The Hebrew word for planting is nata’ (Strongs H5193) meaning “to strike in, to fix”. This was intended to be a fixed dwelling place, an established position.
Interestingly enough the “eastward” position of the Garden actually means “at the front, or in the foreground”. So God had prepared a garden for man to dwell in at the very forefront of things. Humankind was meant to be at the head of things on earth (compare Genesis 1:26).
Right from the beginning God wanted us to be forerunners, leaders who had a special place and position prepared by God Himself. What a thought! Our whole life is a preparation. God has been preparing a place for us since eternity. This has always been His business. But do we think like this? Do we give it much thought?
Preparation can seem to be hard, but that’s because we tend to isolate it from God’s grand purpose. If we put “preparation” into the context of His “purpose” it becomes much easier to understand, and deal with, in life.
Now it so happens that God’s basic ingredient for our personal spiritual growth is NEED. Without personal needs (not “wants”) we would hardly grow spiritually at all. The reason our Father creates and allows needs in our lives is to turn us from all that is not of Christ, so we become centred on Him alone. “Not I, but Christ”.
So let’s look at some of the preparation our Father has done for us!
Gen 1:1-31 Earth prepared for mankind
Gen 2:8 Eden was prepared
Gen 6:1-22 God, through Noah prepared the Ark (1 Pet 3:20)
Exo 23:20 Land of Canaan prepared (Heb 11:3 and 40)
Psa 31:19 God's goodness prepared for us
Psa 23:5 Table prepared in the wilderness
Psa 9:7 and 103:19 Throne prepared
Jonah 1:17 and 4:6-8 Fish, plant, worm, east wind prepared by God
Mtt 25:34 and Mk 10:40 Kingdom prepared
Luk 1:17 A people prepared
Luk 2:31 Salvation prepared
Col 15 and 1 Pet 1:4 An inheritance is prepared
Rom 9:23 Riches of glory prepared
1 Cor 2:9 “Something” great prepared
Mtt 25:41 Even Gehenna (“hell”) is prepared
Jhn 14:2 Jesus goes to prepare a place for us
Heb 4:9-11 God prepared a “Rest” for us
Heb 10:5 A body was prepared
Heb 11:16 and Rev 21:2 A city is being prepared
Rev 12:6 The “Woman” has a place prepared
Heb 11:3 The Ages were prepared
2 Cor 5:5 WE are being prepared (compare 4:16-17)
In the New Testament this “preparing” literally means “to be adjusted by internal fitness”. While God goes about His business preparing things for us, by His Holy Spirit He is also adjusting us and fitting us out (literally = furnishing) us to receive what He’s being preparing!
Can you see this extraordinary truth? We are being internally sorted out, refined, adjusted, purified, sanctified, made ready for something grand and eternal. I’ve always loved the concept that inside of us there are “spiritual rooms” as it were, where the Holy Spirit is working on us to arrange our inner abode fit for what’s yet to come. Almost as if He’s arranging the furniture. Utterly amazing thought!
God’s preparation is two-fold, outer and inner.
(1) He is EXTERNALLY preparing something/s for us.
(2) And by our INTERNAL ADJUSTING He’s refining us to be made ready for it.
Now consider this. God was able to move the whole Roman Empire (through the Census of Luke 2:1-3) just to have one baby born in the small village of Bethlehem to fulfill prophesy. If God goes to so much trouble to “prepare” shouldn’t we pay more attention to these things?
Our time on earth is a preparation period. God sees a NEED in us, and for us, and then sets about to meet that need - for His eternal purposes, which He graciously allows us to share in. Once we’re sure of His grand purpose we can equally be confident of the preparation He puts us through. Life then makes sense and has a grand outcome. It is not haphazard but planned by our gracious Father. Difficult and painful at times, yes. But always with a purpose.
A favourite verse many Christians quote is Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good.” Well that’s true enough but it’s very important to know the WHOLE text. We can so easily just take a portion and memorise that bit. Here is what it actually says.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
There it is outlined in a kind of sequence. (1) God causes. (2) For those who love Him. (3) For those called to His purpose.
Note how it’s strung together. Things do work together for good but only because the Father CAUSES them to do so. Plus, it works for good if you LOVE the Lord, and if you have been CALLED by Him to fulfill His purpose.
It’s quite true this pattern is for all Born Again believers, but sometimes we need to stop and consider the wholeness of God’s Word, and not simply latch on to bits and pieces of it.
And of course, verses 28 and 29 are linked. This is what verse 29 declares.
“For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that the Son might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
The things of our Father are extraordinary in comprehension, wonderfully delightful in truth, and so amazing to reflect on. Grand beyond anything we now know. So what can we do but thank Him for all His wonderful preparing and fitting us out: