But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.…
— 1 Corinthians 2:9,10
Over the years, we have received millions of letters from viewers who have written in response to our TV programs. If I were to amass all of those letters and analyze the number-one need that people write to us about, I would have to say it is their desperate desire to know God’s will for their lives.
People struggle to know what is right or wrong, what jobs they should or shouldn’t take, what school they should attend for higher education, whom they should or should not marry, whether or not to go full time into the ministry — and on, on, and on. Often well-meaning, misinformed people have told them, “Well, you can’t always know God’s plan.” These misled people even quote First Corinthians 2:9 and use it as an excuse for ignorance. They say, “You know what the Bible says: ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.’ You see, even the Bible tells us we can’t always know what God has planned for us!”
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However, that was not the point the apostle Paul was trying to make when he wrote this verse! We cannot use First Corinthians 2:9 as an excuse for ignorance. It’s true that there was a time long ago under the Old Covenant when it wasn’t possible to fully know God’s plan as we can know it today. Paul paraphrased from the Old Testament when he said, “…As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them…” (see Isaiah 64:4). Isaiah was bemoaning the perplexing problem of man’s inability to know what God has planned for him. At that time, before the Holy Spirit came to indwell the hearts of people, it was difficult and often impossible to fully discern the things God had planned for each of His children.
Think about how perplexing this problem must have been! God meticulously prepared wonderful, prearranged blessings for His people, but they weren’t able to discern these things in advance! The word “prepared” is important in this text, for it is the Greek word etoimadzo, which carries the idea of a readiness or something that has been fully prepared. The use of this word in this verse alerts us to the fact that God has a divine plan for each of our lives and is ready to reveal it! How wonderful to realize that God’s plan for us is not happenstance, accidental, or a product of last-minute planning. He has been meticulously working out a plan for our lives since before the foundation of the world. He is the Great Planner!
Under the Old Covenant, however, the Holy Spirit didn’t reside in the human heart, so people struggled tremendously to find God’s predetermined plan for their lives. In their efforts to uncover His will, they sought special, divine signs and even visited prophets of the region in an attempt to find answers and gain God’s guidance and direction. Although God had prepared so much for His people, they were blind to much of what had been provided for them because they didn’t have the Great Revealer living in their hearts.
How I wish I could say that it was different today, but most modern Christians live their lives as if they were still living under the Old Covenant! This is especially sad when you consider that Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside their hearts and therefore have access to all the answers they could ever need. But because they have never developed a spiritual sensitivity or learned to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit, they still live like Old Testament people, depending on special signs, divine signals, or advice from others.
This shouldn’t be the case! The Holy Spirit has come to tell you and me everything we need to know to walk in the fullness of God’s plan for our lives.
Because the Holy Spirit has come, the ignorance that once existed among God’s people has permanently been eliminated. No one can rightfully use First Corinthians 2:9 as an excuse for ignorance or for not knowing the will of God. People who use this verse in this way are sadly misinformed about its purpose. Taken in context with the following verse, this verse clearly reveals that God does not want His people to be ignorant about His purposes, blessings, promises, and provisions that He has so meticulously planned for their lives.
First Corinthians 2:10 continues to tell us, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.…” What does the word “them” refer to? It refers to all the things that used to be hidden! The word “revealed” is the Greek word apokalupsis, a compound of the words apo and kalupsis. The word apo means away, and the word kalupsis is the Greek word for a veil, a curtain, or some type of covering. When compounded into the word apokalupsis, which is normally translated as the word “revelation,” it literally means to remove the veil or to remove the curtain so you can see what is on the other side.
This word apokalupsis plainly refers to something that was veiled or hidden for a long time and suddenly becomes clear and visible to the mind or eye. It is like pulling the curtains out of the way so you can see the scene outside your window. The view was always there for you to enjoy, but the curtains blocked your ability to see the real picture. Once the curtains are drawn apart, you suddenly behold what was previously hidden from your view. The moment you see beyond the curtain for the first time and observe what has been there all along but wasn’t evident to you — that is what the Bible calls a “revelation.”
Now apply this to First Corinthians 2:9,10. In verse 9, Paul indeed said that there was a time in the past when the eye could not see, the ear could not hear, nor could the heart begin to imagine all the amazing, wonderful things God had prepared for those who love Him. God had prepared those benefits according to His prearranged plan, but they were veiled — hidden to us, obscured from our sight. But when Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit came, and one of His major works in our lives is to remove the veil that once obstructed our view so our eyes can see, our ears can hear, and our hearts can fully comprehend the specific, special plans that God has meticulously prepared for each of us!
So I want to tell you, if you’ve been using this verse to claim ignorance of God’s ways, it’s time for you to change your thinking and speaking about it! This verse doesn’t give us an excuse for ignorance. In fact, it says just the opposite! This verse declares the day of not knowing what God has prepared for us is gone forever! The Holy Spirit — the Great Revealer — now lives inside our hearts, and He wants to reveal God’s blessings, promises, provisions, and plans to you and to me!
Thank God, you no longer have to seek special signs or divine signals. You don’t have to seek out prophets as they did in the Old Testament. Right inside your heart is the greatest Source of revelation on planet earth — the Holy Spirit! If you’ll develop a spiritual sensitivity and learn to listen to His voice, He will reveal everything that God has meticulously planned for you so you can be all God has destined you to be.
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I thank You for the presence and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life. Forgive me for the times I’ve ignored this precious Partner whom You have sent to instruct and lead me in all the affairs of life. I repent for trying to find my way in life without His counsel and assistance. I confess that I’ve often sought the advice of family, friends, counselors, pastors, books, and other sources more than I’ve sought the counsel of the Holy Spirit — yet He is the One who knows the end from the beginning. Father, I thank You for providing the greatest source of revelation inside my own heart through His presence within me. Starting today, I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for each and every decision I make in life. Father, since You have meticulously planned my life and have sent the Holy Spirit to reveal that plan to me, from this day onward I want to let the Holy Spirit provide the revelation I need to fulfill that plan!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that I am led by the Holy Spirit and that He reveals to me the will of God for my life. I am not ignorant, and I am not left to find my way on my own. God loves me so much that He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within me and to provide me with all the details of God’s awesome plan for my life. As I develop my spiritual sensitivity and listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice, I am enlightened step by step to what He wants me to do with every part of my life. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in me, my eyes see, my ears hear, and my heart is able to comprehend the things God has planned for me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you know the overall framework of God’s plan for your life? If so, what is it? Could you clearly state God’s will and plan for your life if someone asked you to do it?
- Are you spiritually developing so you can more and more easily perceive the voice of the Holy Spirit in your heart? What steps can you start taking to increase your level of spiritual sensitivity?
- If someone were to ask you for help in determining God’s will for his life, what would you tell him to do?