Monday, May 19, 2014

The Best Laid Plans

We like to make plans.  My wall calendar is full of them.

This is where I will be on Friday. Saturday.  Next Monday.

The nursing home.  Dentist.  Library.  Birthday party.  Wedding.  Prayer walking.  Play date.  Luncheon with a friend.  Big and small events fill the squares, some frivolous fun, others serious attempt to create order out of chaos or to, at the very least, regulate the chaos.

And yet, if I flip back through the months gone by, I see the letters CAN stamped atop so many of those plans.

Illness.  Car trouble.  Family emergency.  Funeral.  Bad weather.


 All unexpected.  All taking precedence, changing the course of my day, my week.  All with the same result.  

The same is true of the larger life-altering plans I make in life--the children I will have, where I'll live, where I plan to work, how many hours, how much income I'll bring in over the next year at this job.  

Too many of these plans have been stamped Cancelled as well, even those I believed to be certainties such as my employment this summer.

As with most people, the children of Israel were fond of making plans, too.  One of those plans concerned Israel's safety.

Judah was frightened by the world powers coming against it.  Scripture says "Rezin the king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not conquer it.  When it was reported to the house of David, saying, 'The Arameans have camped in Ephraim,' his [King Ahaz's] heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind" (Is. 7:1-2).

The children of Israel and her leaders were literally shaking in their boots. And so, in the face of this two-headed threat, they did the "logical" thing to do--they made plans for their protection, seeking security in a political alliance with a country they perceived to be stronger than they--Egypt and her chariots.

Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord spoke against this plan, saying,'Woe to the rebellious children,' declares the Lord, 'Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin; Who proceed down to Egypt Without consulting Me, To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation'" (30:1-3). 

These plans had been  formed without consulting the Lord's prophet, the Word of the Lord or the Lord, Himself.  A simple review of God's Word in the Torah would have shown God forbidding this exact alliance: "However, he must not acquire many horses for himself or send the people back to Egypt to acquire many horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You are never to go back that way again'" (Deut. 17:16).  

Israel's plans were the plans of man, not the plans of God.  As such, their alliance was as meaningless as the paper they were written on.

In the New Testament, James, too, speaks of making plans: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.' You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that' (James 4:13-15)

It is impossible to go through this life without making plans.  Yet, how much better plans would we make if we stopped and sought His plans first--through His Holy Word, through prayer, and through wise counsel?  Likewise, when our plans are thwarted, how much different would our reaction be if we remembered that we don't have the big picture like God does, that the Lord obviously planned differently for our good?

No comments:

Post a Comment