A couple weeks ago I wrote about how though “The mind of man plans his way, it is the LORD who directs His steps” (Pr. 16:9). So, as we make our plans, we need to at the same time acknowledge the prerogative of our Sovereign, Omniscient God to change those plans. As I shared, I was to preach at the Kootenai River Bible Church on January 16th, but got a call just as we were about to leave the house telling us many of the group were sick and wouldn’t be there, so, could I come the next Sunday (yesterday). I agreed but then this past week my wife and I also both got bad colds and I had to call and cancel! (We were just being biblical; for it is written: “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it”…(I Cor. 12:2). This next Sunday (Jan. 30th) I am filling in at FBC (“Lord willing!”) So I postponed speaking at KRBC until Feb. 6th. In last week’s devotional, I wrote about how God often gives us opportunity to practice what we preach or hear preached. Well, that principle continues to be true!
But all this has reminded me of how God doesn’t have to change His plans. Corrie Ten Boom, who wrote, “The Hiding Place” about living in Nazi-occupied Holland and her time in concentration camps, said, “There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans!” God has a plan and time schedule for all of human history (Remember, history is His-Story!). He is never caught off guard. He never has to go to “Plan B.” The Creator of the universe does not respond to human events; He superintends them.
John “Hannibal” Smith of the action-adventure television series “The A-Team” (1983-87) used a catchphrase that has long outlived the show: “I love it when a plan comes together!” But, so many times, our plans fall apart. We try diligently to orchestrate events and manage details; but something unforeseen gets in the way, and our project doesn’t turn out as we intended. That never happens to God. His plans always proceed exactly on schedule and precisely how He formulated them. God is infinite, sovereign, omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful) and immutable (unchanging). He plans and no one can reverse it and He never operates by trial and error, for whatever He does is perfect, whether it is in His creation of the universe and of the earth and all life, or of His operation in the affairs of man, “As for God, His way is blameless (perfect)…” (Psa. 18:30). To the prophet Isaiah, God said: “Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?…I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God…The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity. I am the LORD who does all these…It is I who made the earth and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and ordained all their host…For I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure; Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country; Truly I have spoken, truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isa. 43:13; 45:5,7,12; 46:9b-11).
The Psalmist, in acknowledging God’s sovereignty in the affairs of man, wrote: “The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation…Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Psa. 33:10,11; 135:6).
What an encouragement to know that God, being immutable, will never change His plans, whether for His chosen people, the Jews, or for us who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. “For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession (special treasure)” (Psa. 135:4). God has special plans for the nation of Israel which are mentioned throughout Scripture. One day Christ will establish the kingdom He promised them as He, the “Greater David,” returns to earth to reign for 1,000 years of peace and justice on earth. There have been times in Israel’s history when it seemed that God’s “plans” for Israel had been messed up or changed, but that can’t and won’t happen. For example, after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, the Jews were questioning God’s plans for them (wouldn’t you?). God, speaking through Jeremiah, the prophet, reassured them: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). Today, that little country, the size of a postage stamp, still exists against seemingly overwhelming odds as most of her neighbors have vowed to wipe her off the map and anti-semitism continues to increase world-wide. But, nothing will change or thwart God’s plans. “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Ro. 11:29). One day, probably soon, “all Israel will be saved,” for “…what God has promised, He is able also to perform” (Ro. 11:26; 4:21).
And, praise the Lord, as members of the Bride of Christ, the Church, the same is true for us. God’s plans to return for His Bride to “catch us away” to heaven have not changed. Among Jesus’ final words to His disciples in the upper room were these: “I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am you may be also” (Jn. 14:3b). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice…” ( I Pet. 1:3-6a).
Amen and Amen! In this we greatly rejoice! Thank you, LORD, that Your plans for us won’t change and you won’t change your mind about us. Teach us, LORD, to treat all that comes to us with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In unforeseen events let us not forget that all are sent by You.
Forever His, Pastor Dave