Free Bible Study Magazine
This article by Wesley Chick was originally printed in Living Word magazine September 2011.
The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings. King Solomon, in his life time, is said to have quoted three thousand proverbs, although only nine hundred of them are recorded in this book. The other proverbs are by different people, some who are named and others anonymous. The word proverb means “a description by way of comparison.” One purpose of this book is to give the reader skillful and Godly wisdom, it’s a practical book and it bases wisdom solidly on the reverential fear of the Lord. Many of the proverbs are optimistic because God is in control. Because of this, the reader is assured that he will reap what he has sown. God cannot be left out of the picture. Each proverb has two parts, the first, called in Hebrew, the Mashal. The second, called the Nimshal. For example:- Prov.1v7; The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom(mashal); but fools despise wisdom and instruction(nimshal). So with this in mind, let’s take a look at Prov.19v21; Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lords purpose for him that will stand. The Bible tells us that God has a plan for the salvation of mankind and that he formed this plan before the foundation of the world. This plan has been revealed over many centuries through the scriptures. For example: Gen.3v15; And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; and it shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. De.18v15; The Lord your God will raise up unto you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, like unto me; unto him shall you listen. Ps.132v11; The Lord has sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. Is.7v14; Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive and bare a son and shall call his name Immanuel.
Is.49v6; And he said, it is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give you for a light to the Gentiles, that you might be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Mi.5v2; But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth has been from of old, from everlasting. Ze.9v9 Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion; shout, o daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your king comes unto you; he is just and having salvation; lowly and riding on an ass and on a colt the foal of an ass. God has demonstrated how His plans stand firm, even when men make their plans against Him, for all the promises which He has made in the scriptures were completely fulfilled by the coming of Christ. Matt.1v21; And she shall bring forth a son and you shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. But whilst God plans are for man’s benefit, man’s plans have always been against God. Man prefers to go his own way and do his own thing, thinking he knows better than God. We read in the book of Genesis that after the flood, God told the people to be fruitful and multiply and to move around and populate the earth. Then over time they rebelled against God and we read in chapter eleven that the people moved to a place called Shinar and settled there. We read “And they said come, let us build us a city and a tower whose top reaches to the heavens; and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4). Then God came down to see what was going on and he confused their language and scattered them all over the earth. So with all their plans and schemes against God, he had the last word! Then turning to the New Testament, we read in Luke 12 that Jesus told the parable of the rich land owner. He had just had a bumper harvest and his barns were already quite full. So after thinking about this, he decided to have his barns pulled down and to build even larger ones where he could store his bumper harvest. Then he planned to put his feet up and take it easy, living off the profits of his vast stores of fruit and grain, eating, drinking and making merry. Then we read in verse twenty “But God said to him. You fool! This very night your soul will be required of you; and all the things you have prepared, whose will they be? Again, the rich man had his plans, but God had the last word. In James chapter four, we read there of a presumptuous business man, planning with his colleagues, that they go to a certain city, spend a year there doing their business and hopefully make loads of money. But in verse fourteen, we read “Yet you do not know the least thing about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are really but a wisp of vapor, a mist that is visible for a little while and then disappears into thin air. So we see that people, companies and even governments, may make their plans but its God who has the last word. Consider these scriptures: Ps.33v10+11; The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to naught. He makes the thoughts and plans of the people of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of his heart through all generations. Prov.16v1; The plans of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the wise answer of the tongue. Prov.16v9; A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. So what about us, is it alright to make our plans? Of course it is, especially in the days we live, when the pace of life is so hectic, we need to plan for tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. The difference is, that the world out there, make their plans with no thought of God in mind. Whereas the Christian makes his or her plans involving God in them. James 4v15; You ought instead to say, if the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that thing. Of one thing we can be sure: God is guiding our lives and directing our plans, and in all things is working for our good. Psalm 37v23; The steps of a good man are directed and established by the Lord when he delights in his way. We worry for we do not know the plans of the Lord in advance, but we can be assured that he is fully acquainted with his own plan for our lives. Jer.29v11+12; For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon me and you will come and pray to me and I will hear and heed you. So the next time we plan anything and it doesn’t work out as we thought, instead of getting up tight or anxious or even a little angry, remember that God, in his wisdom, knows best and has a better plan for us. As the chorus of the hymn says: Stay still, stay still, God is silently planning for thee. Stay still, stay still, He plans for eternity.