We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.                                                                                                   Proverbs 16:1-3 NLT

As we look at the year ahead, it is perfectly normal to make plans. In fact, the Bible tells us to do so, and we are condemned if we do not do so. But here is the issue: whose plans? If we do not take account of the fact that there is a great Transcendent Person upon whose existence the whole universe depends, we will certainly plan wrongly. We will plan as though the future were ours to shape for our benefit alone.

That is what the Assyrians had done as they crashed their way across the ancient Near East. But Yahweh said it was not Assyria’s plans, but his that would shape Assyria’s future (Isa 14:24-27). In the same way, the wise men of Egypt, that Grand Dame of ancient cultures, thought that they could plot out their nation’s direction. But, in fact, they knew nothing of Yahweh’s purposes for Egypt (Isa 19:12), and being ignorant of that, there plans were chaff.

So, should we just sit on our hands and see how the Father unfolds things? Oh no. Here is the beauty of the relationship God has planned for us. He wants us to take responsibility and to act responsibly, but always with him and his purposes in view. We must also be aware of his infinite creativity and his capacity to shape things differently as new circumstances arise. General Dwight Eisenhower is supposed to have said, “You must plan, but you must also remember that as soon as the battle starts, all your plans are out the window.”

So, yes, let’s plan, but let our plans reflect God’s great purposes for our lives. Plan to serve him, to please him, to grow more into his likeness, and then, as those plans unfold, let’s keep our eyes on him for all the ways he will reshape and redefine our plans in wonderful ways we could never have imagined in advance. Happy New Year!

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