Human plans and God’s plans

Human plans are not God’s plans.

Whilst God created human beings in His own image, there came a point, as depicted in the the story of Adam and Eve, where human beings broke away from God’s plans. They decided that they knew best, that they would live their way.

God has spent the rest of human history reaching out in love to humanity with His ways and plans.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.’  Jeremiah 29:11-14

In the book of Micah, God reaches out to His people through His prophet Micah. In Micah 2, the prophet highlights the distinction between God’s plans and human plans.

There are those humans who lie in bed and plan to do evil. They find ways to justify what they’re doing because it serves their own ends. And when they get up in the morning, they have the power to act and so they do. They oppress the poor. They’re dishonest in their dealing with others. They use their power to exploit the weak. They take what doesn’t belong to them. No one stops them because they’re rich and powerful and educated and know all the right people.

This is not a thing of the past. This is happening time and time and time again in our world right now. I’m sure you were picturing a current scene in your mind as you were reading this. I was thinking about the destruction of rainforest habitats – both animal and human – to create land and crops to rear cows to make into burgers. The people who plan this go to bed at night and get up in the morning just like the rest of us.

But in Micah, the prophet warns that this human behaviour cannot go on forever. That acting like God will come to an end.

Therefore, the Lord says:

‘I am planning disaster against this people,
from which you cannot save yourselves.
You will no longer walk proudly,
for it will be a time of calamity.’  Micah 2:3

To those who have lost sight of who God is, God will reveal Himself.

To those who have lost sight of what God can do, God will bring disaster.

And there will be those – there will always be those – who tell the people not to heed these warnings. To ignore what Micah is saying and carry on regardless. Of course, this is what everyone wants to hear so it won’t take much to persuade them. These people are called false prophets.

‘Do not prophesy,’ their prophets say.
‘Do not prophesy about these things;
disgrace will not overtake us.’  Micah 2:6

These people point to God’s love and mercy and patience and assure the people that God would never do such a thing. But God despises the message of these people masquerading as His messengers.

If a liar and deceiver comes and says,
“I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,”
that would be just the prophet for this people!  Micah 2:11

The problem is that God’s people have taken being God’s people for granted. They’ve gone too far. They’ve stolen from others without thinking twice. They’ve ignored the needs of the vulnerable in society – in this case, the women and children. They have defiled the Promised Land by following their own ways and not God’s.

And there will be consequences.

And yet immediately after this message, there is a glimpse of light. Deliverance is promised. A remnant of God’s people will be spared. God will never abandon them. That was never part of His plan. He will be their shepherd.

I will bring them together like sheep in a sheepfold,
like a flock in its pasture. Micah 2:12

Micah talks of a time when God will break open the way before them. He will lead them out of their captivity. He will lead them out to freedom.

God’s plans for all humanity have not changed.

Plans to prosper and not harm.

Plans to give us a hope and a future.

Yes, there’ll be ups and downs along the way – consequences to face, times when we lose sight of who God is and what He can do and we need to be reminded, situations in which we feel trapped with no escape.

But God will never abandon us. He will be our shepherd. Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, because God is there, right beside me. His presence will comfort me. He will lead the way. He will show me the safe path to take. He will light my path through the darkness.

Unlike human plans, God’s plans are perfect.

Thank God for that.

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