“Man proposes, God disposes”

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

2 Samuel 17:14(NIV)
Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Arkite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.

2 Samuel 17:14 (MSG)
Absalom and all his company agreed that the counsel of Hushai the Arkite was better than the counsel of Ahithophel. (God had determined to discredit the counsel of Ahithophel so as to bring ruin on Absalom.)
“Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than that of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had ordained to thwart the good advice of Ahithophel, so that the Lord could bring disaster upon Absalom.” -AMPLIFIED

Today we will look at the fact that man may make his plans, but ultimately God controls the outcome. We will see the effects of God’s Divine Providence with Absalom. In fact,God blinded Absalom’s mind and influenced his heart. So much so, that Absalom did not feel confident in accepting Ahithophel’s counsel,but instead sought out Hushai’s advice and choose to follow it. In doing so, Absalom brought about his own downfall.

Solomon wrote these words of wisdom that we can learn much from today as we study His-story (God’s story). Solomon said, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” -Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
(The Living Bible actually paraphrases this verse as follows, “Man proposes, but God disposes.”)

We find in 2 Samuel 17, Ahithophel giving Absalom some sound advise. He said to Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men, and tonight we will pursue David while he is weak and weary. We’ll throw him into a panic; then all of the people will run away from him, come back to you, and be safe. I will strike down the king. If we take only the life of this one man here—your father—then everyone else can return to you.” -2 Samuel 17:1-3 (VOICE)

This advice sounded good to Absalom and his commanders, but he choose to seek out further recommendation and counsel from Hushai. This was by no means an accident. Remember, man may plan, but ultimately God’s purpose’s will prevail!

Absalom called in Hushai the Archite to see what he thought should be done. Hushai advised Absalom, “I don’t think the advice from Ahithophel is good this time, and I’ll tell you why: You know that your father and his men are hardened soldiers. Right now they’re angry, like a bear that’s been robbed of her cubs in the field. Also your father is such a wise warrior that he’ll know he’s our target. He won’t sleep in the same camp with his people. He’s probably hidden in a cave or some other hole where he will be hard to find. When our troops start dying in the first attack, everyone will say, “Absalom’s men are being slaughtered.” Then even the courageous warriors, the ones with the courage of lions, will disintegrate in fear. Everyone in Israel knows that your father is a true warrior, and those with him are hardened veterans. No, my counsel is to take your time. Gather the people of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, so that you have a large army, like the grains of sand on the beach, and lead them into battle yourself. Wherever David is, we will fall on him like the dew on the ground. We’ll kill him and all who defend him. No one will remain. And if he slips into a fortified city, we’ll have so many men of Israel that we could lasso that city and pull it down into the valley, so that not even a stone would be left in place.” -2 Samuel 17:7-13 (VOICE)

Guess what? After hearing Hushai’s advice, “Absalom and his counselors decided that Hushai’s plan was better than Ahithophel’s, not knowing that the Eternal One had determined to thwart Ahithophel’s good advice and bring about Absalom’s destruction.” -2 Samuel 17:14 (VOICE)

All of this is a reminder to us that, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9 (KJV)

It was Thomas a Kempis who wrote these words, “Man proposes, but God disposes”. It is a quote from his devotional “Of the Imitation of Christ”. The complete quote is as follows, “For the resolutions of the just depend rather on the grace of God than on their own wisdom; and in Him they always put their trust, whatever they take in hand. For man proposes, but God disposes; neither is the way of man in his own hands.”

People may make plans, but they cannot control the outcome of their plans; God determines how things will turn out. James, the brother of Jesus, also cautions us us about thinking that we have the ultimate control of what happens in our lives. James says, “Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.” The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another. It would be best to say, “If it is the Lord’s will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream.” But your current speech indicates an arrogance that does not acknowledge the One who controls the universe, and this kind of big talking is the epitome of evil. So if you know the right way to live and ignore it, it is sin—plain and simple.”-James 4:13-17 (VOICE)

In the next few days we will look at how God ultimately had control of what was happening with Absalom, David, Ahithophel, Hushai and their choices. Suffice it to say, God is in control; we are not. We need to do our best to remember that fact; as well as trust that He has our best interests at heart.

My Prayer:
Lord, I realize that too often I rush ahead, making plans that are not necessarily in your will and plan. Forgive me, please. Help me to seek your face and your counsel first; not as an afterthought. You are in complete control of this great, big world and universe. Nothing ever happens that surprises you; which is something that I need to remember. Help me, Lord, to trust that you will work all things out for my good. I want to trust you more. Help me I pray.


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