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Waiting and Planning provides 8 principles from Isaiah 29-32 on how to make good plans that resolve the tension between self-reliance and trusting God.
There is a tension between taking control and letting God care for things. Some would say that unless we take control, we are not putting to use our good resources. On the other side, we have those who insist that we need to actively wait for God to work. We suggest that there is no need to discard one view to gain the other.
The two thoughts can be nicely weaved together. Waiting on God is the building material of good plans. The passages on planning through Isaiah 29-32 will give us at least 8 principles in making good plans that will help resolve this tension.
Making Plans the Wrong Ways
Making Plans the Right Ways
Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, "Who sees us?" or "Who knows us?" (Isaiah 29:15).
"Who knows us?"
You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made should say to its maker, "He did not make me"; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? (Isaiah 29:16).
"Woe to the rebellious children," declares the LORD, "Who execute a plan, but not Mine, And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, In order to add sin to sin; Who proceed down to Egypt, Without consulting Me, To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh, And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! (Isaiah 30:1,2).
Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. (Isaiah 30.18-19). And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21).
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD! Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, And does not retract His words, But will arise against the house of evildoers, And against the help of the workers of iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, And their horses are flesh and not spirit; So the LORD will stretch out His hand, And he who helps will stumble And he who is helped will fall, And all of them will come to an end together. (Isaiah 31:1-3).
Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected, O sons of Israel. For in that day every man will cast away his silver idols and his gold idols, which your hands have made as a sin. And the Assyrian will fall by a sword not of man, And a sword not of man will devour him. So he will not escape the sword, And his young men will become forced laborers. "And his rock will pass away because of panic, And his princes will be terrified at the standard," Declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 31.6-9).
No longer will the fool be called noble, Or the rogue be spoken of as generous. For a fool speaks nonsense, And his heart inclines toward wickedness, To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the LORD, To keep the hungry person unsatisfied And to withhold drink from the thirsty. (Isaiah 32.5-6).
But the noble man devises noble plans; And by noble plans he stands. (Isaiah 32.8).
The problem in a society full of resources is that we can easily operate without waiting upon God. Just think about credit for an example. If a person wants money or a machine, he just goes and get it even if he doesn't have the money. $30/month for three years the ad goes. Because he is so accustomed to borrowing, he overrides God's means of using resources to guide him.
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But our problem has escalated by all sorts of personnel, governmental, charitable and other resources. They are not necessarily bad in themselves, but they can in many cases be received in spite of God's help. Man can raise money for all sorts of odd things in today's world! This is true in the church too. Good programs have substituted God's people waiting upon God. They work. They use proven methods.
And so seminaries have trained men to depend on these proven or 'scientific' means to preach, raise money, counsel or even evangelize. As they see it works,theywe become self-confident and then influence other people to trust that method.
The 'God' factor is virtually eliminated. We need to be very careful not to fall into this snare. It can happen to churches, Christian organizations or in the lives of individuals. God wants people to pray and wait upon Him. If they don't, they forget Him and certainly will minimize His ways.
Life without God is secularism. We can understand secularism within the society overall but when it is in the church, it is outright scary! But this is where the Western church is as a whole. As affluence and knowledge has become readily available, man basically thinks he can do anything that he desires.
He is right to a degree, of course. With the resources that the Lord has given to him, man can do a lot. The church can do a lot, but it will not be done to God's glory.
There have been a few good strands of faith passed along in the church, but they are much too small and far too few. A key area that the church has become worldly is in the handling of finances. Just think how common it is today for a church to get a mortgage.
God's people for the most part do not even know what the scripture teaches about covetousness and owing others, but even when they do, most play it down. Church loans are man's means of arranging financingforof his own projects. I have known of several church building projects. Each time there has been great turmoil and divisions. Only when the people are led together in faith, are they joined together in this kind of project.
Path of Spiritual Decline
In Christian living, we try hard to please the Lord. We end up falling into some regular sin such as gazing at pornography, indulging our appetites, birth control or being worried. We change the standard to accommodate our abilities. We then set goals that we can reach. We are proud of the things we have accomplished.
As a result of this, we hear catch phrases that seem to justify our sins. "Everyone does it." "What is wrong with that?!" Instead of scrutinizing the scriptures for standards as the Bereans, we just go full steam ahead in our self-confidence.
Behind all of this is our desire to live in a world in which we can control things. The world does this because they don't believe there is anything else to trust in or live for. The church does it because of that reason as well as because of imitation. They don't know anything better.
The church might seek for power, but it is not in godly living. Godly living, however, is what enables us to draw close to the Lord. Godly people live by God's standards in God's power for God's glory. They are preoccupied with God and His purposes and ways rather than man's.
"May those who wait for Thee not be ashamed through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; May those who seek Thee not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel" (Psalm 69:6 ).
We have forgotten what it means to wait upon God. Those that wait upon God hold to His standards. They know that they can not accomplish what God wants without God's extraordinary grace. Because of this, they seek His face. They confess their sins. They call upon the Name of the Lord. Worldliness has a specific term right now called pragmatism. We need to repent from this and wait upon God!