Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 27:1-29:23 / 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 / Psalm 119:25-32
The best plans of man don’t always succeed…our own personal experiences and historical examples prove that point. George Custer was famous for leading the US cavalry into a disastrous defeat to a coalition of Native American Indians at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. That battle has come to be popularly known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”
Custer graduated last in his class at West Point but when the Civil War broke out, all potential officers were needed. Custer was called to serve with the Union Army and he established a reputation as an aggressive cavalry commander who was willing to take personal risks. After the Civil War, he was appointed a general in the US 7th Cavalry Regiment and fought in the Indian wars. Historians are divided in asserting blame for Custer’s defeat but there is strong support that Custer’s plan was doomed to fail.
We live in a world today that scrutinizes the plans of politicians, employers, athletic coaches and those in all levels of leadership. Our own lives suffer from the consequences of misguided and foolish plans. But even the most perfect and wisest of plans go awry. We often are given over to despondency and question the surety or success of any plan in life.
Israel found the plans of a secured promised land were dashed when they were exiled to Babylon. False prophets repeatedly told them they would not be subject to bondage; they thought God had failed. God reminded them through Jeremiah, “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
It is difficult to believe in something that you cannot see and even harder to believe in something when you experience the direct opposite. It was difficult for Israel to believe God’s plans of a prosperous, safe and hopeful future after losing all of their prosperity and freedom when they were taken captive by Babylon. God’s promised plan fell short of their experience. In reality, God’s plan didn’t fail, Israel failed.
Israel went to Babylon as prisoners because they were guilty of idolatry. They refused to walk in the ways of God and that resulted in God’s judgment. In spite of their pain and suffering, God remained faithful to His divine plan and worked His perfect will in their lives. After 70 years, they returned to the Promised Land changed…never resorting to the sin of idolatry again.
We need not question or doubt the plans of God for our lives. They may seem mysterious but He has a divine purpose. At times we need correction and God takes us through times of testing but He is ever faithful. Don’t give up on God…His best thoughts and plans are not memories of our past but hopes and plans for our future!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!