Tag Archives: making plans

Isaiah 59:1-10

Scripture: from verse 6

Their webs will not serve as clothing…

Observation:  Humans are just spectacular at producing things that aren’t as useful or as important as we think they are, aren’t we?  Admittedly in this case I think the webs are meant to ensnare others rather than clothe the person spinning them, but it doesn’t sound like that will work out very well either.

Sometimes I get discouraged and impatient, feeling that I need to be doing something to make things happen, not just waiting for God to tell me what to do.  And then I get reminded that we’re terrible at doing things.  I could spin all sorts of webs for all sorts of purposes, but I wouldn’t accomplish anything besides making myself dizzy.  Much better (though not easier) to wait for the true path.

Application: Talk to God.  Every day.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you because you are able to provide real covering and real food.  Thank you for being my hiding place.  Help me to trust you.  Amen.

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Isaiah 50

Scripture: verses 10 and 11

Let him who walks in darkness and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.

Observation:  I was praying with my someone this weekend, and we came to the conclusion that we had created a false yardstick by which to measure ourselves, and we needed to lay it down.  I commented that humans like to think we are good at measuring, but we never take into account the nonlinearity of everything.

We have this notion that we can help ourselves. We think that we can strive towards our goals and measure our own progress and accomplish things and that will please God.  The problem is that we are uniquely bad at measuring things, and our whole purpose is to build castles in the air (whether they are art or stories or songs or logic or discoveries or engineered structures) that reflect God’s glory.  We have inverted our purpose.

And when things look difficult, we rush around in circles, determined to fix the problem ourselves.  But we can’t even see the whole problem – not properly – and we can’t fix it.  That’s not our purpose.  Our purpose is to trust in the name of the Lord.

Application:  What problems are you determined to fix?  Are you lighting your own torches when you should be praying for light?

Prayer:  Father of lights, I praise you because you will always have a way out of the darkness.  I praise you because you have a plan and a purpose for every darkness that I go through.  Thank you for walking with me.  Help me to rely on your light.  Help me to value my castles in the air the way you do.  Amen.

Isaiah 30:1-13

Scripture: from verse 1

The rebellious children…make plans, but the plans are not Mine.

Observation:  The more fool them.  Jeremiah 29 says that God has plans for us and that His plans are for good, to give us a future and a hope.  The problem with making our own plans is that they are much less likely to lead to a future and a hope.

It isn’t impossible, of course, since there are infinite plans to be made and infinite futures to reach.  But life is a chaotic system, and the more we ignore the elements of God’s plan, the less likely our plan is to work out well.  Astonishingly enough, we aren’t as good at planning as He is.

The plans God was speaking of involved alliance (very expensive alliance) with Egypt, which had wealth and power and might and wasn’t actually willing or able to do much in the way of supporting Israel.  We have a bad habit of running around trying to find people who can help us (or who we think we can manipulate into helping us) when God has help already planned out.

In Israel’s case, if they turned back to God He’d stop sending the attacks and troubles that they needed help with in the first place.  God can address the root of our problems when we can’t even see it.  We treat the symptoms, but usually only God can go in and cure the disease.

Application:  Make His plans yours, instead of the other way around.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you because you can see all the strands of time.  You are the only one who can reliably chart a course through life.  Thank you for planning a good future for me.  Help me to follow your plan instead of my own.  Amen.

Isaiah 10:1-17

Scripture: from verses 6 and 7

I am sending [Assyria] against a hypocritical nation,
ordering him to march against a people who enrage me…
That is not what Assyria intends…
they mean to destroy nation after nation.

Observation:  Israel was proud and corrupt, so God was sending the Assyrians to attack them and destroy much of their wealth.  Assyria, however, thought they were using their own power and planned to conquer all of the known world.

Humans are constantly trying to get more control over our lives.  We try to control ourselves and our bodies, we try to control the people around us, we try to control our circumstances.  None of it works terribly well.

We make decisions and form plans and take action, but the results are rarely what we predict they will be.  The possibilities that we choose from are limited by our data.  There’s always one variable we had failed to consider (or never knew about).  The future is a chaotic system, and there is no was to predict it.  We have far less agency than we realize.

At the age of sixteen, Hero knew that he would grow up to marry me and work in computer hardware design and live in our area.  So he went to college for computer hardware design and kept dating me and here we are, ten years later.

But for most of us, life isn’t that simple.  Our colleges and our jobs and our homes and our families are influenced by hundreds of tiny decisions and thousands of factors and influences and variables.  We may think we chose our school or our career, but in reality it was heavily influenced by chance.

But God controls chance.  God knows how the thousands of influences will converge.

So we have a choice.  We can keep pretending we know what we’re doing, keep assuming that every trend we see now will continue forever.  Or we can let God do what He does best: teach us the truth.

Application:  Talk to God before making plans.  He’s better at it.

Prayer:  Yeshua, thank you for having a plan for me.  I praise you, because you understand how the world works, and how every piece of it interacts with every other piece.  Help me to know when I think I know more than I do.  Amen.