Planing is one of the most important thing we need to have in our lives. We should not head for anything without a proper planning. If we look around our neighbourhood were we live, we can see the houses, roads, gas-line, water supply are all done with precise planning. When a new community is built the construction workers don’t build houses in random anywhere they like but they make a proper plan before they build to make sure things will be all right not only for then but looking upto at least a 100 years after construction. A proper planning thus saves a huge sum of money, energy and time. It is the same with our lives. If we plan things wisely ahead of time and do things accordingly we can be successful in life.
But living according to the plan is really hard. At times unexpected things will come in and demolish all our plans. Therefore it always good to have a ‘Plan B‘ in hand.
We can find many kinds of plans. Short term plans which can be for an hour, a day or a week to longer plans from few months to years, planning we do for ourselves, government planning for the benefit of its citizens etc. the bigger the plan more time energy and money are invested. Therefore we need to be extremely careful in planning bigger things.
Planning is a big thing and can talk many more about it, however the topic for today is about changing plans! What do you mean by changing plans? Well above I mentioned about different sorts of plans. When we plan something we obviously look for our own benefits. We hardly consider the consequence or the impact of our plans on other people. For example if the government plans to build a nuclear reactor plant next to your neighbourhood what will be your state of impact? Your life is on threat as if something goes wrong with the nuclear plant it will be catastrophe. Therefore we need to be careful while planning not to make others suffer due to our planning.
There are instances we can see in Bible where God’s people under went deep troubles as a result of plans made by enemies to destroy them. The enemies had carefully planned plots to kill them. But when God’s servants called unto God for help, God spoke to the authorities and changed the rules they issued as a result of enemies plans. Thus God is a God who is able to change the plans in such a way that plans that made for your destruction are converted for your blessings!
When we read 1 Samuel chapters 15 to 18 we see an incident were King David’s son Prince Absalom making movements to overtake King David and become King. And in fact he succeed in doing it. To his support we see Absalom asking the help of King David’s minister Ahithophel. Ahithophel was considered a noble and wise man.
‘Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.’ (2 Samuel 16:23 NIV).
This verse clearly says the importantance of Minister Ahithophel. When King David came to know Ahithophel is with Absalom he prayed to God- ‘Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “ Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”’ (2 Samuel 15:31 NIV). When King David heard Prince Absalom proclaimed himself as king, he and his servants had to run away for their lives. That’s when king David heard about Ahithophel and he did this prayer and the next verse we see God made one of King David’s faithful servant Hushai to appear in front of him- ‘When David arrived at the summit, where people used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite was there to meet him, his robe torn and dust on his head. David said to him, “If you go with me, you will be a burden to me. But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘Your Majesty, I will be your servant; I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I will be your servant,’ then you can help me by frustrating Ahithophel’s advice.’ (2 Samuel 15:32-34 NIV).
And we see in chapter 17 Absalom ask Ahithophel for advise and he suggests a fool proof plan to catch King David and people with him.
‘Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David. I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee. I would strike down only the king and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed.” This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel.’ (2 Samuel 17:1-4 NIV)
But God made Absalom to ask advise to Hushai on Ahithophel’s plan and Hushai spy of King David to save him gave another advise-
‘But Absalom said, “Summon also Hushai the Arkite, so we can hear what he has to say as well.” When Hushai came to him, Absalom said, “Ahithophel has given this advice. Should we do what he says? If not, give us your opinion.” Hushai replied to Absalom, “The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time. You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops. Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first, whoever hears about it will say, ‘There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.’ Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave. “So I advise you: Let all Israel, from Dan to Beersheba—as numerous as the sand on the seashore—be gathered to you, with you yourself leading them into battle. Then we will attack him wherever he may be found, and we will fall on him as dew settles on the ground. Neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we will drag it down to the valley until not so much as a pebble is left.”’ (2 Samuel 17:5-13 NIV)
And Absalom and all his people to thought Hushai’s plan a better plan to Ahithophel. Because God who heard King David’s cry wanted to act upon his prayer!
‘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 NIV)
What happened as a result of this was Ahithophel when he saw his wise error proof plan was not put in action, he couldn’t take the disgrace and he hung himself and died!
‘When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.’ (2 Samuel 17:23 NIV)
Not only that in chapter 18 we see Prince Absalom discarding Ahithophel’s counsel and taking Hushai’s advise was brutally murdered! A perfect punishment from God for his actions against his father.
‘Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. When one of the men saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.”(2 Samuel 18:9-10 NIV)
‘Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.’ (2 Samuel 18:14-15 NIV)
See King David who was a great servant of God was threatened by his own son and Prince Absalom almost won in doing it, but when King David cried to God we see God changed over the plans and made things in such a way that those who rose against him were destroyed instead of him!
Again coming in the book of Esther we see another incident were another minister named Haman trying to take revenge on a poor man Mordecai who was the gate keeper of the palace of King Xerxes. Mordecai didn’t bow before Haman as other people did and this made Haman to be jealous upon Mordecai and planned out a plan to irradiate not only Mordecai but the whole tribe of Jews!
‘Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.” So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.” Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day. The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.’ (Esther 3:8-15 NIV)
The king who considered Haman faithful approved his plan and issued the order to kill all Jews without understanding Haman’s intentions. Mordecai, Esther the queen and all Jews became sad and cried out to God and took a fast by not eating or drinking for 3 days and nights.
‘he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.’ (Esther 4:13-17 NIV)
But when we come to chapter 7 we see God who is above all man and who has control on everything changes everything reveal the true nature of Haman to King through Queen Esther.
‘Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king. ” King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?” Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen.’ (Esther 7:3-6 NIV)
The King got very angry and upset. Then a servant informed king about the pole of 50 cubits height made in Haman’s house to impale Mordecai to take his revenge and the King commanded to hang Haman on the pole instead of Mordecai!
‘Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.” The king said, “Impale him on it!” So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.’ (Esther 7:9-10 NIV)
Not only that Mordecai was no longer a gate keeper but he was lifted above Haman’s position for he was considered more faithful to king and a new rule was issued to protect all the Jews!
‘The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies‘ (Esther 8:11 NIV)
See how great God is! When Esther, Mordecai and the rest of Jews called out to God, he answered in the midst of their trouble and made Haman’s plan to go in vain and God made Haman and his 10 children to be hung on the same pole what Haman made for Mordecai and Mordecai was lifted the most respectable man in the entire kingdom! What an amazing God!
There are many more incidents in Bible were God deliver His people in the midst of troubles by overturning all the plans of the enemies to blessings. I would like to summarise by giving one more account.
Daniel was a noble man and he was a Great man of God. He was blessed with great knowledge and wisdom and he advised the king in ruling the kingdom. The king made him the next important person after king.
Naturally Daniel had enemies for they didn’t like Daniel put in such high position. They observed on Daniel for very long time to accuse him on any matter but Daniel was flawless. Then they saw Daniel prayed to God three times a day and they made a plan to trap Daniel by making it a rule that everyone should worship king as God and anyone who worship any other God to be fed for hungry lions. King was pleased on this and without further thinking issued the rule. But Daniel didn’t worship God but he prayed and worshiped God three times a day as how he did every other day.
‘Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.’ (Daniel 6:10 NIV)
The conspirators went and informed king about Daniel. Daniel was a great friend to king and the king was sad to punish Daniel but the jealous people pushed the King to throw Daniel in Lion’s Den. At last with no other option King ordered to throw Daniel in lion’s den. But since Daniel stood for God, God shut the mouth of the lions. Daniel rested comfortably in the Lion’s den were as the king couldn’t sleep the whole night thinking on Daniel. The next day while it was still early King came sadly and called Daniel to see if he’s alive and to his surprise Daniel answered king and told him God shut the mouth of lions and they did not do any harm to him. King ordered to bring Daniel out of den and ordered the conspirators and their families to be thrown in the den. As they were thrown before they hit the bottom the lions tore them apart! Not only that the King destroyed the rule made to worship him and reissued a new rule Daniel’s God is the only Living God and everyone should worship Daniel’s God!
‘When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.’ (Daniel 6:14-28 NIV)
See what an amazing God we serve! God shut the mouth of lion to protect his servant Daniel and proved He’s the living God!
The same God is still living and is able to deliverer you out of any sort of trouble you are in. Let anyone conspire against you and make plans against you to destroy you but if you trust and serve God in true heart by obeying His commands and leading holy life, He is right beside you to deliver you from the hands of those who want to take over you by changing their plans In such a way that it will favour you and lift you higher and more respectable than your position before.
‘Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.‘ (Psalm 147:5 NIV)
‘Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.’ (Psalm 40:5 NIV)
‘No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.’ (Jeremiah 10:6 NIV)
‘For this is what the Lord Almighty says: for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye‘ (Zechariah 2:8 NIV)
‘See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?‘ (Isaiah 40:10-14 NIV)
‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.‘ (Isaiah 40:21-31 NIV)