Archive for November 29, 2010
Have you ever had a plan go south on you in a hurry? When I was in college, I was in charge of planning the Christmas service for our campus chapel. The plans did not come together as I expected. Right before the service, my choir director fell ill and was not able to lead the choir. My instrumentalists also did not rehearse as they should have. In fact, there was one instrumentalist who still stands out in my mind to this day.
One of the carols I had planned for the service was “Joy to the World.” Because this is such a boisterous song, I decided to incorporate some cymbal crashes into the arrangement. The difficulty was, the only pair of cymbals our college had were monstrous. Even a gentle crash of the cymbals easily filled the chapel. My cymbal player, however, did not know this. Thus, the beloved lyric, “And heaven and nature sing,” was answered by the biggest, baddest, moist boisterous cymbal crash I have ever heard. In fact, it wasn’t just a crash, it was a smash! The whole congregation jumped. And the joy of the song was replaced by snickers at the surprise.
Sometimes, our plans go south in a hurry. For our planning is never airtight and mistake-proof. The unexpected can smash even our best-laid plans.
This weekend in worship and ABC, we kicked off a new series for Advent titled, “Hello! My Name Is…” In this series, we are taking a look at the names for Jesus as they are famously given to us in Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This past weekend, we talked about what it means for Jesus to be our “Wonderful Counselor.”
In Hebrew, the word for “Counselor” is ya’as. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, this word is translated as boule. Notably, boule is often translated as the word “plan.” A couple examples will suffice:
- “If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39)
- When God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His plan, He guaranteed it with an oath. (Hebrews 6:17)
In the first example, the Pharisee Gamaliel notes that though man’s plans eventually fail, God’s plans always endure and stand. The Psalmist explains it this way: “The LORD brings the plans of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The plan of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11). Thus, what God plans to do, He always accomplishes, even when His plan includes the death of His one and only Son, as Peter attests to in his Pentecost sermon: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:22-23). It was God’s plan to kill His Son for the forgiveness of our sins all along. And God’s plan prevails.
God’s plan prevails. This is great comfort as we trust Christ, our Wonderful Counselor. For our Counselor’s plans are sure and good. After all, He has had our salvation planned from the very foundation of the world (cf. Matthew 25:34) and His plan came to pass with the cross. Thus, we can always trust His counsel because we know that it is part of His plan. And whereas our plans can fail, falter, and wind up in disaster, God’s plan remains, is resolved, and winds up in glory. Trust in the plan, found in God’s Word, of your Wonderful Counselor!
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