Bible Study

The Folly of Making Timetables

Michael Beck

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)

timetable – a plan of times at which events are scheduled to take place

What causes us to make timetables?

All creation groans in pain, waiting for a better day ahead.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:22)

All men desire a “night” full of sorrow to end and a “morning” filled with joy to begin.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

The longer men wait for a desire to be realized, the more heartsick they become.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)

deferred > delayed, postponed

Sorrow of heart prompts men to consider when things may change.

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? (Psalm 13:2)

Not knowing if and when his desires will come causes man misery.

Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. (Ecclesiastes 8:6)

purpose > Hebrew – chephets > desire, pleasure, delight

Men become so anxious for a change for the better that they devise TIMETABLES for things to happen.

And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. (Jeremiah 28:11)

Man has difficulty knowing what shall be, let alone when it shall be.

For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? (Ecclesiastes 8:7)

Since we can’t know with certainty what will happen the next day, it is foolish to predict beyond that.

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)

Even when we make plans for today or tomorrow, we are to hold them loosely and always be open to the Lord’s redirection.

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. (James 4:13-16)

Although we can plan for what we hope to do, where we hope to go, and when we hope to get there, the Lord may have other plans for us.

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

All our boasting of what will happen is vain if the Lord is not in it.

Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? (Lamentations 3:37)

Pride causes us to to make plans without considering what God wants.

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. (plans, purposes) (Psalm 10:4)

A fool maps out his future without regard for God’s will.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:16-20)

What we plan for ourselves and God’s plans for us are often “miles apart.”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9)

thoughts > purpose, plan

While many plans may form in our heart; ultimately, only what God has purposed will stand.

There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. (Proverbs 19:21)

Plans made against God’s TIMING and JUDGMENT will meet with bitter failure and disappointment.

There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. (Proverbs 21:30)

A wise man discerns God’s timing and judgment in all things.

A wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. (Ecclesiastes 8:5)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.