The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ecclesiastes | 7 Comments
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John Steinbeck’s famous novel, Of Mice and Men, takes its title from a line in a poem by Robert Burns. The idea is: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” King Solomon (centuries before either Burns or Steinbeck) considered this idea, as well. However, Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was well aware that most of the plans in a fallen world are evil plans.

But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

Ecclesiastes 8:13

Some of the most influential people in our world today are extremely wicked. They have “big ideas” and “big plans,” but these men, despite their influence, are actually very small men, and their ideas are of little consequence, compared to God’s plans. As one wise preacher said, “A sure sign that the sun is setting is that small men cast long shadows.”

Some of our biggest ideas and cleverest inventions are badly misused. We have the internet – and it is mostly used for trivial or wicked things. We have television, but most of what we watch is vain entertainment. We have the ability to store vast amounts of music on small disks or devices, but most popular songs are completely foolish. We carry cell phones with us everywhere, but too much of our communication amounts to gossip.

As finite creatures we are not able to grasp the comprehensiveness or the beauty of God’s plans. Christians want to know God – even to know the mind of God – but the mysteries of God keep us from making one of the mistakes of Adam and Eve.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:17 (emphasis added)

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:5-6

We need to remember that God wants us to be wise, but we also need to remember that true wisdom comes from Him, and we can never be wiser than Him.

This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:3

Death is the “last enemy” from the perspective of “under the sun,” but one day Christ Jesus will put all things under His feet.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

I Corinthians 15:25-26

In Ecclesiastes Chapter 9, we get some advice on marriage:

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:9

Solomon spoke these words from experience. He had he turned away from God’s plan for marriage and turned to idolatry. Marriage is a gift from God. I Peter 3:7 calls a husband and wife joint heirs of grace.

For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

We all make our plans, but ultimately what matters most is our part in God’s grand plan.

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