If You Want to Make God Laugh
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 NLT
“If you want to make God laugh,” so goes a meme, “make plans!” And what is the real message—that you should never try to plan anything? No, but rather, when God is left out of your plan, your game plan may never happen. There is a proverb which says, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall” (Proverbs 16:33 NLT).
Whether you climb a mountain, traverse an ocean, build a house or a high-rise building, run in the Olympics, or attempt to plant a garden—or for that matter, do about anything—there are scores of factors over which you have little, if any, control. Like what? Like the economy, the weather, the availability of goods and services, the flow of electrical current that can wipe out machinery, the capriciousness of trade and surpluses, and a host of other things. The reality is, there are a lot of factors which we take for granted over which we have very little control. Does this mean that we should sit on our hands, waiting for God to make things to happen? Not unless you are expecting a new outpouring of Manna from heaven. God honors planning and hard work, but what makes God laugh is the presumption that men and women often have which ignores Him entirely.
Take, for example, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, one of the most powerful men who ever lived, who was the dread and fear of all the earth. He’s the one Daniel tells about whose heart was filled with pride, and God finally said, “Enough!” His mind snapped and he “ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes,” so wrote Daniel (see Daniel 5:21).
A generation ago, Christians often signed their letters using two Latin words, Deo Volente, which means, “God willing.” They recognized that God—not chance or fate—is the final arbiter of what happens to us in life.
Presumption is a sin which God detests. Want to make God laugh? Then make plans and leave Him out of your plans. Apparently this is not simply a problem which we who are living in the twenty-first century struggle with. It’s an old one. James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote about this very situation when he penned the letter which bears his name--which, incidentally, was probably the first New Testament book. He wrote to Jewish Christians—probably merchants—and said, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).
How could it be any plainer?
Presumption was the sin which Jesus condemned when He told the story of the merchant who boasted, “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones.” “A fool,” is the way Jesus described him, using a rather strong word.
A closing thought. There is a very “up” side to what may appear to be a “down-issue.” It’s this. When you make plans which you feel are within the scope and purpose of what God wills, and you ask Him to guide and bless your efforts, you can then trust that He will give you His best. Well does Proverbs 16:3 say, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Then it is we who will laugh with joy.
Resource reading: Proverbs 16