The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

As Robert Burns was plowing his field, his plow turned up a field mouse from its home. One of his hired hands chased after the mouse to kill it, but Burns the poet had another idea. He later showed the poem to his servant the last few lines of which are these:

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects drear!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

“To a Mouse” by Robert Burns

Amaziah in 2 Chronicles 25, had his best-laid plans, but the plow of God’s sovereignty turned them out. Notably, Amaziah hardly counseled God regarding his forthcoming invasion. He also failed to apply the wisdom of his grandfather, Jehoshaphat, regarding alliances with Israel. A prophet stops Amaziah’s march to war and boldly instructs him to send the Israelite mercenaries home. Amaziah’s question is much the same as our personal rebuttals to God’s course changes. “And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel” (2 Chronicles 25:9)? There are so many holes in the question. The prophet could easily see them. His response could have been quite parental. “Well, you should have thought about it before you did it. I guess you’ll learn a lesson, won’t you?”What is wonderful about God and His message is the overwhelming grace. The simple answer was, “The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.” Burns blesses the mouse in his poem because it only knows the moment. “The present only touches you,” he said, but we can look back “on prospects drear” or forward and “guess and fear.” However, we are more blessed than the mouse, for the Lord has said, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). Your best-laid plans often do go awry but remember his way is perfect (Psalm 18:30). No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom (Luke 9:62). Let God have His way with you.

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