21 ¶ There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
Devices are plans and methods for carrying out those plans as far as I can tell by the sixteen or so verses in which the word is used. One we are all familiar with is about Satan.
2Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
There are many plans in a person’s heart. But we know the state of even the best of human hearts.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
We make plans even good plans for our lives. Each day is filled with where we must go and what we want to do. Young people think of what plans they have for their own lives. Our culture teaches that you are the “captain of your fate” and the “master of your destiny”. Movies and books, philosophers and pundits all pretend to teach you self actualization and how to be successful in whatever definition of success they believe in. However, none of that is true. You can choose who you will follow; the God of the Bible or yourself, as in your SELF, perhaps through some other god or goddess, a political ideal, an economic ideal, or a philosophy, or perhaps some charismatic person but everything else flows from that choice. And you make that choice every day in almost every decision.
It is said that Christianity was the first religion without sacred spaces. There is no temple but the body of the Christian and the church and the house of God are references to the corporate collection of individual believers, as is the term, the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23 ;1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 12:7). They are never a building or an organization; but an organism, the living body of Christ on earth with the head in heaven, not in Rome or some city in the southern United States or London, England. There is no altar or throne of stone or wood for the Christian but there is an altar and a throne, figuratively speaking, in his heart. Who is on the throne of your heart; yourself or Jesus Christ?
You have many plans and ideas, many devices, but none of your devices shall stand. Only what God has planned shall stand. Many is the person, I suspect, when looking back on their life, if it has been good, will declare that it happened just the way they planned it and extol their own virtue, will, planning, or determination. But, that is like a dishonest historian who reads a meaning back into history that he wants it to have to make his hypothesis appear correct.
Now to the verse. God’s counsel is true and sure and He also has the advantages of having all power over events and all knowledge of events before they happen. You choose who you will follow and you pursue a life of trying to please them, to uplift them, to glorify them. If you choose the God of the Bible your plans will stand for eternity. If you choose Self your plans will fail or die with you.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
God’s counsel for your life, Christian, is found within the pages of this Book. There is virtually no subject that it doesn’t touch with regard to your moral life and God’s will. What is important is spoken of here and what is not here is irrelevant. Those people who don’t believe the Lord Jesus Christ will walk around in circles and say millions of words on subjects which, in the end, they know nothing about in regard to counseling you on everything from your career path to how to be a parent. Even those who say they have trusted Christ, who is the physical manifestation of God Almighty, don’t want to take His counsel found in the pages of this Bible. Many of them still seek out the world’s “experts” to guide them in life.
Speaking to those who believe this Book, I say, read it daily, understand it as to whom it is being written to and what is it saying, and for those verses that don’t specifically apply to you as a 21st century Christian, try to see how they can be applied without undermining anything else God has said in the part of the Book written directly to you. Beware of teachers who say “it’s all the same”. These people force God’s words to contradict themselves, which they don’t in truth. The organization of the Bible is not rocket science. It’s very simple. There is half of human history in Genesis. There is the Law given to Moses for the Hebrews. There is the history of Israel before and after they rejected God as their king and the actions of the kings, good or bad, who followed. There are books of wisdom and instruction, warning and counsel. Then, the prophets chronicle their struggles and obedience to warn the Jews about their errors and to reveal details about the first coming of the Messiah (Christ) and the second. The four viewpoints of Christ’s life and mission on earth follow, a history of the earliest church, and then instruction for Christians, a transition into the time of Jacob’s trouble for the Jews, the Great Tribulation, and then finally the end of history in Revelation.
God’s counsel will stand. It’s forever settled.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Remember, that anything can apply directly to you that doesn’t contradict the doctrine laid out for Christians in all the books that start with the name Paul. It is in those books you find your marching orders for today. Read them and obey. Within those Books there is a further division. Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, and Galatians are arguments; against phariseeism and the worship of rules and outward signs as proof of your devotion to Christ. These books also deal with carnal Christians and Christians who want some kind of personal power they can display to others in a smug self satisfaction, plus those who try to push the Christian back under the Law given to Moses and those who don’t regard any order at all. After them, the "charismatic" signs of the apostles aren't mentioned. The apostolic age of Christianity is over.
Then, you come to Ephesians through Philemon, with books written to Christians in general and then those to Pastors in particular. Read the whole counsel of God, every book of the Bible, for God’s instruction, but determine with the Holy Spirit’s guidance what applies directly to you and how you can apply what doesn’t in a practical manner. Don’t twist or take out of context in order to subdue others, to lie, cheat, or manipulate. Always be conscious of whether or not your interpretation serves Christ or Self. Be aware of not blaming Satan for your wickedness. Satan is not equal to God. He can do nothing to you without God’s permission. Satan wants to destroy your testimony and rob you of your joy but you must give in to him in order for that to work. He’s more powerful than you but he’s much weaker than the God who created you both.
In the Tribulation the Jewish believers in Christ are comforted;
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Applying this to yourself in this time does no violence to the Bible’s clear meaning.
And they are told;
1John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Again, another verse that doesn’t contradict anything in the doctrine given to Christians.
“The devil made me do it” is not an excuse for you. If you were following the God of the Bible by hearing Him speak to you through His word and desiring with all your heart to obey you would have victory over Satan. Don’t let wicked preachers make you feel helpless. Follow Christ and ask Him to rebuke Satan and his devils. (You’re not binding or rebuking anyone in the spiritual world so get over that foolish challenge to Satan’s power. Trust God to do that. Jude 8 ¶ Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.)
Finally, remember that God’s counsel will stand while your “inner voice” and the counsel of men will fail.
Psalm 33:10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Pray for guidance from God and seek out men and women of God who love His words.
1Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.