At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
“Every purpose is established by counsel: And with good advice make war”Proverbs 20:18
There is a common assumption about that spontaneity represents that which is genuine and sincere, while planning something out beforehand is somehow artificial and contrived. This comes out frequently in discussions about devotion or worship, where a planned liturgy is assumed to be something that will quench the Spirit.
In contrast to this, our proverb says that good counsel is the foundation upon which every purpose is to be established. And the proverb goes on to emphasize the same thing again if the enterprise is one of great important . . . like a war. You should not find yourself in a war because one of your high-ranking officials lost his temper. Neither should you find yourself in a war ill-prepared because of some impetuous action by the enemy. Planning, foresight, preparation, and thoughtfulness are all to be commended.
A 19th century Prussian general once observed that no plan survives first contact with the enemy. From this, some might conclude that plans are worthless. Why plan and prepare if all of that goes up the chute as soon as you begin to execute it?
The paradox was highlighted by Dwight Eisenhower, who once said that “plans were useless, but planning is indispensable.” The person who plans, provided he does so in wisdom, is more likely to be adaptable than the person who didn’t think about anything beforehand and was caught flatfooted. This means when that first contact with the enemy occurs, one of the features of the wise planning would include the necessity of adapting to the new circumstances.
If a man is wise and has a sincere heart, there is no downside if he thinks through what he is going to do beforehand. While it remains true that man proposes and God disposes, the man who proposes wisely is aware of this. His plans have budgeted for that possibility. He does not say that he is going to go this town or that one and make a pile of money. He rather says. “If the Lord wills . . .” (Jas. 4:15).