The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nothing: he makes the devices of the people of none effect.…
The wicked meet with a large measure of success in this world. Their success, however, does little for them after all. It does not put them in possession of solid and lasting happiness, and this may be said to be their highest aim. Their power, moreover, IS very limited at the best, and in all directions, and they are not longer lived than others. God has absolute power over them. He has so arranged, and so administers affairs, that we may describe them as circum-hedged. Neither singly nor collectively can creatures carry anything against the Divine will or power. "Counsel" or purpose may be defined — a decision or determination of the will; and purposes may be divided into good, bad, and indifferent. Practically, they may be so divided; and it is almost unnecessary to remark that good purposes never conflict with the purposes of God. He approves of them, and is on the side of all good purposes. It is bad purposes of which God disapproves, and in proportion to their inherent badness; but the badness of a purpose, let it be distinctly noted, is no proof that it clashes with the purposes of God. If it were, it would follow that not one bad purpose formed by man had ever been or could be executed; but what is the fact? Countless millions of bad purposes have been successfully carried out, and are being carried out every day all over the world. Baffled they frequently are, but by no means always. Indeed, if we had our way, they would be baffled a great deal oftener; but God's thoughts and ways are not as our thoughts and ways. They are high above ours as heaven is above the earth. A young man, let us suppose, makes up his mind to rob his employer, and it is not long till the sinful purpose is put into execution. Query — What was God's relation to the purpose? With the utmost ease God could have deprived him of the opportunity and the power to rob his employer. What God purposed was that, while disapproving of the purpose to rob, He would per[nit the execution of it, or not interfere by the exercise of His omnipotence to hinder its execution. Whenever the purpose of God crosses the line of human purposes, be they the purposes of one person, or any number of persons in combination, it presents an insuperable barrier — a barrier which can neither be swept away nor overleapt. As well may we essay to pluck a star from the firmament or dry up the bed of the sea, as essay to frustrate or modify or delay the fulfilment of the Divine purposes, for they are the purposes of a Being whose knowledge and power are absolute, and who can take these words into His mouth, "I am the Lord, I change not."
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.