The counsel of the LORD stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Let us make some remarks.
I. UPON THE DIVINE COUNSELS GENERALLY. There are such, and they show —
1. That God concerns Himself with our world.
2. They are of deliberation and wise purpose. Of the works of God in the material world we may indeed say, "In wisdom hast Thou made them all." How vast and orderly is the frame of the world! But in Nature, wonderful as are these operations, there is nothing to resist, to repel, to dispute. All are His servants, and every thing fulfils His word. He saith to one, Go, and it goeth; to another, Come, and it cometh. But in His moral kingdom we see a world in rebellion. There is not a principle naturally in our hearts, but it is a rebel principle also. Every affection, every will, is ready to start up in defiance, wrestling with His authority, and pursuing a course contrary to His commands. If His government were one of rigid justice only, there would be no difficulty here. But judgment is "His strange work," and mercy the delight of His administration. The counsel, in this case, is to make good triumph over evil, and evil itself the occasion of good. How adorable is that wisdom which, influenced by goodness, wins back a rebellious heart to love and obedience without violence to its freedom! which makes our very "wickedness to correct us, and our backslidings to reprove us!" and which, finally, although by the mysterious permission of evil, sin hath abounded, yet makes grace much more abound; so that, "as sin hath reigned unto death, even so doth grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord!" Well may we say, with St. Paul, when one branch of this great subject was before him, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"
3. They are supreme and uncontrollable. This it is which gives to good men so entire and joyful a confidence: "There is no wisdom, nor under. standing, nor counsel against the Lord."
II. But our text calls us to consider THE STABILITY OF THE DIVINE COUNSELS. "They shall stand for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." We may illustrate this —
1. By ancient instances of the fulfilment of delayed purposes. See the birth of Isaac, long promised, given at last. The promised seed of the woman — how long before that appeared.
2. The steadfastness of His holy law. He never swerves from it. Go to the right hand or to the left, and you fall not only into a sin, but into a peril or a misery. Other maxims deceive: His never.
3. The constant connection of painful fear and misery with sin.
4. The established order of human salvation. I see man in all ages a sinner and miserable. But there is hope for him. He was forgiven, and assured, and became both a justified and a holy man. Ages have since elapsed, but every pardoned and accepted sinner has been saved in the same way.
Parallel VersesKJV: The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.