Pro 19:19 A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.When I read these three verses, what struck me was the contrast here between things that are temporary, and things that are eternal. Let me explain . . .
Pro 19:20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Pro 19:21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
First, a man of great wrath --- how many people have you known that have a prodigious (I love big words....you've probably noticed that) temper, but that seem to cool down just as fast as the fireworks started? Their fury is only temporary; they apologize, kiss and make up, and all is well. Except, of course, for the hurt feelings that they may have caused, but hopefully they live with sweet, forgiving family, and the temporary hurricane is abated.
Second, Solomon tells us to "hear counsel" . . . listen and receive (pay attention to) instruction, and then increase in wisdom. Many times our chances to hear counsel are limited. Kind of a "opportunity knocking" situation, and if you don't pay attention quickly, your chance to get that instruction has slipped by like a canoe traversing the rapids. Another example of how temporary things can be in this mortal life. You might wish that you could "go back and do it again" but that just isn't how it works!
Ah, but here we come to the third verse in our trio --- this takes our other verses and makes beautiful harmony. The counsel of God is eternal; Solomon is exulting here in the power of our God, and saying His counsel is forever!
Okay, let's straighten out something here. In verse 20, "counsel" meant advice, opinion, or instruction. What's different about "counsel" in verse 21? In verse 21, we are looking at another meaning of that root --- plan or purpose. How do I know? Well, in the first part of the verse, the devices (schemes and plans) of men are mentioned, and they can be one of these:
a. against God's counsel
b. without God's counsel
c. unlike God's counsel
The plans of men can be against God's counsel when they directly oppose God. (When you get a chance, check out Psalm 2:1-3 for this kind of plan.) Their plans can be without God's counsel when they devise schemes without regard to His will or providence (see James 4:13 for this one). And lastly, their plans can be unlike God's counsel when they are unjust or unwise --- God is wise and holy, unwavering and faithful.
Now, where does that leave us? Well, mortal (there's that idea of temporary again) men can have various plans and designs, but the counsel (plan, purpose) of the Lord --- that shall stand, no matter what becomes of the devices of men. Our omnipotent God can change men's plans and baffle their devices, but their devices cannot alter his counsel -- cannot disturb it's progress -- cannot force him into new plans.
Check out this verse in Isaiah:
The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. (Isaiah 14:24)And this one, also in Isaiah:
. . . yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:11)How comforting it is, to realize that God's counsel (His advice, His plans, and His purposes) are right, and good, and shall all be accomplished in His timing! That is an eternal promise from our eternal Lord!