Plans of God, the Devil, and Man

Study Topics

Plans

Essential Organizing

In the last study topic, we read about inspired conclusions, verses that contain a prophetic statement beginning with something like “and thus we see.” One of those verses stood out to me as very interesting.

In Alma 28:13 we read:

“And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.”

This was enlightening. The devil’s power comes about by a knowledge that he has of our weakness, and the plans he has to ensnare our hearts and set them on the path of evil.

To see a scriptural example of this, lets look at what Alma wrote concerning Zeezrom’s plans to ensnare him and Amulek.

In Alma 12:

  1. And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out—
  2. Now this was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee. Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all.
  3. And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity.
  4. Now when Alma had spoken these words, Zeezrom began to tremble more exceedingly, for he was convinced more and more of the power of God; and he was also convinced that Alma and Amulek had a knowledge of him, for he was convinced that they knew the thoughts and intents of his heart; for power was given unto them that they might know of these things according to the spirit of prophecy.

This is a clear example of the devil exercising his power through one of his followers. Zeezrom is setting traps to destroy the servants of God and to further twist the minds of the people to be more receptive to Satan. Only the power of God with his servants can cut through the lies and expose them and even in this case, cause Zeezrom to question his own beliefs and begin the process of conversion.

The Screwtape Letters: Exposing Satan’s Plans

These verses remind me of the classic work of C.S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters.” In that book, a senior demon named Screwtape, writes to his nephew, a novice demon named Wormwood, on how to guide his mortal “patient” into the realms below. This satirical approach is not only humorous, but extremely insightful and illustrates individual plans the devil has for guiding mortals into greater depths of evil behavior.

Is there a mortal with an addiction to pornography? Here’s the plans to use. Someone with a chip on their shoulder? Here’s the pride plan to make it bigger. Each chapter (or letter) is an examination of how the devil operates to enlarge the wound and bring the mortal into subjection. Wonderful insight.

If you enjoy audio, the best rendition of this book I’ve heard is read by British comedian John Cleese, but unfortunately that’s out of “print” and I don’t see where to link to it for you to purchase. However, you can probably find it with a web search…

God’s Plans

God also has plans. The one we hear about most is the great plan of salvation. This is the all encompassing plan that incorporates many smaller plans.

There are three types of plans mentions in the scriptures. God has plans, the devil has plans, and man makes plans. The great difference here is God’s plans always come about. They are never frustrated.

Abraham 3:17 “…and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.”

The Devil and Man’s plans

The devil’s plans overall are frustrated, though individually he may have much success in persuading man to follow him.

Man’s plans…well…the agency of man allows people to create and carry out any number of plans for good or evil. Some succeed, many don’t. When man aligns his will to God’s will and acts in faith, great things can be brought about by small and simple actions.

Planning the Study Topic

In this study topic, we’re going to examine these plans.

Some of you might wonder about the process I use in searching the scriptures for verses to study so I thought I’d make a quick video illustrating two ways to search the scriptures for the relevant words of this study topic if you want to watch. Otherwise proceed below…

To get started on your study topic, as you saw in the video, do a search for one of these phrases:

plan* -plant* -plank* -plane*
plan or plans or planned

Each of those searches will results in 57 results.

As you go down through the verses, in your master note, I would organize it into at least 3 sections. You may choose to do a different setup but I did 4 because there are a number of verses on secret combinations and their plans.

God’s Plans

Devil’s Plans

Secret Combinations

Other Plans

In each I put names of their plans (for God’s and the devil’s), requirements and objectives of the plan, what they do, etc… These are just short summary statements I got from the verses, along with a reference back to the verse so I could locate it easier.

I title my note “Plans in Scripture” and tag it “Plans”. I also added this line at the top to remind myself where I got started.

Contents: searched plan, plans, planned, and then read all of 2 Nephi 9.

plans in scripture

While studying these verses, I realized that 2 Nephi 9 is an excellent resource on God’s and the devil’s plans. You can gain a lot of insight in this chapter. When you ask questions like, “What is the devil’s plan? What is he trying to get us to do?” you will see some things open up to you on his tactics (plans).

1) So, if it wasn’t obvious, get started on this topic with a review of the verses from your search, and then read 2 Nephi 9.

2) You may notice additional things you want to study. For example, if you do this search, you may find a couple more verses you want to add to the topic.

subtl*

The verse in the Doctrine and Covenants is clearly talking about the plans of man. Click next on the Moses 4:5 reference, and you’ll find Satan’s goal was the overthrow of God’s plan for the world.

3) Look over your notes. Can you identify things that teach something about the planning process?

Please share something below that you learned from this topic.

(Blog image from Kheng Ho Toh @ 123rf.com)

Plans of God, the Devil, and Man
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God, family, country, scriptures, soccer, Sanderson, disc golf, dessert, development. These are a few of my favorite things. :) - Oak Norton

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