The counsel of the heathen to naught - This appears to be similar to what is mentioned in the second Psalm; the useless attempts of the Gentiles to prevent the extension of the kingdom of Christ in the earth: and it may refer to similar attempts of ungodly nations or men to prevent the promulgation of the Gospel, and the universal dissemination of truth in the world.
The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought - Margin: “maketh frustrate.” The Hebrew word means to “break,” or to “annul.” The word here rendered “heathen” means “nations;” and the idea is that God, by his own overruling purpose and providence, frustrates the designs of the nations of the earth; that he carries forward his own designs and purposes in spite of theirs; that their plans avail nothing when they come in competition with his. their purposes must yield to His purpose. Compare Isaiah 8:9-10, note; Isaiah 19:3, note. All the plans and purposes of the nations of the earth that conflict with the purposes of God will be vain; all those plans, whatever they may be, will be made subservient under His providence to the promotion of His great designs.
He maketh the devices of the people of none effect - That is, He renders them vain, unsuccessful, ineffectual. The word “people” here is synonymous with “nations,” and the idea is, that whatever may be the thoughts and purposes of human beings, if they are opposed to the plans of God, or if they do not tend to promote His glory, they will be rendered futile or vain. God is a great and glorious Sovereign over all, and He will make everything subordinate to the promotion of His own great designs.
In the professedly Christian world many turn away from the plain teachings of the Bible and build up a creed from human speculations and pleasing fables, and they point to their tower as a way to climb up to heaven. Men hang with admiration upon the lips of eloquence while it teaches that the transgressor shall not die, that salvation may be secured without obedience to the law of God. If the professed followers of Christ would accept God's standard, it would bring them into unity; but so long as human wisdom is exalted above His Holy Word, there will be divisions and dissension. The existing confusion of conflicting creeds and sects is fitly represented by the term “Babylon,” which prophecy (Revelation 14:8; 18:2) applies to the world-loving churches of the last days. PP 124.1
Many seek to make a heaven for themselves by obtaining riches and power. They “speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily” (Psalm 73:8), trampling upon human rights and disregarding divine authority. The proud may be for a time in great power, and may see success in all that they undertake; but in the end they will find only disappointment and wretchedness. PP 124.2
The time of God's investigation is at hand. The Most High will come down to see that which the children of men have builded. His sovereign power will be revealed; the works of human pride will be laid low. “The Lord looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of His habitation He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.” “The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: He maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.” Psalm 33:13, 14, 10, 11. PP 124.3Read in context »