Isaiah 22:16, 17
What have you here? and whom have you here, that you have hewed you out a sepulcher here, as he that hews him out a sepulcher on high…
The answering New Testament case to this is our Lord's account of the prosperous farmer, who had no room to bestow his fruits and his goods. He said to himself, "I will pull down my barns and build greater." But God said, "Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee." In the passage before us, Shebna, in the full 'assurance that he will die quietly, and be buried honorably in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, proposes to build a tomb or sepulcher for himself. It would be one of the rock-hewn sepulchers on the slopes of the hills surrounding the holy city. The aristocratic families had their private sepulchers, but this Shebna was a new man, not belonging to any of the ancient families, so he had to begin a sepulcher as one part of his ambition to found a family. God's plan for him was quite different to his plan for himself. He was to be carried away into captivity, and the fair creation of his energies would fall into ruins. "Man proposes, God disposes."
I. MEN OUGHT TO MAKE PLANS. The Bible never opposes foresight, practical wisdom, reasonable ambitions, taking life with a strong hand, or the statesmanlike sagacity, that estimates public movements and prepares for inevitable changes, life man's ship is expected to drift anyhow; the man's hand must be always at the helm, and the man must know for what port he sails.
II. MEN TOO OFTEN MAKE PLANS IN A SPIRIT OF SELF-RELIANCE. As the Apostle James (James 4:13-15) puts it, men say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there, and trade, and get gain." The mistake lies in that will. "Whatever happens, I will." "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare."
III. MEN SHOULD MAKE PLANS IN THE SPIRIT OF DEPENDENCE ON GOD; and with due reference of every case to him. As James says (James 4:15), "For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this, or that." Man's will sometimes is strong, and carries him over and through great difficulties; but God is ever stronger than he, and grasps him with effectual restraints. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?