On the political left and the political right we have theories about conspiracies in history. We’ve had the Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission, we’ve had McCarthyism, and we’ve had an alleged “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.” In fact, almost no major public event occurs without some immediate postulation of a conspiracy.

The Bible tells of various conspiracies: Joseph’s brothers, “And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him” (Gen. 37:18). Saul believed there was a conspiracy against him: “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse…” (1 Sam. 22:13). There were conspirators against David:  “Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!” (2 Sam. 15:31). There was a conspiracy to prevent the rebuilding of the wall at Jerusalem:  “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, 8 and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion” (Neh. 4:7-8).

There was a conspiracy to do away with Paul:  “And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 Now there were more than forty who had formed this conspiracy” (Acts 23:12-13). No doubt, some of these (and other) conspiracy theories are true, or contain some elements of truth. Once we buy into a conspiracy theory everything becomes evidence of the conspiracy, even the lack of evidence can be proof. Certainly, people have in the past, and do now continue to conspire in many and various ways.

Nevertheless, the conspiracies of men, real or imagined, are vain. “A man’s heart plans his way: but the LORD directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9). “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). God says: “Vengeance Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them” (Deut. 32:35).