Toil and labour in vain is, of all follies, the greatest folly;—like the Jews under Julian, building of their temple in the day, God casting it to the ground in the night. When a man labours, toils, wearies and spends himself for the accomplishing of that which shall never come to pass, and that which, if he would but inquire, he might know shall never come to pass, he cannot well want the livery of a brutish man. How many poor creatures that think themselves wiser than those of Teman, and Dedan, and all the children of the east, do spend and consume their days and time in such ways as this, labouring night and day to set up what God will pull down, and what he hath said shall fall! “Come on, let us deal wisely,” saith Pharaoh to his Egyptians, Exod. 1:10, to root out and destroy these Israelites. Poor fool! is there any wisdom or counsel against the Most High? I could give instances plenty in these days of men labouring in the dark, not knowing what they are doing, endeavouring with all their strength to accomplish that whereof the Lord hath said, “It shall not prosper;” and all because they discern not the season.
– John Owen –
from a sermon entitled The Shaking and Translating of Heaven and Earth, volume 8 of Works, pages 272-273