Proverbs 16-18 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps

From Proverbs 16-18

20 Solomon ProverbsProverbs says a bit about God’s plans for our life. Nothing to detailed mind you. Only that he is in control and everything works to his purpose and will. Why fight it? Entrust your future to him. Jesus did.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Most of the proverbs are a random repetition. Occasionally however there are clusters with recognisable patterns. Today’s set of proverbs include a few about guidance.

16 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.

3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. (Pr 16.1-3)

In the first proverb the author intends to contrast ways in which people speak. Men make plans and create arguments. Persuasion is from the LORD and he will change peoples minds if that is his will.

Lots of people may think of themselves as pure.

Many justify their actions and refuse to think of them as sin.

Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. Either way its the LORD who looks into a mans heart and spirit (cf. 1 Cor 4.4).

Its easy to go our own way and not bring the LORD into it. Stop and pray. Commit yourself to God in all you do.

4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,

and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil. (Pr 16.4-6)

The LORD is sovereign. He controls everything. Every thought and deed is his design and works towards his purpose. Yes, that includes the sin of the wicked and the outcome of their way of life. They will be judged. Hardened like Pharaoh to glorify the LORD (cf. Rom 9.17-22).

Its easy to despise people who are arrogant.

Be warned you are not arrogant yourself.

Everyone like this will be punished. This proverb leads into the next. For those who want to repent the LORD forgives his covenant people who turn to him in repentance and forgiveness.

7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Pr 16.7-8)

The LORD can be pleased by the way his people behave. He makes use of their righteous and good behaviour to put people at ease. Even those who would normally despise them.

Living the way God wants is good for maintaining a clear conscience.

Better to struggle to make ends meet than feel guilty for robbing or oppressing someone.

9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Pr 16.9)

God is in control. Plan as we may. God is in control. Commit yourself to him and acknowledge he has planned your whole life. Trust he works for good for those who love him (cf. Rom 8.28).

10 An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment. (Pr 16.10)

The king’s words have, in people’s minds, the certainty and importance of a Divine oracle, putting an end to all controversy or division of opinion. (Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Proverbs (p. 311). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.)

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Scripture bears witness to God’s promises of guidance for his people. All God’s intentions will be realised. Israel’s prophets knew God has his purposes (Isa 14.27; 55.10-11; Jer 23.20) and plans (Lam 2.17; Isa 14.24; 25.1; 37.26).

25 O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. (Isa 25.1)

26 “ ‘Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins, (Isa 37.26)

God worked out his purposes with Babylon and Israel (Isa 46.10-11; 48.14; Jer 29.10-11). God promised several times to guide Israel and Judah (Ex 15.13; 32.34; Isa 30.21; 49.10; 58.11).

11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (Isa 58.11)

The LORD has a plan for your life.

Story of Jesus

The same can be said for Jesus. After Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ. Jesus then announced his father’s plans for him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mk 8:31)

He knew of the plans of His father. He knew what they meant. He committed himself to his fathers will. Peter later understood preaching the same in his gospel.

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22–24)

Even in the dark times. Entrust your future to the LORD.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.