Proverbs 16

Proverbs 16

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16   The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the LORD weighs the spirit.
  Commit your work to the LORD,
    and your plans will be established.
  The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.
  Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.
  By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
    and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
  When a man’s ways please the LORD,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
  Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.
  The heart of man plans his way,
    but the LORD establishes his steps.
  An oracle is on the lips of a king;
    his mouth does not sin in judgment.
  A just balance and scales are the LORD’s;
    all the weights in the bag are his work.
  It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
    for the throne is established by righteousness.
  Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
    and he loves him who speaks what is right.
  A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
    and a wise man will appease it.
  In the light of a king’s face there is life,
    and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
  How much better to get wisdom than gold!
    To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
  The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
    whoever guards his way preserves his life.
  Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.
  It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
    than to divide the spoil with the proud.
  Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
    and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
  The wise of heart is called discerning,
    and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
  Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it,
    but the instruction of fools is folly.
  The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
    and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
  Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
    sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
  There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.
  A worker’s appetite works for him;
    his mouth urges him on.
  A worthless man plots evil,
    and his speech is like a scorching fire.
  A dishonest man spreads strife,
    and a whisperer separates close friends.
  A man of violence entices his neighbor
    and leads him in a way that is not good.
  Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things;
    he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.
  Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained in a righteous life.
  Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
  The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the LORD.


Proverbs 16 Commentary

by Hank Workman

It’s the silent growing cancer.  Usually unrecognizable within, pride destroys relationships, trust, marriages, churches, and families.  It is the whisper that says, “I am right. I won’t apologize.  My opinion and way is best.”  The growing disease affects everything of the one so filled with it.

The wake behind a proud person is sheer devastation.  They’ve made decisions that affected relationships never to be repaired because they will not acknowledge their fault.  They’ve reveled in their wisdom on some matter as their unteachable spirit has consequently alienated them from others.  The proud insanely look down upon others, refuse to honor leadership in their lives and consequently are very lonely alienated people.  For many, they still don’t see the effects of their pride even though it affects them personally.

God does not look favorably upon one filled with pride.

“Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:5

More to the point, because God loves His people, He will take whatever course necessary to bring the proud down to the place of humility.  It is not because He’s cruel but because He loves.  He desires greatly for the proud of heart to be open and teachable and mirror the life and way of Jesus.  Because of this for many people, destruction or being brought low is the only way they will be reached.

“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”

Proverbs 16:18

There are two thoughts to consider.  First, is this an issue for you?  Ask the Lord to reveal if this cancer is growing inside.  Ask for Him to show you where pride has taken the throne of your own mind and heart.  Assess your current relationships and see if you are the issue of the division and brokenness that is present.  Own up and ask Him to rid you of this disease.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

Psalm 139:23-24

The second is to take this matter to prayer for those in your life who are proud.  Ask for the Lord to wrestle them to the ground, to bring these matters before them in ways they cannot escape.  Plead with Him to do whatever it takes to bring them toward a humility in Christ and in turn wholeness and restoration in the relationships they’ve destroyed to be rebuilt.

Our motive in such prayers is not in cruelty but that of love.

Proverbs 16 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 HCSB 

This passage hit me so hard. The heart of man is always up to something. We like things our way. We want things simple and easy to follow. We are used to getting a menu to choose from, and a prospectus to plan into the future. We love control, and we hate to listen to someone else’s plan for our lives. Detours hijack our day and ruin our plans.

What has history taught us both nationally and individually? Leaders plan, but God controls the path. Armies go to battle, but God decides the victor. Man can rant and rave, scheme and manipulate, but God will give or take away as He sees fit.

“Man meditates and prepares his plans with the utmost solicitude, hut it rests with God whether he shall carry them to completion or not, and whether, if they are to be accomplished, it be done with ease or with painful labour.”

Pulpit Commentary

So, what does this really mean? Jeremiah offers an insightful response.

“I know, LORD, that a man’s way of life is not his own; no one who walks determines his own steps.  24  Discipline me, LORD, but with justice— not in Your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing.”

Jeremiah 10:23-24 HCSB 

Here we learn that it is possible to face God’s anger by planning our ways but refusing to accept His direction. As we plan, we remember that God’s ways are so much higher than our ways. We understand that His discipline will keep us on the straight and narrow. We acknowledge that His wisdom and justice go far beyond our comprehension.

There are several types of planning. Stubborn, foolish planning does not consider the ways of God. It does not submit to His ways. That kind of planning is foolish. It is impatient and self-centered. God desires for His “planners” to possess humility and teachability. Just as Jeremiah writes, we must yearn for God’s careful, loving discipline.

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