Pearls From Proverbs – Chapter Sixteen
We will now look at Proverbs chapter sixteen:
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
1 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. Proverbs 16:1 (NASB)
This verse can be understood to mean that the final outcome of the plans we make is in God's hands. If this is so, why make plans? In doing God's will, there must be partnership between our efforts and God's control. He wants us to use our minds, to seek the advice of others, and to plan. Nevertheless, the results are up to Him. Planning, then, helps us act God's way. As you live for Him, ask for guidance as you plan, and then act on your plan as you trust in Him. The life of a Christian is a process of learning to conform to God’s plans.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the Lord weighs the motives. Proverbs 16:2 (NASB)
People can rationalize anything if they have no standards for judging right and wrong. We can always justify that we are right. But before putting any plan into action we should ask ourselves these three questions:
(1) Is this plan in harmony with God's word?
(2) Is my attitude pleasing in God’s sight?
(3) Am I sure God is leading me to do this?
3 Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 (NASB)
There are different ways to fail to commit whatever we do to the Lord:
(1) Some people commit their work only superficially. They say the project is being done for the Lord, but in reality they are doing it for themselves.
(2) Others give God temporary control of their interests, only to take control back the moment things stop going the way they expect.
(3) Still others commit a task fully to the Lord but put forth no effort themselves, and then they wonder why they do not succeed.
We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on him, while working as if everything depended on us. Think of a specific effort in which you are involved right now. Have you committed it to the Lord?
4 The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. Proverbs 16:4 (NASB)
This verse doesn't mean that God created some people to be wicked – but rather that God can use even the activities of wicked people for His good purposes (Gen 50:20). God is infinite and we are finite. No matter how great our intellects, we will never be able to understand God completely. But we can accept by faith that He is all-powerful, all-loving, and perfectly good. We can believe that He is not the cause of evil and we can trust that there are no loose ends in His judgment. Evil is a temporary condition in the universe. One day God will destroy it.
5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. Proverbs 16:5 (NASB)
Pride is the inner voice that whispers, "My way is best." It is resisting God's leadership and believing that we are able to live without His help. Whenever you find yourself wanting to do it your way or looking down on other people – you are being controlled by pride. Only when you eliminate pride can God help you become all He meant you to be.