-The plans of man begin as the theme of this next chapter in Proverbs. A man’s heart determines his plans, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD for a Spirit-filled person. “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives.” A powerful word to live by comes next, “Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” This harkens back to Proverbs 3:5-6 in leaning not in our own understanding, but trusting and acknowledging God in all ways to direct our paths. The LORD has made everything for the purpose that it is supposed to serve, even the wicked are designed for the day of evil to reveal God’s redemptive purposes. In other words, evil is a temporary condition in the universe; all will be made right. The proud in heart are an abomination unto the LORD, and they will not go unpunished. By God’s lovingkindness (checed- goodness, kindness, faithfulness, mercy) and truth ('emeth- reliability, faithfulness, truth, sureness, stability, continuance) iniquity is atoned for, and by the LORD’s fear upon us, one keeps away from evil. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” It is better to have little with righteousness than great income with injustice. The mind of man makes his own plans, but it is the LORD who directs his steps (Proverbs 16:1-9). The LORD is sovereign and in total control of this world.
-Now Solomon turns his attention to those in authority for a further understanding thematically. King’s utter divine decisions, so his mouth should not err in judgment. In fact, a just balance and just scales belong solely to the LORD; all the weights of measure end up being His concern. It is another abomination unto the LORD for kings to commit wickedness, because God established authorities to be righteous (Romans 13:1). Righteous speech is a king’s delight and love. When a king is furious, he is like a messenger of death, but a wise man will work to appease the situation, like Daniel and David (1 Samuel 16:21-23, Daniel 6:21). When a king is light and shows favor, there is life like a cloud with the spring rain. It is better to get wisdom and understanding than gold and silver. The highway of the upright is to leave, far away from, evil. The one who watches his way in discernment preserves his life. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” It is better to be one humble of spirit with the lowly than to split your spoil with those who are proud (Proverbs 16:10-19, Matthew 5:3).
-The person who gives his/her attention to the Word of God will find good. Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD. Faith is an Old Testament requirement as well as a New Testament one. A heart full of wisdom will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases one’s chances of being persuasive. This is good business advice, especially for salespeople. Understanding is a tree of life to those who possess it, but the discipline of fools is only folly. A wise person’s heart instructs his/her mouth and adds to persuasiveness (Luke 6:45). Pleasant words are compared to a honeycomb. They are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. There is a way that seems right to a man, but it can end up being the way of death if he doesn’t have faith in Christ Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14). The appetite of a worker works for him to give incentive. His hunger urges him on to complete his tasks. A worthless-no good man digs up evil, and his words are like scorching fire. Perverse people spread strife, and a slanderer breaks apart intimate friends. People tend to believe what other people say, even if it’s untrue. What a travesty. A man of violence entices his neighbor rather than fulfilling the command to love him, and leads him in ways that are no good (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19; 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8). If a person winks at you, they are generally devising perverse things in their heart, and when they compress their lips together, they are about to bring evil to pass. A person’s gray hair is a crown of glory for the aged, and it is found in the way of faithfulness and righteousness as a general truth. Those slow to get angry are better than the mighty, and the person who rules his/her spirit is better than one who captures a city. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD (Proverbs 16:20-33).”
-*Application* God’s sovereign plan jumps out at us from these wise sayings in this chapter. We do well to listen to God’s direction and counsel from His amazing Word and then trust Him to accomplish all He wants in our lives. This breeds contentment, which is a Godly quality in a person. Allow Him to orchestrate and connect all of our plans. In the end, we will find it exquisitely rewarding.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 16:3, 18