Proverbs 16

Word and Deed.

“We make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 NLT

While this Proverb appears to be a collection of disjointed one-liners that cover a variety of topics; on closer examination, there are two themes that seem to run throughout the entire Proverb. One has to do with “the path” of our life and the plans we make to get where we think we’re supposed to go. The other theme has to do with our speech or the words that come out of our mouths, and their impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. The direction of our lives has a huge impact on our speech and conduct. Throughout the Proverbs, life is pictures as a journey. It has a beginning and an end. There is a destination to life. And we are always thinking about where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, and why are journey is not turning out quite like we expected. We make plans for our lives and those plans are ALWAYS influenced by something going on in the inside as well as outside of ourselves. Jealousy, pride, self-centeredness, and the longing for power, possessions, and prominence can lead us down the wrong path. And life lived on that path will have a huge impact on the way we live and the words we say. It will influence our words and deeds. This Proverb talks about wise speech, kind words, gossip, destructive words, righteous lips and honest speech. The content of our speech is directly related to the conduct of our lives. Where we go will influence what we say. Foolish living will result in foolish words. Following the wise path will result in wise words.

So who gets to decide the path for our lives? According to Solomon, we spend a lot of time trying to make arrangements and plans for the direction of our lives, but at the end of the day, God is the one who determines our steps. “A man may make designs for his way, but the Lord is the guide of his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 BBE). We may think we know what’s best for our lives, but only God truly knows how to get where we really need to go. In verse one, we read, “The intentions of the heartbelong to a man,but the answer of the tonguecomes fromthe Lord.” This verse reminds us that we may arrange the contents of our mind and plan out all our thoughts, it is God who gives us the capacity to put our thoughts into words. Plans become deeds. Thoughts become words. And both are related to the path we have chosen for our lives. We can choose to live our way or we can decide to live God’s way, to follow His path for our lives. “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3 NLT). Give God the direction of your life. Allow Him to direct your path and you will discover it always leads in the right direction. Following His path not only leads to the right destination, it produces a life marked by godliness, wisdom, and righteousness. When it comes to choosing the right path for our lives, most of us have a lousy sense of direction. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 16:25 NLT). We need a GPS system. We need direction. And only God can provide it. Our way may seem right, but it will always turn out wrong. God’s way is the best way. “The highway of the upright is to turnaway from evil; the one who guardshis way safeguards his life” (Proverbs 16:17 NET).

Father, keep me on the right path. Don’t let me stray or follow my own sense of direction. I have no idea what is best for me and stopping to ask for directions from this world can be a dangerous thing to do. It will never get me where I truly need to go. Your way is the best way. Following Your will for my life will result in wise words and righteous deeds.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men