Taking Life Seriously - A Study of the Book of Proverbs (Chapter 16)
Proverbs 16 – Everything has a place and a purpose
Mother was a stickler for keeping things neat and organized. “Everything has a place and a purpose. Keep things in their proper place and they will always be available for the purpose intended for.” A motto we lived by strictly.
I used to think it was a little obsessive, but she was correct. How many times do we go hunting for a hammer, or a screwdriver? If it’s not where it belongs, time is wasted, and tempers may flair to find the tools needed.
As a Christian, our greatest tools lie in the Bible. If we keep our Bible close at hand, our tools will be right where we need them. We use tools in our home to keep things working and in proper order, just as scriptures in the Bible are our tools to keep our lives in good working order.
The Book of Proverbs is a tool that encourages and helps us to build Godly and prosperous lives. It is like a set of blueprints for living. However, we must remember one important thing, the plans we make may seem good and right, but God has the final word and His word for our lives is flawless.
“The preparations 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 spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.” (Proverbs 16: 1-3 NKJV)
“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good. Put God in charge of your work, and then what you’ve planned will take place.” (Proverbs 13 1-3 TMB)
Seek God’s directions first
God allows us make plans, but He also looks into our hearts to find out the true purpose of our plans. If we seek God’s directions first and not our selfish desires, then those plans will come to pass.
God has a plan and a purpose for everything and everyone even if that plan includes judgment to teach His children good from evil.
“The Lord has made all things for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil." (Proverbs 16: 4-6 NKJV)
“God made everything with a place and purpose; even the wicked are included – but for judgment. God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense; believe me, He’ll put those upstarts in their place. Guilt is banished through love and truth; Fear-of-God deflects evil.” (Proverbs 16: 4-6 TMB)
When we plan our lives according to God’s word, our life is full and overflowing with goodness and abundant blessings because He directs the path we are going on. Even people who hate us will live peacefully with us.
“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 vast revenues without justice. A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16: 7-9 NKJV)
“When God approves your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand. Far better to be right and poor, than to be wrong and rich. We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it." (Proverbs 16: 7-9 TMB)
Taking Life Seriously
In today’s crazy mixed up world, everything seems to be in the wrong place. What is right is considered wrong, and things that are evil and bad celebrated as good. It’s difficult to know if leaders are leading the right way or the wrong way. But we have the Bible to shed light on the way that is right, and God expects His children to take it seriously.
“Even though Divination is on the lips of the king, His mouth must not transgress in judgment. A just weight and balance are the Lords; All the weights in the bag are His work.” (Proverbs 16: 10 – 11 NKJV)
“A good leader motivates, doesn’t mislead, doesn’t exploit. God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is His business.” (Proverbs 16: 10-11 TMB)
Good leaders lead us to God and righteousness, not away from God and His blessings.
It is important that we are careful who we allow to lead us in life. God has standards for leadership. If those who profess to be leaders do not meet these standards, we need to be in prayer and to fast for God’s guidance in dealing with and finding the right leaders. Good leaders lead us to God and righteousness, not away from God and His blessings.
“It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And they love him who speaks what is right. A messenger of death is the king’s wrath, But a wise man will appease it. In the light of the king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud of the later rain.” (Proverbs 16: 12-15 NKJV)
“Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation. Good leaders cultivate honest speech; they love advisors who tell them the truth. An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives; you’re smart to stay clear of someone like that. Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re like a spring rain and sunshine.” (Proverbs 16: 12-15 TMB)
Keeping hearts pure and words sweet will bring blessings into our lives.
It pays to take life seriously and trust in the Lord. Life is much more satisfying if you take the path of wisdom. There will always be temptations along the way, temptations to take shortcuts and allow yourself to become proud and boastful. These are the very things that will destroy our lives if we are not careful to stay on the right path, following God’s directions for a righteous life.
“How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.” (Proverbs 16: 16-20 NKJV)
“Get wisdom – it’s worth more than money; choose insight over income every time. The road of right living bypasses evil; watch your step and save your life. First pride, the crash- the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. It’s better to live humbly among the poor than to live it up among the rich and famous. It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God.” (Proverbs 16:016-20 TMB)
Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understand produce a godly life. Always seek to learn and understand. Keeping hearts pure and words sweet will bring blessings into our lives.
“The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”(Proverbs 16; 21-24 NKJV)
“A person gets known for insight; gracious words add to one’s reputation. True intelligence is a spring of fresh water while fools sweat it out the hard way. They make a lot of sense, these wise folks; whenever they speak, their reputation increases. Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.” (Proverbs 16: 21-24 TMB)
Beware of heading down the wrong road.
Life is like a road map; there are many ways available. Some take us to the right destination, just where we need to go. Others look like a good road, but if we are not careful, we will find out we’ve taken a wrong turn and end up at a dead end. Wisely choose which road you are traveling and the companions with whom you travel. The right path is the way of wisdom; good companions will encourage and give you strength.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. The person who labors, labors for himself, For his hungry mouth drives him on. An ungodly man digs up evil, And it is on his lips like a burning fire. A perverse man sews strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends. A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. He winks his eye to devise perverse things; He purses his lips and brings about evil. (Proverbs 16: 25-30 NKJV)
“There is a way that looks harmless enough; look again – it leads straight to hell. Appetite is an incentive to work; hunger makes you work all the harder. Mean people spread mean gossip; their words smart and burn. Troublemakers start fights; gossips break up friendships. Calloused climbers betray their very own friends; they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back. A shifty eye betrays an evil intention; a clenched jaw signals trouble ahead. (Proverbs 16: 25-30 TMB)
Keeping life building tools close at hand will never lead us down the wrong path, and it will keep us away from unsavory companions. Think about what these words of wisdom are saying to us. They are the tools that will help us keep our thoughts and actions pleasing to God, and our lives in good working order.
He’s got this
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory If it is found in the way of righteousness. He who 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 in the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord." (Proverbs 16: 31-33 NKJV)
“Gray hair is a mark of distinction, the award for a God-loyal life. Moderation is better than muscle, self-control better than political power. Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” Proverbs 16: 31-33 TMB)
These last three verses of Proverbs 16 may not seem like they fit in with the rest of the chapter. They look a little odd and out of place at first. But taking a second look, I think we will see just how they fit in, not only in this chapter, but the entire book of Proverbs.
Verse 31 talks about gray hair as a crown of glory or a mark of distinction. I don’t know many people who look forward to having gray hair. In fact, most people panic when they discover their first gray hair.
But if we look at it from the perspective of life expectancy at the time of the Old Testament, not too many people lived long enough, actually, to have gray hair. We read about wars, famine, and disease all throughout the Bible.
Looking back at one of the Commandments given by God to Moses, we read
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20: 12 NKJV)
Reaffirmed by Paul in the New Testament in Ephesians.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ Which is the first command with promise.” (Ephesians 6:1 NKJV)
The first commandment of God with a promise attached, and that promise is this. If we Honor our father and mother in the Lord through obedience, we will have a long and good life. In-other-words, we will live long enough to have gray hair, and that will testify that we have lived a godly life.
The promise still holds true today. Through obedience in God’s Word, and honoring our parents, we will have a long and prosperous life.
The next verse addresses anger and self-control. In this day and age of high stress and pressure in our lives, we need to be reminded that anger can lead to poor choices and destruction. Self-Control is sometimes hard to attain, but if we meditate on God’s Word and spend time in prayer, His peace will be a part of our lives. With the peace of God comes self-control we badly need in our lives.
I believe that in the last Verse of Proverbs 16, God is assuring us that no matter what our plans are, or how the world seems to be going, He’s got this. Nothing is sneaking up on Him; He is in control, and we need to keep our faith and trust in Him.
© 2015 miss_jkim