1. Should we look to our hearts when we speak or should we look to the will of God (PLEASE NOTICE THE INFORMATION BELOW BEFORE ANSWERING)?
- In studying Proverbs 16:1 it did not make biblical sense to conclude that God prepares the hearts of men. Other Scriptures do not support that conclusion (II Chronicles 12:13-14, Ezra 7:10, and Luke 8:11-15). I then found other Scriptures that made the text even more obscure (i.e. Psalms 10:16-17). Doing a word study does not help, for the Hebrew word, “מַעֲרָךְ; ma`arak” (Strong’s # 4633), only appears this one time in the Scriptures.
- Yet, looking to other translations of this text did help and certainly adds clarity that agrees with other Scriptures. Notice these translations:
- “The plans of the heart belong to man; But the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah” (ASV).
- “The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD” (NKJV).
- It certainly appears that the KJV is not as clear in translating this verse as the ASV and NKJV are. We’ll discuss some more along these lines when we look at Proverbs 16:9.
We should allow our answers to come from the will of God: “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:1).
- We should not “speak from the heart” (Psalms 53:1, Proverbs 28:26, Jeremiah 16:12, and Jeremiah 17:9).
- We must see that our hearts are converted to the Lord (James 4:8) and not just partially converted either (Jeremiah 3:10).
- We must then allow God’s will to move our mouths (Isaiah 8:20, Colossians 3:17, and I Peter 4:11).
2. Is it hard for people to see that their own ways are wrong?
Yes: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits” (Proverbs 16:2).
- Proverbs 16:25, Proverbs 20:6, Proverbs 21:2, Proverbs 30:12, Luke 18:9-14, and Galatians 6:3.
- It must also be noted that God knows what is going on inside of us (I Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 5:21, Proverbs 24:12, Jeremiah 17:10, Luke 16:15, and Hebrews 4:13).
3. What must we do to have our thoughts established?
“Commit [roll Proverbs 26:27; trust Psalms 22:8; commit Psalm 37:5] thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3).
- Colossians 1:10 and II Peter 1:3-12.
4. Did God create everything for us or for Himself?
For Himself: “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4).
- The Lord is the Creator of all things (Isaiah 43:7 and Revelation 4:11).
- To simplify the statement, “wicked for the day of evil”… Consider that God reserves wicked days [even the day of destruction] just for evil people (II Kings 21:10-12, Jeremiah 1:14-16, Jeremiah 6:19, and II Peter 2:9).
- For further studies, know that the creation of knowledge to do good or evil is of God (Genesis 2:9). In fact, He puts before us the choice of good and evil (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
- God equips us to stand in the day of evil (Ephesians 6:12-13).
- “The day of evil” is what slays the wicked (Psalms 34:21 and Jeremiah 17:17-18).
- Does this mean that God created people just do condemn them? NO (I Timothy 2:4, Titus 2:11, and II Peter 3:9)!
- God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), but He has reserved a day for them (Job 21:30).
5. What is God’s view of prideful people?
“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished” (Proverbs 16:5).
- Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 8:13, Zechariah 9:6, James 4:6, and I John 2:15-16.
- Pride is deceptive (Obadiah 1-4).
6. How do mercy, truth, and fear help us to be saved?
By causing us to depart from sin: “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).
- Mercy helps us to be saved (Micah 7:18 and Titus 3:5).
- Truth helps us to be saved (II Thessalonians 2:10).
- Fear helps us to be saved (Psalms 85:9 and Philippians 2:12).
7. What benefit can pleasing the Lord bring about concerning our enemies?
“When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
- We know this is not always the case (I Peter 3:13-18; cf. Romans 12:17-21).
- Jesus always did what pleased the Father (John 8:29), yet His enemies were not at peace with Him (Matthew 16:21).
8. Should a righteous individual be more content with a little than the unrighteous will be with great revenues?
Yes: “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (Proverbs 16:8).
- Psalms 37:16, Proverbs 15:16, Philippians 4:11-16, and I Timothy 6:6-10.
9. Taking into consideration all that we learned in Proverbs 16:1, should we trust our hearts or the Lord to direct our steps?
The Lord: “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
- Notice these Scriptures: Psalms 37:23, Proverbs 19:21, Proverbs 20:24, and Jeremiah 10:23; cf Psalms 119:105 and Proverbs 6:23.
10. If a king has a divine sentence [oracle] in his lips, will he transgress in judgment?
No: “A divine sentence [oracle] is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment” (Proverbs 16:10).
- I Kings 3:28 and Psalms 72:1; cf. Luke 21:12-15. *See notes on verse 1 also.
11. Is honesty in our business dealings something that matters to God?
Yes, He is the author of honest trade: “A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work” (Proverbs 16:11).
- Leviticus 19:35-36, Deuteronomy 25:13-15, Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 20:10, Romans 12:17 and II Corinthians 8:21.