1The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.
3 Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.
4 The Lord has made all for Himself,
Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
7 When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.
9 A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord.
— Proverbs 16, NKJV
Matthew Henry’s comments:
As we read this, it teaches us a great truth, that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think or speak any thing of ourselves that is wise and good, but that all our sufficiency is of God, who is with the heart and with the mouth, and works in us both to will and to do, Phil. 2:13; Ps. 10:17. But most read it otherwise: The preparation of the heart is in man (he may contrive and design this and the other) but the answer of the tongue, not only the delivering of what he designed to speak, but the issue and success of what he designed to do, is of the Lord. That is, in short, 1. Man purposes. He has a freedom of thought and a freedom of will permitted him; let him form his projects, and lay his schemes, as he thinks best: but, after all, 2. God disposes. Man cannot go on with his business without the assistance and blessing of God, who made man’s mouth and teaches us what we shall say. Nay, God easily can, and often does, cross men’s purposes, and break their measures. It was a curse that was prepared in Balaam’s heart, but the answer of the tongue was a blessing.
1. We are all apt to be partial in judging of ourselves: All the ways of a man, all his designs, all his doings, are clean in his own eyes, and he sees nothing amiss in them, nothing for which to condemn himself, or which should make his projects prove otherwise than well; and therefore he is confident of success, and that the answer of the tongue shall be according to the expectations of the heart; but there is a great deal of pollution cleaving to our ways, which we are not aware of, or do not think so ill of as we ought. 2. The judgment of God concerning us, we are sure, is according to truth: He weighs the spirits in a just and unerring balance, knows what is in us, and passes a judgment upon us accordingly, writing Tekel upon that which passed our scale with approbation—weighed in the balance and found wanting; and by his judgment we must stand or fall. He not only sees men’s ways but tries their spirits, and we are as our spirits are.
1. It is a very desirable thing to have our thoughts established, and not tossed, and put into a hurry, by disquieting cares and fears,—to go on in an even steady course of honesty and piety, not disturbed, or put out of frame, by any event or change,—to be satisfied that all shall work for good and issue well at last, and therefore to be always easy and sedate. 2. The only way to have our thoughts established is to commit our works to the Lord. The great concerns of our souls must be committed to the grace of God, with a dependence upon and submission to the conduct of that grace (2 Tim. 1:12); all our outward concerns must be committed to the providence of God, and to the sovereign, wise, and gracious disposal of that providence. Roll thy works upon the Lord (so the word is); roll the burden of thy care from thyself upon God. Lay the matter before him by prayer. Make known thy works unto the Lord (so some read it), not only the works of thy hand, but the workings of thy heart; and then leave it with him, by faith and dependence upon him, submission and resignation to him. The will of the Lord be done. We may then be easy when we resolve that whatever pleases God shall please us.
1. The divine Providence orders and directs those things which to us are perfectly casual and fortuitous. Nothing comes to pass by chance, nor is an event determined by a blind fortune, but every thing by the will and counsel of God. What man has neither eye nor hand in God is intimately concerned in. 2. When solemn appeals are made to Providence by the casting of lots, for the deciding of that matter of moment which could not otherwise be at all, or not so well, decided, God must be eyed in it, by prayer, that it may be disposed aright (Give a perfect lot, 1 Sam. 14:41; Acts 1:24), and by acquiescing in it when it is disposed, being satisfied that the hand of God is in it and that hand directed by infinite wisdom. All the disposals of Providence concerning our affairs we must look upon to be the directing of our lot, the determining of what we referred to God, and must be reconciled to them accordingly.