Proverbs 16

Prov 16:1 To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.

Prov 16:2 All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.

Prov 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Prov 16:4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends– even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Prov 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Prov 16:6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.

Prov 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

Prov 16:8 Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.

Prov 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Or, as we might say, “Man proposes, but God disposes.”

Prov 16:10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice.

Prov 16:11 Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making.

Prov 16:12 Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.

Prov 16:13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.

Prov 16:14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will appease it.

Prov 16:15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

Prov 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!

Prov 16:17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.

Prov 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Prov 16:19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

Prov 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

Prov 16:21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.

Prov 16:22 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.

Prov 16:23 A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.

Prov 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Our Pastor was teaching Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” The minister then added, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” My wife leaned over, put her head on my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “I just love to watch your muscles ripple when you take out the garbage.” (Reader’s Digest, September 1991, p. 80)

Prov 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

‘I know people who are very religious and totally sincere, but not Christians. God will accept them, won’t He? A person can be sincere, but he also can be sincerely wrong. The Bible says there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of this is the way of death (Proverbs 16:25).

There are many cases each year when someone jokingly points a gun at someone else, sincerely believing it is empty. The gun goes off and the other individual is killed, with the person pulling the trigger saying, “I didn’t know it was loaded.”

That person might be 100% sincere in the fact that he did not want to harm the other individual, but he was sincerely believing something that just was not true. Sincerity is not enough, if the object of belief is not true, and all the sincerity in the world will not bring that person who has been shot with the gun back to life.

The apostle Paul teaches that simply practicing religion does not excuse anyone, but rather it may compound the person’s guilt. In examining the pagan’s religion, Paul points out that it is a distortion of the truth. He says, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25, NASB).

The glory of God is substituted and replaced by the glory of the creature. Their religion is one of idolatry, and to worship idols is an insult to the dignity of God. This is something God has always detested.

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:3-5, NASB). Thus a religious person has no advantage if he is worshiping the wrong God, no matter how sincere.

If a person attempts to get into a movie theater and the price is $4, it does not matter whether he has $3.90 or 25[1]; he is still short. If someone is believing the wrong thing, it does not matter how sincere he is, for he is short of what God requires of men to reach Him.

God sets the standard, and He will accept only those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, KJV).’ (Answers to Tough Questions)

Prov 16:26 The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.

Prov 16:27 A scoundrel plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.

Prov 16:28 A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

Gossiping

‘It topples governments, wrecks marriages, ruins careers, destroys reputations, causes nightmares, spawns suspicion, and generates grief. Even its name hisses. It’s called gossip. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary? If not, forget it.’

‘A gossip is one who talks to you about others; a bore is one who talks to you about himself; and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.’ Lisa Kirk

‘Never believe anything bad about anybody unless you positively know it to be true; never tell even that unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary – and remember that God is listening while you tell it.’ Henry Van Dyke

Bill Gothard suggests that we should ask five questions before listening to a carrier of an evil report:

1. What is your reason for telling me? Widening the circle of gossip only compounds the problem.

2. Where did you get your information? Refusal to identify the source of information is a sure sign of an evil report.

3. Have you gone to those directly involved? Spirituality is not measured by how well we expose an offender but by how effectively we restore an offender (Gal. 6:1). Satan will sift you like wheat.

4. Have you personally checked out all of the facts? Even facts become distorted when not balanced with other facts or when given with negative motives.

5. Can I quote you if I check this out?

See also Prov 11:13; Prov 26:20; 2 Cor 12:20

Prov 16:29 A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good.

Prov 16:30 He who winks with his eye is plotting perversity; he who purses his lips is bent on evil.

Prov 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.

‘It is one of the best sights to see an old disciple; to see silver hairs adorned with golden virtues.’ (Thomas Watson)

Prov 16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

Prov 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

Prov 16:33: God’s Providence

The Bible clearly teaches God’s providential control

(1) over the universe at large, Ps. 103:19; Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11;

(2) over the physical world, Job 37; Pss. 104:14; 135:6; Matt. 5:45;

(3) over the brute creation, Ps. 104:21, 28; Matt. 6:26; 10:29;

(4) over the affairs of nations, Job 12:23; Pss. 22:28; 66:7; Acts 17:26;

(5) over man’s birth and lot in life, 1 Sam. 16:1; Ps. 139:16; Isa. 45:5; Gal. 1:15-16;

(6) over the outward successes and failures of men’s lives, Ps. 75:6, 7; Luke 1:52;

(7) over things seemingly accidental or insignificant, Prov. 16:33; Matt. 10:30;

(8) in the protection of the righteous, Pss. 4:8; 5:12; 63:8; 121:3; Rom. 8:28;

(9) in supplying the wants of God’s people, Gen. 22:8, 14; Deut. 8:3; Phil. 4:19;

(10) in giving answers to prayer, 1 Sam. 1:19; Isa. 20:5, 6; 2 Chron. 33:13; Ps. 65:2; Matt. 7:7; Luke 18:7, 8; and

(11) in the exposure and punishment of the wicked, Pss. 7:12-13; 11:6.

(L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology)

The Casting of Lots

‘The use of lots was not altogether foreign among the people of God. At several key points in the history of Israel, lots had been used with the apparent approval and blessing of God. This may be one more case where it was not the use but the abuse of a cultural tool that made it objectionable. Lots were used to determine which of the two goats would be sacrificed on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16). Joshua used lots to ferret out Achan as the guilty party after the defeat at Ai (Josh 7:14). Lots were used in the allocation of land (Josh 18-19; Ps 16:6) and in the assignment of temple duties (1 Chron 24:5). In the New Testament, our Lord’s clothes were gambled for by the casting of the dice (Mt 27:35). In fact, the whole church decided between two men to fill the position left by Judas’s death by the use of lots (Acts 1:15-26). True, here the casting of lots was accompanied with prayer, but my point is that lots were used. Some are fond of pointing out that all these examples were prior to Pentecost, but there seems to be no scriptural significance to such an observation.

The best way to explain the use of lots is by noting the mild endorsement expressed in Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” Though this proverb is quite brief, its point seems to be that the Lord, not fate, is the reason for success, if there is any. It also seems to warn that the casting of lots does not carry with it an automatic validity, for in every case the freedom to answer lies with God, who is not at the beck and call of the thrower.

It may please God to use this means to give further confidence that one’s decision, when it does not conflict with Scripture or with one’s best discernment, is indeed his will. But in no sense should the casting of lots be used or viewed as a means of bypassing what can be known of God and his will through Scripture, prayer and the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit.

Accordingly, what might appear to be no more than raw superstition to a twentieth-century Westerner was an evidence of divine intervention and providence. Even the casting of lots came under the controlling eye of God.’

(HSB)