The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Proverbs 16

Pro 16:1

Man plans one thing, but God can bring something entirely different out of it. Cp Joh 11:49-51; Act 2:23.

Pro 16:3

COMMIT TO THE LORD WHATEVER YOU DO, AND YOUR PLANS WILL SUCCEED: "Keep your mind on God, and keep busy at something useful and profitable for others. You will then always be happy and at peace. You'll have no time for fancied offenses, or self-pity, or criticism of others, or catering to your own lusts and desires. Wasted time or self-indulgent time is unfaithful stewardship and self-destruction. God has set it up that way, and it is wisdom, and we are very foolish to think we can outwit Him, and find happiness and satisfaction any other way" (GVG).

Pro 16:5

THE PROUD OF HEART: "The expression 'proud of heart' surely refers to a quality deeply ingrained in character. It is not a superficial pride easily perceived by observers... A proud heart means something deeper and far more serious than this. It may go with an appearance of humility. It may be so well covered that even the individual is deceived. It rarely expresses its pride in words; it will on the other hand often use words to justify the proud act or attitude which is the real expression of character" (PrPr). See Lesson, Prov and the heart.

THEY WILL NOT GO UNPUNISHED: "Though hand join in hand": ie, no alliance of man will save him!

Pro 16:7

WHEN A MAN'S WAYS ARE PLEASING TO THE LORD: "Man's purpose and destiny is to give pleasure to God. When we are pleasing Him, we are in harmony with the universe and eternity. Any human being whose life's desire is not pleasing God is an abortion and a failure and must be eliminated from God's universe. A life whose central, basic, guiding principle is not the desire, intention and effort to constantly give God pleasure, is an empty, sterile, dead life -- a tragedy of blind folly and lost opportunity. Pleasing God and being in harmony and communion with His love is man's highest possible joy and happiness. A 'successful' life is one in which every moment is consciously devoted to giving God pleasure. He has plainly said what He desires, and it consists mainly of a certain character, attitude and frame of mind. Certainly there are specific things to be done and to be not done, but though the acts themselves are important, the motive and purpose that lie behind them are more important. The motive of everything we do must be thanksgiving and love and joy in the marvelous beauty of holiness that God's glory has revealed to poor, weak, mortal, perishing man. There is no joy and peace remotely comparable to the assurance that we are striving to the very best of our tiny little ability to please God every moment" (GVG).

HE MAKES EVEN HIS ENEMIES LIVE AT PEACE WITH HIM: "But this does not mean, as a prominent brother once absurdly put it, that a good man should have no enemies (Look at Christ!) but that God can turn a hangman into a friend and benefactor when His purpose requires it" (CCWJ 206,207).

Pro 16:13

See Lesson, Honesty (GG).

Pro 16:18

Examples: Pharaoh (Exo 5:2); Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 5:20); Belshazzar (Dan 5:23,30); Amaziah (2Ki 14:10); Uzziah (2Ch 26:16); Hezekiah (2Ch 32:25); prince of Tyre (Eze 28:2,5,17); Herod (Act 12:22,23).

Pro 16:19

Examples: Moses (Heb 11:24), and Daniel (Dan 1:8).

Pro 16:25

THERE IS A WAY THAT SEEMS RIGHT TO A MAN, BUT IN THE END IT LEADS TO DEATH: "Reject the flesh as a way of life. It isn't. It is a way of death. Reject it over the whole spectrum of your thinking and activity. It is cheating, deceptive and misleading. It has nothing to offer by way of satisfaction and happiness, in spite of all its false promises and glittering attraction. It's the world's biggest fake and fraud" (GVG).

Pro 16:31

GRAY HAIR IS A CROWN OF SPLENDOR: "The hoary head is a crown of glory, IF it be found in the way of righteousness" (KJV).

"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."

"Listen to the oldsters: learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."

Pro 16:32

A MAN WHO CONTROLS HIS TEMPER: "There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that's your own self" (A Huxley). "Kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot" (Korean proverb).

See Lesson, Prov and temper.

The man who controls his temper has conquered self -- the strongest foe man has to meet. The highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self-control. He who can stand unmoved amid a storm of abuse is one of God's heroes... He who has learned to rule his spirit will rise above the slights, the rebuffs, the annoyances to which we are daily exposed, and these will cease to cast a gloom over his spirit. It is God's purpose that the kingly power of sanctified reason, controlled by divine grace, shall bear sway in the lives of human beings.

He who rules his spirit is in possession of this power. The man or woman who preserves the balance of the mind when tempted to indulge passion, stands higher in the sight of God and heavenly angels than the most renowned general that ever led an army to battle and to victory.

What young men and women need is Christian heroism. God's Word declares that he that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city. To rule the spirit means to keep self under discipline. They need to seek earnestly to bring into their lives the perfection that is seen in the life of the Saviour, so that when Christ shall come, they will be prepared to enter in through the gates into the city of God. The grace of Christ in the life will direct the aims and purposes and capabilities into channels that will give moral and spiritual power -- power which the youth will not have to leave in this world, but which they can carry with them into the future life and retain through the eternal ages.

Pro 16:33

"The word 'lot' signifies that which is rough, perhaps like a pebble. It includes the element of trial and difficulty, as well as the judgment of the pebble. The word 'lap' signifies the bosom, as in Pro 17:23; 21:14, referring to the bag of the ephod of the high priest, in which were the stones (pebbles) by which Yahweh gave true judgment or decisions [the Urim and Thummim]. Thus, the lot did not signify chance, but Yahweh's determination. It is related to the word 'inheritance' (cp Exo 28:30; Num 26:55). The path of wisdom is the path of inheritance at the good hand of Yahweh" (GEM).

"If the disposal of the lot is the Lord's whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of a lot is guided by him, how much more the events of our entire life -- especially when we are told by our blessed Saviour: 'The very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father.' [cp Mat 10:30,31; Luk 12:6,7] It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness as a Christian should. When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master, his thoughts are serving himself. If you would 'seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,' [Mat 6:33] all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ's business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances" (CHS).

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