Proverbs 16

1 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

You may think that you will say this or that when you talk to someone, but the outcome is in God’s control.

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives.

God is more interested in why you do things that merely in what you have done. If your motive is evil or selfish then the good deed has little value in God’s eyes.

For this reason, you need to take the time to examine your motives, and clean up over there.

Many who are first will be last because they did a lot of good (and people put them first because of that) but their motives were evil or selfish (and God put them last because of that).

3 Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.

If you want to succeed in anything, do what God wants you to do. Then He will support you and help you to succeed.

4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.

People ask why God allows evil to exist in this world. This verse gives us an answer. God uses the evil that wicked people do to test His children and purify them.

5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Spend time understanding what pride is, and how to get rid of it in yourself. That is time well spent.

When God sees a proud person, He sets Himself against that person, and opposes whatever that person does. Obviously, if God is opposing you, you will not succeed.

6 By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

How does one overcome sin? By having such a high opinion of God that you don’t want to do anything to displease Him.

When someone sins against you, you can handle the situation by expressing yourself to them truthfully and kindly. That is, confront them frankly in an attitude of love rather than hate.

7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

How do you know whether God is pleased with you? When, those who hate you don’t want to fight with you.

8 Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.

In God’s eyes, righteous is more valuable than how much money you earn.

9 The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.

You can plan all you want, but God is able to work around your plan to accomplish whatever He wants.

10 A divine decision is in the lips of the king; his mouth should not err in judgment.

The more power you have, the more important it is for you to make the right call.

11 A just balance and scales belong to the LORD; all the weights of the bag are His concern.

God wants you to do everything righteously. If you cheat or steal or deceive or swindle, He knows, and He is not happy. Don’t think that that God will overlook some wrong you did just because it was a small thing in your eyes.

12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, for a throne is established on righteousness.

If you are the man of the house, then your home is your kingdom, and that’s where you are king. If you want to establish your home then you need to deal rightly with everyone in the home, and everyone who comes in contact with your home. If you deal wickedly with those in or around your home then you will ruin your home and your children will go astray.

13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and he who speaks right is loved.

Righteous lips are those that say what is right and good for others. People in charge are delighted to find people who speak words that will further their kingdom.

14 The fury of a king is like messengers of death, but a wise man will appease it.

Every so often, the person in charge will be furious; sometimes about irrelevant things (from your perspective). How will you handle that?

If you fight fury with fury, you will lose because you don’t have as much power as the king.

The better approach is to appease the anger of the person in charge. Don’t try telling the guy in charge that his fury is foolishness or irrelevant.

15 In the light of a king's face is life, and his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.

You must know how to deal with people in charge. Learn to be on their good side, but don’t compromise your principles for that.

16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.

Get your priorities right – seek for wisdom and understanding more than gold and silver. If you have to choose between making more money and getting more wisdom, choose the latter. It is easier for a wise person to make and retain money than for a rich person to acquire and retain wisdom, and a foolish person will not be able to acquire and retain riches righteously.

17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who watches his way preserves his life.

Getting into the habit of examining yourself periodically. Check whether you are associating with evil. If so, depart from it and stick with what is good. If you are too busy making money, you may find out later that you became rich but lost your soul. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?

18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.

If you have fallen into a trap it is because you were proud. Examine yourself, to understand where you were proud, and repent and retrace your steps.

19 It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Don’t associate with proud people. Associate with humble people, even if you and they have much less fun than the proud people.

20 He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

God’s word has a lot of information on the traps in life, and how to avoid them. So spend time reading God’s word, and believing what He says (instead of believing your own thoughts, and what your own mind tells you). Later in life, when you look back, you’ll be thankful.

21 The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

If you want something from someone, ask very respectfully.

If you want to convince someone of something, talk to them as if they are very wise.

Understand that people are more willing to hear a man to approaches them with respect.

22 Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the discipline of fools is folly.

When you understand how people’s mind’s functions then you will be able to get things done. They want to be respected and esteemed. If you approach them as a know-it-all or as a superior they will resist you, and your foolishness will result in harsh discipline for you.

23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

First, learn wisdom and store that wisdom in your heart. Then apply that wisdom when you want to convince others to do something.

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

The last thing that you want to do is to speak rudely or brashly to someone. That will make them want to oppose you. Be pleasant, even when you don’t feel like being pleasant, and even when, in your opinion, the other person doesn’t deserve such pleasantness, and is unpleasant themselves.

25 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

We have a flesh through which we are tempted. As a result, thoughts enter our mind, suggesting a course of action in any situation. That course of action seems right to us, particularly because it came from our own mind. But that course of action is usually contrary to what the Holy Spirit wants us to do. If we follow it, we will sin and die spiritually.

For example, if you see someone in your household doing something you don’t want them to do, your mind tells you to shout at them and insist that they not do it. That’s usually selfish and wrong.

26 A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on.

If you want to get someone to do something, find out what motivates him, and use that knowledge to motivate him to do it.

27 A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are like scorching fire.

There are people who like to mind other people’s business, and they take pains to determine whether someone else did wrong. When they find something the make a big issue of it. Such people are worthless.

Unless you are officially bound to investigate the actions of someone, refrain from digging evil about others.

28 A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.

There are people who enter a home where there is peace, and cause confusion and strife by their behavior. They find fault with others, complain about others, and spreads the news of all the bad things that people say about each other. As a result, good friends are separated.

Stay away from such people.

29 A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good.

Beware of people who treat others badly. If they want to hang out with you or do stuff together, you will find yourself getting into trouble that could have avoided if you had just avoided such people.

30 He who winks his eyes does so to devise perverse things; he who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.

People who can’t give messages in the open but have to resort to secret conversations are perverse. They are up to evil and have things to hide. Stay away from them.

31 A gray head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness.

Life has all kinds of traps. If you have lived long, and have survived and escaped the traps in life, you have accomplished much. You can be so thankful.

32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

An important aspect of wisdom is to slow down as soon as you find yourself getting angry. If you can control your temper and your thoughts, you are a person of great strength and capability.

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

God is sovereign – He even controls whether the coin that is tossed in the air will result in a head or a tail. That is why it is important to take note of what is happening around you. God could very well be communicating to you through the events around you.

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