“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” Proverbs 16:1
Have you felt, or feel, that your best days are behind you? Maybe you feel that you have drifted from the dreams you once held so close and it seems nearly impossible for them to be fulfilled. If life has taken a few turns that you did not plan for, don’t give up on the dream God has put in your heart.
In Proverbs 16 we are taught some important lessons about life. We first learn that we have a responsibility to plan and prepare for the future, but the interpretation of those plans belong to God. There will be challenges along the way, but they will serve a purpose on the journey. What we see as distractions and obstacles are often character-building steps that prepare us for our destination.
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
One of the biggest pitfalls to accomplishment and success is taking the credit for the work God made possible in/through us. Commit your work to God; He will open doors you would not have gained access without Him. You will be given platforms you could not reach on your own. When people praise your success, remember to deflect that praise to the One who made it all happen.
“The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Proverbs 16:4
King David often lamented in the Psalms how it felt like those who lied, cheated, or did evil seemed to prosper. God will redeem every delay and setback in your life, for your good. We learn something in the struggle that we may overlook without the struggle. Don’t focus on what others are getting away with and be lured into their lifestyle. We reap whatever we sow.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7
God’s ways are not meant to hinder or hold us back; they make our paths straight. When we choose to live according to God’s word, even those who are against us will live in peace with us. Whether God restrains the anger of your enemies or distances them from you, there will be peace. Hold fast to God’s teachings even when they are in contrast to the current trends. God’s word will never return void; it will accomplish what it says, Isaiah 55:11.
“Better is little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.” Proverbs 16:7
The word righteousness is contrasted with injustice. It’s not implying that poor people are more righteous than those with wealth but highlights the means by which we gain wealth. Riches in this life are fleeting and, in a moment, can disappear.
Wealth comes with a responsibility, not only in the acquisition of but in dispensing as well. Wealth gained through injustice is unrighteous. Therefore, it is better to be poor and righteous.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
When we are committed to honoring God, recognizing His work in our life each step of the way, the destination may look different than we originally pictured in our mind, but will be more fulfilling than we could have ever imagined.
Don’t wander through life without a purpose and a plan. Hold tightly to God’s ways and pursue His glory over your fame and God will establish your steps. No one, no failure, no delay will keep you from arriving at your destination. Trust God each step of the way and learn from every success and setback.