Lord, You have done so much for me. I’m grateful, and I long to tell the world how great You are.
Read Proverbs 16:1-33
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
It is a wise person who takes God into their planning right from the outset!
There are a number of ways I could enjoy this chapter. I could just ponder every saying slowly as it comes, including old favorites like verses 3, 18, 25 and 33. I could focus on clumps of sayings–eight which mention the Lord in verses 1-9, five which mention the king in verses 10-15 (Derek Kidner calls these verses “the burden of power”) or the different sorts of mischief-makers in verses 27-30. I could note the sayings which picture life as a journey: the (high) way, the steps, the plans, the work.
Hebrew lacks modern psychological words, but it does not lack anthropological insight and subtlety. Consciousness is diffused through my bodily members. I observe the verses which talk about the heart, the spirit (“motives,” 2b is literally “spirits”; “self-control,” 32 is spirit-control), the soul (translated “life,” 17b and “appetite,” 26a) and also the verses about bones, face and eyes and even hair (31), as well as mouth, tongue, lips, speech and words (including “gossip,” 28). Finally my thoughts rest on the person who “takes a deep breath,” the person who “rules his spirit” in verse 32, better than a warrior, better than a conqueror. This description “slow to anger” is more characteristically used of the Lord (Exod. 34:6; Psa. 86:15; Nahum 1:3). In his patience is my pardon and my peace. My body language articulates my inner life.
“Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (20, KJV). Four other beatitudes (“blessed” in NIV) are found in Proverbs (3:13, 14:21, 28:14, 29:18). The writer is not unaware of “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Shakespeare, Hamlet), which tend to hit the poor especially. He is also keenly aware of short-lived shortcuts to supposed “success.” So I ponder what exactly is the good fortune of which this verse speaks?
Look at the “good” and “better” opportunities laid out in verses 8, 16 and 32. Would you choose the better in each case? Why or why not?
Lord, into Your hands, without reserve, I surrender myself with boundless confidence. Whatever You may do I thank You.