There is a saying that goes thus” man proposes but God disposes”. Man often set plans and targets to accomplish their aims but the Lord weighs the spirit to ascertain what will happen, for our own purposes and own way are always good in our own eyes.
Man plan but God directs. He always devises means in whatever he does and acts as he pleases but it is only God that directs. The plans of the children of God will come to fulfillment only if God permits them.
The ways of a man are different from God’s ways ( Isaiah 55 verse 8 ). He knows the end from the beginning and only His purpose will stand ( Isaiah 46 verse 10 ). He alone knows what the next minute entails because He is all-powerful and will lead you to the way that is best for you.
However, for this to happen, you must commit your plans to His hands so that He will direct you in the right ways.
The scripture says in Proverbs 14 verse 12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” To live a self-oriented life will always lead to destruction or death because your instinct will always fail you.
You need the wisdom and guidance from above (God’s wisdom) to walk on the path that leads to joy, peace, and life eternal. Let’s see why it is important to commit your ways to the Lord and allow Him to direct your steps.
Psalm 37 verse 23 says,
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”
Who wrote Proverbs 16:9 and when was it written?
Proverbs 16:9 was written by King Solomon. It was written about 700 BC but published in the year 1611.
What is the context of Proverbs 16?
The context of Proverbs 16 is about God’s wisdom, sovereignty, guidance, and prosperity.
One must not lean on his or her understanding because when we plan, only God can bring to performance what He wills. We cannot properly or justly evaluate ourselves because man is incomplete. God through His word and Spirit has the best opinion and decision.
The scripture says in Jeremiah 17 verse 9,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
The good plans and intentions of a man are evil, thus, we need to depend on God for strength to do good at all times and to make it a perfect plan.
We all need the grace of God to stand through redemption because no one can pass God’s test of holiness. We must be willing to do God’s will by submitting to His authority and ready to conform and change our plans as He leads.
The devil might discourage or trick us, we must make use of every of God’s opportunities at our disposal. Commit your plans to Him and also trust that those plans will be established.
There is a reason for whatever God does ( Proverbs 16 verse 4 ). If He knows all things and is wiser than any of us, then we cannot plan anything without first consulting or asking Him. The scripture tells us in Romans 8 verse 28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Be assured that He causes all things to work for your good. Nothing happens without His consent.
Every proud heart will not go unpunished because God resists the proud ( James 4 verse 6 ). They are regarded as an abomination but the fear of the Lord keeps one away from evil ( Proverbs 16 verse 6 ).
If your ways align with God’s commandments He will make your enemies be at peace with you. He will hedge behind and before you and lay His hand upon you ( Psalm 139 verse 5 ).
It is right to plan our ways as humans but those plans will not see the light of the day without first committing them to God to direct us in the best way for man’s ways are limited.
It is a great opportunity and to our benefit when we are directed by God. However, God does not force anyone to believe in Him. He will only admonish us to commit our ways to Him because human beings are limited in power and ability.
The good thing to know is, that God desires fair dealings and so we must be honest and imitate Him in such.
Proverbs 29 verse 2 tells us “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”
Divination is on the lips of the king. They must be righteous, honest, and fair towards the people they rule. They are to bring blessings and joy to them ( Proverbs 16 verses 11 to 13 ).
Be wise in your dealings, according to Proverbs 16 verse 14,
“As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, But a wise man will appease it.”
Nothing can stop a wise man even on the day of evil. Let your wisdom be anchored to God by living a godly life. Do not work on your own devising but the word of God.
Moreover, God hates the proud. People who think they are higher or better than others have a haughty spirit. They think they can perform without Christ. But they are wrong. They will utterly fall. God works only on behalf of a humble soul and will exalt them. ( Proverbs 16 verses 18 to 19 ).
Only those who obey and follow God’s words will benefit from the rewards ( Proverbs 16 verse 22). There is a great reward for those who trust and honor God. The bible mentions that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Wisdom brings life to an individual (Proverbs 9 verse 10) but if you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him (Proverbs 27 verse 22)
In addition, God delights in peacemakers and not violent people. We must always seek peace at all times if truly we are saved by Christ (Proverbs 16 verse 29). Having gray hair is not a sign of wisdom, blessing, and a crown of glory. Age is just a number, it does not make people better or more righteous.
Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit and can accomplish greater things in the kingdom and is worth seeking out after ( Galatians 5 verse 23)
Finally, God is in charge of all things. Therefore, only Him can make the right decisions for us. We have no other alternative than to commit our ways to Him so He can direct our paths.
God will bring us to a place of fulfillment that we could not have thought possible.
What is the message of Proverbs 16:9?
The message of Proverbs 16:9 talks about the necessity of divine direction for every true believer.
To live a triumphant and glorious Christian life, every child of God demands the leading of God. It is wise for believers to make plans for the future but not clever if we are rigid with our plans.
God gave us the mind and free will to think and make decisions.
Luke 14 verses 28 to 30 says,
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish”
Proverbs 27 verses 23 to 27 also says,
“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will provide your clothing, And the goats the price of a field; You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, And the nourishment of your maidservants. ”
The two scriptures above, one from the old testament and the second one from the new testament prove that God does not expect us to fold our hands and expect him to do everything for us. Men have to plan but we must present our plans to God.
It is important to know that the way of man and the mind of man is full of evil. The mind of man and sweetness of the lips cannot lead him in the right direction, true wisdom is from God. He is the one that gives good guidance to our course of action.
The great truth is, that God has ultimate plans for us and great concerns of our souls.
Isaiah 28 verse 29,
“This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”
Job also mentioned to God in Job 42 verse 2,
“I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”
God has everything planned and ready for us but He does not want us to be irresponsible. When we present our plans to Him, He helps us to accomplish those that are according to his will.
This also applies to our praying about our plans.
1 John 5 verse 14,
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
God does not answer all prayers of believers. He answers only those that are aligned with his plan and purpose for our lives.
“A man’s heart plans his way” meaning
“A man’s heart plans his way means man is limited in actualizing his plans.
Man is used to getting worried about what happened next. We are always full of plans and options that are arranged in our own order of good. Most times we forget the fact that it is only God’s plan that stands.
Jesus knew this when He told his disciples in Matthew 6 verse 34,
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
James also wrote in chapter 4 verses 13 to 16,
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
The Bible refers to all these plans as desires. Human actions are first conceived in our hearts as desires, actualizing those desires depends on how God enables us. We own our own desires but God owns the fulfillments.
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
( 1 Corinthians 2 verse 11 )
“But the Lord directs his steps” meaning
“But the Lord directs his steps” means God’s plan surpasses men’s desires.
Man can make plans but cannot assure accomplishment and success. It is only the guidance and leading of God that guarantee success.
Our ability to plan does not put us above God. Every plan we make should be held in reverence and humility before God.
Bridges says, “As rational agents we think, consult, act freely. We are dependent agents, and the Lord exercises his own power in permitting, overruling, or furthering our actions. Thus man proposes, and God disposes.”
God is our maker and the author of our lives. He has the right and the best plans for us.
He said to Jeremiah in chapter 29 verse 11,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God weighs our hearts and checks if our plans match His will. He only orders our steps in the direction that aligns with His divine plans and purpose of life.
What is the difference in biblical translations of Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV, KJV, NIV & ESV)?
Proverbs 16:9 New King James Version biblical translation “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps..”
Proverbs 16:9 King James Version biblical translation “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 New International Version biblical translation “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 English Standard Version biblical translation “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
There is no difference between NKJV and KJV translations. The 2 translations are written almost the same way.
Plan in NKJV is replaced by devise in KJV. The two words mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.
In the same way, there is no difference between NIV and ESV translations.
Humans plan their course, in NIV is replaced by man plans his way, in ESV. The two phrases mean planning a progression.
The four translations have the same meaning.
What is Proverbs 16:9 prayer?
All knowing God, I thank you for the thought you have towards me. I believe you have a great future for me. Teach me how to make my plans according to Your will. May my hope and expectation continue to grow daily as I follow your leading. Let my mind, heart, and soul be focused on things that please you. AMEN.
Sometimes the plans we make may be good but God knows the end from the beginning and may take us to a different place. He holds the future in His hands. He will direct our feet in the way that is best for us.
When you get to a crossroad in life and don’t know what else to do, Surrender to God, and move in the direction He chooses for you.
Psalms 23 verse 1 says,
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ”
A wise man will plan but not keep God out of his plans, for the preparations of the heart belong to man, while the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. God holds the future.
We make wise choices according to man’s ways but always remember that the human mind is full of evil. The plans of the heart belong to man but God has the final answer.
The only way for a good man and righteous man to a glorious destination is through the path ordained by God. He holds the wise people with his right hand at all times.