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Proverbs 16

As I’ve been re-reading these chapters again, I’m amazed at just how organized these writings actually are. In the past, I’ve thought the proverbs were recorded and collected rather randomly, but I should have known better. After teaching on wisdom, discipline, finances, and speech, King Solomon addresses how to plan with God and how to best serve your worldly leadership. I don’t know about you, reader, but I feel that sometimes it can be difficult to know how to account for both of this topics through the Christian worldview. About plans, the modern proverbs remind us that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” and “the road to Hell is full of good intentions;” if these are true, then why should we bother to plan? Of leadership, we’re told to “do all things as if we were searching God, not man” and “man can’t serve two masters;” if that’s the case, why prioritize the worldly leaders in our jobs and our governments?

King Solomon wasn’t a stranger to these questions. He grew up as the son of a man who made big plans, only to see them falter. He was a worldly leader in a nation that followed him and served God. Solomon encourages his readers to be passionate about their projects, to make plans for their futures, but he also promises that the outcomes of those plans will only come from God. When believers lay their plans before God, bring their passions to Him, and plot their steps with God’s guidance — that’s when they will find success. Solomon also advises his readers in their interactions with kings, whom he sets up as authority figures to respect and follow. He almost seems to give permission to seek a king’s favor, “like a rain cloud in spring,” which will be gained through righteousness and honest lips.

Verse 16: “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!”

Verse 18: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Verse 24: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

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