Proverbs 16:9 - God Is In Control And Sovereign!

Proverbs 16:9: God Is In Control And Sovereign! 

Prov 16:9 (NIV)  In his heart a man plans his course, but the 
LORD determines his steps.  

The topic of this verse is God and His ultimate control over 
human activity. [Ryrie SB] 

This is a magnificent expression of the sovereignty of God, 
whereby Yahweh inevitably and without exception accomplishes His will 
and purpose through free-willed agents acting freely but 
responsibly. Man must be a free agent to be in the image of God, and God must 
be immutable, i.e., unchanging, in order to be God (Mal. 3:6). 
Permitting or overruling the acts of man without infringing upon his 
freedom or interrupting his responsibility (e.g., the brothers of Joseph 
in Gen. 37:26-28; 45:5) is an awesome expression of God's 
providence. [Believer's SB] 

Everything that we do is done by the life that God lends us and 
therefore by His permission. Man devises but does not know whether he will 
live to carry out his plans. Obviously, in recognition of this truth 
some Christian people adopted the custom of saying, "God willing," 
when they announced their future plans (see James 4:13-15). [SDA 

As a reasonable creature, that has the faculty of contriving for 
himself: His heart devises his way, designs an end, and projects ways and 
means leading to that end, which the inferior creatures, who are 
governed by sense and natural instinct, cannot do. The more shame for him 
if he do not devise the way how to please God and provide for his 
everlasting state. But as a depending creature, that is subject to the 
direction and dominion of his Maker. If men devise their way, so as to 
make God's glory their end and his will their rule, they may expect 
that he will direct their steps by his Spirit and grace, so that they 
shall not miss their way nor come short of their end. (Matthew Henry's 

That God has an "eternal purpose" for all things is both 
scriptural and logical. If God is God at all, He is sovereign. He cannot 
work independently of His own nature, for then He would cease to be 
God, something that is impossible. He is a wise God; therefore, His 
eternal purpose is a wise one. He is a powerful God; therefore, He is 
able to accomplish what He purposes. He is a loving God; therefore, 
what He purposes will manifest His love. He is an unchanging God; 
therefore, His purpose is unchanging. . . . . 
Words like "predestination" and "election" frighten some people 
and are greatly misunderstood by others. "If God has an eternal 
purpose, then why bother to do anything?" some people ask. "Why pray? Why 
send out missionaries? After all, God will certainly achieve His 
But not without us! God has ordained (and this is amazing) that 
His purposes shall be fulfilled in and through His church. Why pray? 
Because prayer is one of God's ordained ways to accomplish His will in 
us and through us. Why send out missionaries? Because He has 
commanded us to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth, and our 
obedience is a part of His ordained plan. God's eternal purpose, 
established "before the world was," is not an excuse for carelessness and 
disobedience. It is one of our greatest encouragements to obedience and 
God's eternal purpose is not fatalism. Rather, it is the perfect 
plan of a loving Father, and our Father loves us too much to harm us. 
He is too wise to make mistakes. "The counsel of the Lord stands 
forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation" (Psalm 
33:11). Note that important phrase: "the plans of His heart...." 
Please keep in mind that a part of God's eternal plan is the 
fact that man shall have moral freedom. Divine sovereignty and human 
responsibility do not conflict or contradict each other; they are friends, not 
enemies. . . .  
"But why did God plan it this way?" some may ask. Because His 
plan is the best. God cannot ordain less than the very best. There 
are some things about God's plan that we may not understand, but we 
agree with our Lord's affirmation of faith in Matthew 11:26, "Yes, 
Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy sight." And if any of us 
gets the idea that God needed our help as consultants, we had better 
listen again to Paul: "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who 
became His counselor?" (Romans 11:34). God did not need our help in 
framing His great plan, nor does He need our criticism of it. But He 
does want to share with us the privilege of working out His plan in 
this world. . . . . . . 
These truths were not given so that we might debate, but that we 
might surrender and worship. It is not a big head, but a burning 
heart, that proves we have grasped something of the meaning of God's 
eternal plan. [Prayer: Basic Training by Warren W. Wiersbe] 

Have you ever wondered what is in store for you regarding a 
spouse, family, job, or where you will live? The world will tell you 
that whatever happens is fate, chance, or perhaps the results of 
"karma." The Bible says clearly that God is in control and has a plan for 
your life... Asking for God's will to be done in your life means that 
you want him to direct you, and that you will be willing to follow 
those directions. God isn't trying to hide his will; he wants to show 
you! In the end, finding God's will comes down to obeying what you 
read in God's Word. As you walk obediently, God will guide you step 
by step. [The One Year Bible for New Believers re Gen. 18:17-19]