Proverbs 16:9 - God Is In Control And Sovereign!
Proverbs 16:9 - God Is In Control And Sovereign!
Proverbs 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]
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
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]
Fred Smith says he doesn't pray for miracles or success. What
does he pray for?
* A willingness to join God in his process and his work.
* A redemptive spirit, equipped with biblical principles, as
he faces day-to-day opportunities.
* Consciousness that God is present and cares.
So where does success come in? Smith says, "I believe in
working for success much more than praying for it. Pray for maturity,
and work for success. Work enthusiastically, work intelligently,
work intensely, and work ethically."
The truth is, the results of all activities are in God's
hands; our role is to energetically engage with life, to discern as
best we can how to work and live, prayerfully seeking to be in step
with the Holy Spirit.
Not that we can't lay specific requests before the Lord. Yet,
in humility, we accept what happens. As Smith once pointed out,
both Daniel and Stephen prayed and obeyed God, with very different
results. Daniel was delivered from the lions, but Stephen was stoned to
Only our sovereign God sees it all and understands the
meaning and his plans. It's helpful to remember that Stephen saw heaven
open as he was stoned, and was ushered into glory. We pray, but we
have no idea how God will answer our prayers. We trust him, we pray,
and we energetically set out to do his will as we perceive it.
Most of us have areas of resistance to following through on
what we know we should be doing. Fred Smith admitted he was not
gifted in evangelism, yet he believed he needed to be involved with
others. Each morning, therefore, he simply prayed, "Lord, today I won't
So we pray for resilience, courage, hope, and wisdom. As has
often been said, we then watch to see what God is up to.
Lord, do your work in me so I may do your work in the world.
Help me to accept all results of prayer, including disappointments,
with trust and love for you. Help me to live in your peace in your
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Proverbs 16: 9, NLT [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra]
Conscience is like a compass. If a compass is faulty, you'll
quickly get off course. A conscience gets its signals from the heart,
which can be dulled, hardened, or calloused....
In order for one's conscience to be a good guide, one the
Spirit can direct, it needs to be healthy, sensitive, and capable of
getting God's message and truth.
When one realizes the true condition of the heart without God
and ponders the impact of his or her sinfulness, there is an
emotional reaction--greater in some than in others. But there is an
emotional reaction. I have offended. I have grieved the heart of God. I
have driven nails into Christ's hands with my sins. That does
something to my emotions when I, as a sinner, realize that. When the truth
of forgiveness and grace and God's overwhelming love pour over me,
there is an emotional reaction. And I must admit that. When I realize
that God has reserved a home in heaven for me--a reprobate sinner who
was running in the other direction when He stopped me, turned me
around in grace, and brought me to Himself-- that brings an emotional
response. Don't deny those emotions!
God gave you a mind. Use it to know Him better.. Study the
doctrines that put steel into the cement of your faith. Exercise your
God gave you a will. Use it to obey Him. Make decisions that
honor Him and please Him. Exercise your will!
And God gave you emotions. Don't be afraid of them. Let them
out. Allow your heart to show through. Exercise your emotions!
If we refuse to open up, to allow the full prism of His love
and truth to shine through our lives, we will miss much of the color
life has to offer. (Flying Closer to the Flame by Charles Swindoll)
God has given us free will. We have the ability to make choices
for our own lives - whether good or bad. So how can we be sure we're
making the right choices? Ask God. His Word gives guidance and
direction for each step we take (Proverbs 3:6). He will always lead us on
the right path - guaranteed (Psalm 37:23). [The 365 Daily Promise
Bible By Barbour]
If your heart is not devoted to God's purposes, then it will
lead you astray. Take time to think and pray, meditate on the Word,
and make your plans; and then trust the Lord to guide you. [Chapter
by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe re Pro.16]
LINK FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
EXCELLENT VIDEO SERIES ON EXPERIENCING GOD:
EXCELLENT BIBLE PROPHECY SERIES BY DR RON CLOUZET: