The Ways of Man

Proverbs chapter 16 contains many phrases pertaining to the “way,” or path, that a man might take. In fact, it seems to be a theme of the chapter.

Verse 2 states: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” This speaks to the heart of man being “deceitful…and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Our own ways seem “clean” to us, they seem all right, but the verse ends by saying, “the Lord weigheth the spirits.” This is an interesting statement. The word “weigheth” there means “balances, equalizes, adjusts to the standard.” The word “spirits” means “disposition (of various kinds), unaccountable or uncontrollable impulse.” God takes our unaccountable disposition, our uncontrollable impulses, and brings us balance, and adjusts us to the standard (His Word!).

Verse 3 admonishes us to “Commit (our) works unto the Lord, and (our) thoughts shall be established.” Now, we know that ways (works) and thoughts are connected…His ways are above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts, and as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Through this idea, we can conclude that if you think it, you’ll do it. Your inward thoughts direct your outward actions. But this verse in Proverbs seems to suggest the opposite: if we commit our works unto the Lord, then our thoughts will be established. In other words, if you DO RIGHT THINGS, eventually you will THINK RIGHT THOUGHTS. What an amazing revelation. We can actually “train our brain” by doing what we know to be right, even though our carnal nature, our “flesh,” is against it. He that “knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). We do good, it trains our brain to think right, which results in more “doing” right, etc. It’s not a “vicious” circle, it’s a VICTOR’S circle!

Then we come to verse 9: “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” We must live our lives in such a way, we must BE where we are supposed to BE, that when our heart (deceitful and wicked) tells us to do something, the Lord directs our steps. His Word is a LAMP unto our FEET (revealing where we are) and a LIGHT unto our PATH (revealing where we should go). When we let the Lord direct our steps, we are overriding what our heart is telling us to do. And the more we do this, the closer we can walk with our Lord! In fact, verse 17 says, “…he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.” And verse 32 tells us that “…he that ruleth his spirit (is better) than he that taketh a city”!

And don’t forget the best advice concerning the ways of man. Verse 25 says: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Your way can’t SEEM right, it must BE right. Allow the Lord to adjust your ways to the standard of His Word. Walk with God. Be pleasing in His sight. Rule your spirit well. And as Proverbs 3:6 says: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Category(s): Christianity, Hope, Old Testament, Preaching, Religion, Salvation

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