The Intervention of The Lord: Man’s Walk On Earth (1): Proverbs 16:8-9
8) Better [is] a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. 9) A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
EXPOSITION: In verses 8-9, we find Solomon explaining that the Lord actively intervenes in the walk of the righteous on earth. His teachings on this subject will be finished in verses 31-33 of this same chapter.
8) Better [is] a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
Here, we find a basic principle concerning the earthly walk of the saints of God… Righteousness of a Christian’s thoughts, desires, motives and actions far outweigh any of the riches that this fallen world has to offer.
Keep in mind that righteousness has two aspects to it…
1. It describes a CONDITION where man is “right” in the sight of the Lord. This means that the saint is at peace and accepted by God based upon the shed blood of Christ on the cross. He is no longer facing eternal separation from the Lord in the Lake of Fire, but, now, is adopted into God’s family and promised to live in the eternal presence of God.
2. It describes a WAY OF LIVING, where the saint lives a life that is “right” in the sight of God. It is a life that is pleasing to God through the gracious intervention and enabling of the Lord.
In the context of our study this morning, Solomon is using the term “righteousness” to describe a person’s way of living. Solomon is telling us that, when a man lives a life that pleases the Lord, many times, he must sacrifice the riches that this world has to offer. This type of life is more desirable and more beneficial than a life that is lived in disobedience to God, motivated by a selfish desire to accumulate the riches of this world.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Timothy 6:6-9)
“A little that a righteous man hath [is] better than the riches of many wicked.” (Psalms 37:16)
9) A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
1. A man’s desires are the driving force behind his goals and plans for life: For the saint, he desires to live a righteous life that is pleasing to His Lord. He realizes that a righteous life will bring honor to His Lord, blessings to those around him, and eternal rewards to himself.
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15-16)
For the wicked, his desires are to accumulate the riches, pleasures, and fame of this world. He is spiritually blind to the eternity that awaits him. He lives according to the philiosphy that says “eat, drink, and be merry” not considering his eternal end.
“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry. But God said unto him, [Thou] fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So [is] he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
2. Although man makes many plans based upon the desires within him, the Lord is the One that confirms and brings about his accomplishments in life.
“O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)
The Lord is the One in control of man’s life and the circumstances that affect it.
“Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11)
SUMMARY: It is through the intervention of the Lord into the lives of His people that they are given the ability and desire to live Godly, righteous lives. Although man may plan to attain many goals in his life, the Lord is the One that controls and brings to pass that which we accomplish.
May we all recognize, and appreciate the ever existing intervention of the Lord in our lives, accompanying, enabling and gracing us to accomplish that which He desires.
By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.
May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.
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