Making Plans and Delighting Leaders

Making Plans and Delighting Leaders

Wisdom for Living Well with Others – Class 6
Proverbs 16:1-19

16:1-9, Control versus Trust
Multiple times, this section observes that while humans like to lay plans in order to control outcomes, the Lord claims sovereignty over both the path taken and the eventual outcome. That basic message is related in several sayings, but there is also a distinctive nuance to each proverb that relates to that subject.
Verse one and verse nine, with slightly different wording, state that we make plans in our hearts, but the actual execution of those plans is in the hands of the Lord. All is subject to the will of the Lord. See James 4:13-15.
Between verses one and nine, the sovereignty of the Lord is acknowledged in some special circumstances.

Vs. 2 – The Lord is considering more than our plans and actions. Our intentions and motives carry great weight. See Hebrews 4:12.

Vs. 3 – The Lord desires to be included in the planning process as we “inquire of the Lord.” See David’s success in 1 Sam. 23:1-5 and Ahaz’s failure in Isaiah 7:10-17. See also Colossians 3:17.

Vs. 4 – Even those who are wicked and rebellious can be used by the Lord in their hardheartedness to accomplish the Lord’s purposes. This is the lesson of Pharaoh as explained in Romans 9:16. Proverbs 16:5-6 goes on to say that the proud will held in abomination by the Lord, but those who live in love, faith, and fear of the Lord will find honor in God’s sight.

Vs. 7 – When the primary objective of our plans and choices is to please God, we will find peace in even adverse circumstances.

16:10-15, Kings Rule
One purpose of the collection of wisdom sayings that make up the book of Proverbs was to educate Israel’s leadership. When Solomon became king, he famously was blessed with great wisdom. (1 Kings 3:3-15). The book of Proverbs passed that wisdom on to succeeding leadership. Leaders from all contexts and generations can benefit from Solomon’s advice about leadership.

Vs. 10 – A leader’s word carries much weight and consequence. Therefore, he must be careful and just with his words.

Vs. 12 – All authority emanates from the Lord (Rom. 13:1). Therefore, all in leadership should honor the Lord’s character.

Vs. 13 – A leader relies on information and input he receives from those who serve under him. Therefore, a good leader is best served by those who speak truthfully.

Vs. 15 – A happy leader sets the tone for a happy atmosphere enjoyed by all.

16-19, Better things
In Solomon’s previously mentioned prayer request, he considered wisdom better than riches. That was a great beginning, but one must always guard against temptation and beware of pride, or leaders can lose their way, leading followers astray. It is better to be among the lowly than among the proud.