Proverbs 16

 Wise Steps

Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3 NKJV

A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

In order to reach a life goal like going to college and getting a good fulfilling job, to be financially secure, or happily married, and so on, we need to take the right steps in order to achieve our goals. The steps our dysfunctional culture would have us take will lead us away from our goal rather than to our goal.

 God has placed steps for success in this book of Proverbs as well as in the entire Bible. Let’s look at a few steps in Chapter 16.

Verse 11 speaks of honest weights. Steps to success include being honest and consistently fair to all. This builds trust. If we can't be trusted we won’t be trusted.  In order to be successful we need other people to help us toward our goal; people like teachers, coaches, good friends, employers and customers. Like it or not, if we are to reach our goal, it will take the help of others and they will need us in order to reach their goals.

If I am a poor worker, late to work every day, I am a distraction to my employer and an obstacle to his success. If I cheat or take advantage of a customer why should they come back? A wise man understands that the customers of his employer are his customers because they are the source of income to pay his salary. Remember Solomon's goal in Proverbs was to teach his son how to be a king or for us a leader. An employer or leader will only be as good as the people under his leadership, so both employer and employee need to take their responsibility seriously. (See verses 12&13)

In verses 18-20 we find that we need to be humble before we will receive instruction. Pride is blind. It thinks it has all the answers and is happy to tell them to anyone who will listen. Why should a coach, a teacher, or an employer, waste their time on someone who refuses to be taught, or seeks only to bring attention to themselves? (See verses 21&22)

Verses 23&24 show us the benefits of a right heart reflected by good words.Our words are a window to the heart. In any group setting like a classroom, place of employment, church, or club, there is one in authority trying to teach or lead and there is usually one person (or more) who, by trying to bring attention to themselves, will distract everyone else. This is a great time waster. Let's put it in dollars using a classroom as an example. If there were 30 students in class for an hour and minimum wage was say, $10:00 an hour. At the very least $300.00 of education would have been wasted, not taking into account the teacher and staff. The cost of the building needs to be considered as well. The cost to operate and support the facility could easily make this figure $1000.00. But what if some or all of the students did not reach their goal in life because they allowed themselves to be distracted and had to settle for a lower paying job rather than a higher paying job because they didn't get the grades to go to college. How much money would have been wasted then? The class clown can be a costly comedian.

Verses 27-30 warn of other ways we can be tripped up from reaching our goal and the wise man needs to be aware of them. He also needs to consider if these verses describe the people he hangs out with and what he is listening to. The old computer saying applies here. Garbage in, garbage out.  We might think we are immune to what we watch or hear but in reality we are taking it in and it may leak out and block your goals. We need to be taking the right steps toward our goals if we are to achieve them. (See verses 13&32)

There are many other verses in this and the other chapters we have studied that show the steps God has put in place that will keep us from dysfunction. Homework for today is to begin to make a list of things specific to us and our situation that we can put into practice and to note distractions we need to be aware of. (Verse 17)

To close let me share the verse I read this morning.

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

Pastor Dave