The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
This chapter opens with a doctrine that we should do well to keep always uppermost in our remembrance, at whatever part of the divine word we open. Yea, not only when we are about to read, but when we are about to pray: in every state, under every undertaking, at all times, and in all places, in life and death. Oh! for grace to remember this sweet scripture, and for strength in grace to wait humbly at the throne of God in Christ, for the accomplishment of it. See the confirmation of the same. James 1:17; Psalms 10:17; Philippians 2:13.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
I beg the Reader to mark particularly this last verse. That the Lord is the maker of all, is a truth well known. But all things are not only made by him, but for him, we are here told: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Reader! pray pause. The design of redemption, Paul was commissioned to tell the church was, that God Might in the. dispensation of the fulness of times, gather together in one all things in Christ, Ephesians 1:10. Consequently all things include both good and bad; the one for happiness, the other for destruction; and the whole for the divine glory in the everlasting felicity of his redeemed, and the everlasting misery of the damned. And the song in heaven John heard was to the same effect, that God had made all things for himself. It was addressed to the Lamb, but the glory terminated not there; God in Christ, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, had the ascription, Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. Revelation 5:9. From Jehovah is the first cause, and to Jehovah as the final end. And what a world of mystery, wonder and glory is folded up in that short scripture, the deceived and the deceiver are his. Job 12:16.
Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
All these are most certain and solemn truths. The latter verse should always be in the believer's recollection. We are so apt to look to second causes, that we frequently overlook the first great, and predisposing cause of all. Whereas did we but keep in remembrance what we cannot but know, that the hearts of all men are in the Lord's disposal, neither the frowns nor smiles of men would have anymore than their proper effect. In proof of this, Reader, pray read Joseph's faith on this occasion: Genesis 45:4-8. And then read the church's account to the same: Psalms 105:25. And then read the words of a greater than all, and upon the greatest of all occasions: John 19:10-11.
Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment. A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right. The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain. How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him. An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
If the Reader hath his eye constantly waiting upon the Holy Ghost, as he goes through these many verses, very sure I am that that blessed Spirit will give him to see Christ in many a part. And his conclusion therefrom will be like the beginning, and the end of this chapter. It is the Lord that prepares the heart. And it is the Lord that disposeth the heart, and all things, when the lot is cast into the lap.
READER! I cannot better direct both your heart and my own, to a suitable subject for the Lord to bless to our joint reflections, than what this chapter, both at the opening and close, brings before us. If it be the Lord that prepares the heart, and gives the answer of the tongue; where shall we look both for habitual and actual preparations, but from him? Oh! that there may be always such a going forth of our minds upon the person and graces of the Lord Jesus, by the sweet influences of the Holy Ghost, that whether we read, or hear, or pray, or praise; faith in him and his great salvation may be always uppermost in our affections. Yes! blessed glorifier of my Lord! I do beseech thee to give to me this constant, habitual, and unceasing preparation, that the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart may be always acceptable in thy sight, 0 Lord my strength and my Redeemer. Sure I Am, that without thee I can do nothing. There is nothing in me disposed to do what is good. Nay, Lord, there is in me everything that is indisposed. And therefore, Lord! undertake for me. Work in me both to will and to do of thy good pleasure. And then, Lord, my voice shalt thou hear betimes in the morning, yea, I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 16". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent