What Does Proverbs 16:1 Mean?

The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:1(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

God is sovereign over all the earth and His supreme plans and purposes will prevail. However from the beginning of creation, man was given a free-will, and we read in this verse that, "the plans of the heart belong to man."

The responsibility to make good choices or even bad decisions, is given into the heart of man, but this does not suggest that God has somehow lost His authority in our lives, for the verse continues.. "but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord."

The sovereignty of the Lord is not diminished because of man's God-given ability to make his own, free-will choices. Conversely, man's volition and human accountability is not thwarted by the sovereign authority of God.

It is God's grace that has endowed man with a will to make choices, a mind to think things through, and a heart to make plans. However, when man has done all he is able to do.. it is also by God's grace that the Lord formulates the ultimate outcome - for although the plans of the heart belong to man (by God's grace).. nevertheless, the answer of the tongue is from the Lord - (also by God's amazing grace.)

How often we have formed our plans and purposes only to have them changed, mid-stream. And yet, as we reflect on the outcome, we often recognise that it was by God's grace that He guided us in a different direction, to a more fruitful outcome.

The mind of a man may plan his way, but the Lord in His grace guides our steps. Many plans may be hiding in the heart of a man, but our gracious God directs our way, for the counsel of the Lord will stand firm, forever.

This verse is not informing us that our decisions are of little consequence. It does not withhold man's responsibility for the choices he takes nor does it deny man's accountability for the actions he undertakes and the words he speaks. This verse is highlighting the importance for every child of God, to use our God-given free-will to choose wisely.. as we seek to carry out His perfect will, in the choices we make.

The psalmist tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart.. for when our heart is turned towards our heavenly Saviour, His perfect desire will become the perfect plans of our inner being.

When we abide in Him and submit our will to His leading and guiding.. the plans of our heart, will align with God's purpose for our life.. and the answers we receive from the Lord, will become the delight of our heart - until we are able to say.. Thy will not mine be done, to Your praise and glory.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the many truths that are hidden within the precious pages of Your Word. I pray that the plans and purposes of my heart will mirror the desire of Your will for me. Thank You that my life is in Your hands, and I pray that the answer of my tongue and the plans for my life are perfectly aligned to Your Word and Your will. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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