READING: Proverbs 16-18
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: There is so much wisdom in Proverbs that I think I sometimes miss it. In today
’s readings, these statements are simple, but profound. They are so simple, in fact, that I realize my foolishness if I don’t follow them.
1. I might make my own plans, but the Lord knows my heart.
I may believe my choices are right, but the Lord peers through my decisions to see my heart. He alone is able to see when I have deceived myself into thinking all is right — as even righteous people might do. He is the “tester of [my] heart” (Prov. 17:3). I am reminded that my heart left alone from the power of God always leans in the wrong direction.
Prov. 16:2 All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives.
2. I would be wise to restrain my words and listen more.
To be honest, I lead myself into trouble more often than I care to admit. On one hand, I tend
to react quickly and speak too rapidly when confronted with an issue. On the other hand, I
listen far too little. The writer of Proverbs thus hits me at two levels:
Prov. 17:27 The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a
man of understanding.
Prov. 18:13 The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and
disgrace for him.
3. My tendency to be introverted and isolated is not helpful.
I admit that I enjoy my own time, but I must also admit my recurrent failures because I’ve
often sought too little input from others (another theme of Proverbs). I need to monitor
myself more to make sure that I’m not hindering my work and my witness by isolating
myself. What I need to do is remember that God always knows my heart (#1 above)
Prov. 18:1 One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound
PRAYER: Pray that I — and all of us — will live with godly motives today. Pray we will live in community, listen well, and speak wisely.
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 19-21