Devotional by David Niednagel, Pastor, Teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P method for his daily devotional time. Study, observe, apply, pray.
Prov. 16:1-3 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
We all make plans – big plans (our career, who we will marry, etc) and small plans (what to do today, should I have a second piece of desert, etc). Plans are made on what we desire most, what we think will give us the greatest satisfaction. So we think our plans are good. We don’t make what we think are bad plans, or plans that we think will fail.
But we are finite – we don’t know the future, (James 4:13) and often we don’t even know our own motives. God knows both – the factors outside us and the ones inside us. This verse says the Lord “weighs the spirits/motives” The word for spirit is also the word for wind, breath. We cant weigh a breath or motive, but God can, and He does. He knows some things that look good on the outside come from sinful and selfish reasons in our hearts. I thought of that again in India seeing a mighty castle built 300 years ago on top of a mountain. I’m sure there were good reasons (a place difficult to attack) but there was also so much ego of the ruler and so many people enslaved to build it. God weighed their motives, and he weighs ours. All humans are sinful and can justify to ourselves why our plans are OK. The purpose of this proverb is to get us to examine our motives as honestly as we can, and ask God to shine light in our hearts and expose the truth.
Lord, as sinful people we don’t want to be exposed, (John 3:19-21) but as those who have been delivered from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son, (Col 1:13-14) it is wonderful to walk in the light! Thank You for examining our hearts and motives. Help me always choose to walk in that light and avoid the danger and damage of being limited to my own understanding. (Prov 3:5-6) Help me trust that You know everything – and that Your ways are perfect.(Rom 12:1-2) Help me always pray about all my plans and the motives behind them. I want to live without regret and without needless frustration. Thank You for doing and revealing what I cant and what I need so much! Amen.