Proverbs 16 starts with some profound truths: namely, if we want to build well, God has to be our foundation and inspiration. “Mortals make elaborate plans, but GOD has the last word.” (Prov 16:1) “Put GOD in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.” (Prov 16:3) It’s sometimes said in almost a clichéd fashion that God has a plan for our lives, but this is actually true: “GOD made everything with a place and purpose.” (Prov 16:4) We may not understand why God allowed evil into the world, but it’s clear from this verse that God is not taken by surprise by evil and even works this into His plans (see also Romans 8:28). Absolutely nothing can take Him by surprise; He is supreme and over all and in total control! The writer understands that humans plan and think they’re in control of their own destinies, but he also understands that God is in control: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (Prov 16:9)

Proverbs 16 talks also about leadership (Prov 16:10-15) and how leaders need to act – wisely, honestly, with kindness, without exploitation or manipulation. Honesty, integrity, right living – these are the things of real value. As the Message version says of Proverbs 16:16: “choose insight over income every time.” There is so much more to life than the material and once again, we see that we are wise if we learn to trust in God: “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” (Prov 16:20) It sounds almost too good to be true, too easy to actually work, but of course, it takes a lifetime to master!