Planning and the Answer of the Lord

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man” (Prov. 15:11, ESV)! Sheol is the place of the dead. Abbadon is a synonym of Sheol (from the word, “perish”). Even Sheol cannot hide from the eyes of the Lord; how much more the hearts of people? We are all naked before the eyes of God. You can hide nothing from God, including the secrets of your heart.

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD” (Prov. 16:1, ESV). Though the Lord knows your heart, you are still responsible to make your plans. The plans of your heart belong to you. But the answer belongs to the Lord. At day’s end, it is God who answers the plans of your heart.It is God who responds to your plans.

We therefore can never escape the divine decisions. We make our own plans. But it is God who works out the answer to our plans. Hence, we are totally dependent on God.

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit” (Prov. 16:2, ESV). Our plans may be pure in our eyes. But it is God who weighs our spirits. Despite our good intentions, God weighs our motives. Therefore, we must be guard against self-deception.

Perhaps a good example is Filipino Christians in the USA. They tell their church in the USA that they’re going back on a “mission trip.” They’re going to help the poor Filipino churches. They’re going to preach the Word. They’re going to encourage the pastors. It sounds nice. It sounds right.

But some go on a mission trip so that their supporters will shoulder their plane fare. They do it so that they don’t need to spend their own money. At the same time, they claim to do God’s work.

Yet the Lord weighs their hearts. He knows who are the hypocrites.

Our motives may be pure before our eyes. But it is the Lord who determines the real intents of our hearts. In other words, my judgment may be subjective. But the Lord’s judgment is objective. You may fool your supporting church, but not the Lord.

Even though everything is right, everything may not be right. Everything may be right, but who can really be sure? Nobody can be sure that your heart is right, because nobody can see your true motives. But the Lord sees your true intentions.

Therefore, the last word belongs to the Lord. Only His judgment makes it right, for He weighs your heart.

So then, what is the wisest thing to do this New Year? Prov. 16:3, “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. The word, “commit” (Heb. galal) is interesting. It means, “to roll away” (qal). Literally, roll away your work to the Lord. It means—entrust your actions to the Lord.

The word, “established” (Heb. koon), means, “stable, secure.” (BDB/TWOT) Your heart lies open before the eyes of the Lord. He sees the secrets of your heart. Despite your good intentions, He weighs your real motives.

So the wisest thing to do is to entrust yourself to the Lord. If you do that, He will secure your plans. He will establish it.


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