Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 16:1-2: “The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.”
Verse 1: We all do what we plan to do, that is, we act according to the decisions of our heart. However, God reserves the right to oversee, overrule, or overtake our plans to let us see when our thinking is wrong. Other proverbs emphasize this fact: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9); “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’S counsel-that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). Long after our plans have failed, God’s plan is still active and better. Saul of Tarsus (later the Apostle Paul) was persecuting Jesus’ church, and Jesus commented to him: “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:15). No spiritual salvation ever came by “the will of man” (John 1:12-13), nor has God’s prophecy come from “the will of man” (2 Peter 1:21), so for a person’s “will” to be right, there must be a dependence upon God’s revealed Will, for “the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). “The answer of the tongue” means God will have the final say about all of our plans. Jesus said, “the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
Verse 2: No one does what is right or can be saved by doing only what they think is right! In the days when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), sin abounded. The sad fact is, we are the worst judges of the morality of our own behavior! Another proverb says: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). Hardly any human behavior begins without some “justification” in a person’s heart. Jesus condemned Pharisees with: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). Even the Apostle Paul recognized this when he said, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). The Bible stresses that righteousness only comes by doing right as defined by God, Himself! “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7).
No one can “testify” to his or her own salvation and Christian character without heeding the Word of God on the subject. God’s plan throughout the Bible was “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:26-28). Are you saved by Jesus Christ? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.