The Meaning Of Proverbs 16:9 (the Lord establishes their steps)

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

We all make plans for our lives of some sort. Plans to accomplish, experience, and make impacts. And this proverb offers us wisdom in how we make those plans. The meaning of Proverbs 16:9 invites us to think about the intricate relationship between human plans and God’s will. 

This verse has some profound truth for us today that can help us align our plans with God’s will. Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of Proverbs 16:9. 

The Context Of Proverbs 16:9

The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that center around how to gain wisdom and live wisely. It covers various aspects of life, offering practical advice on morality, relationships, work, and daily living. It’s one of the most unique and practical books in the Bible. 

In Proverbs 16 Solomon places a strong emphasis on human motives, self-control, and common sense. These proverbs reflect on the heart of man and the sovereignty of God. The challenge is to be wise by committing one’s ways to God rather than making our own plans. 

This section of Proverbs reveals that God has a purpose and a plan for his creation. While we might not always be privy to what the details are, we should still trust in his ways. 

The Meaning Of Proverbs 16:9 

Now that we know the context, let’s take a closer look at the Proverbs 16:9 meaning. 

In Their Hearts Humans Plan Their Course

Most of us have some sort of plan for our lives. Experiences we want to have, things we want to accomplish, or impacts we want to make. We all make plans for our lives. And there’s nothing inherently wrong about making plans. The issue comes when we prioritize our plans over God’s. 

When we make plans we should do so with humility and in obedience to what God says. Nothing we plan, or do, should override what God says is best. Ultimately it’s not us who’s in control anyway. We can come up with the best of plans, but God is the one who is ultimately in control. 

But The Lord Establishes Their Steps

Solomon drives this point home with the second part of this verse. This goes back to what he wrote a few verses prior in Proverbs 16:1. It is God who determines what will ultimately happen. 

This idea isn’t just found in Proverbs, it’s found throughout the Bible. Nothing we can do can override God’s will and plan. He is the one who has the power and the wisdom to decide what is best. 

Therefore, we should plan our lives according to God’s will. We should walk by the light of God’s Word and not our own wisdom. When we make our own plans not only will they fail, they cannot lead us to a full life. God’s plans will not fail, and they will lead us to the peace and joy that he has for us. 

How Proverbs 16:9 Applies To Your Life 

Proverbs 16:9 invites readers to align their lives with God’s will. Throughout the Bible, we see that those who do this will have a firm foundation to build their life upon. They are considered blessed, and they are promised peace and joy. 

The reality is we have a limited view; we do not know what’s going to happen tomorrow let alone years from now. And not only do we not know, we don’t have the power to change many things. But God does. He can see the end, and he wants to guide us through. Therefore, we should trust him and submit to his will… even when it doesn’t make sense. 

So, what does this actually mean? How can we live in God’s will? 

  1. Study God’s Word 
  2. Apply God’s Word 

In order to live by God’s will we have to know what it is first. This means that we regularly spend time building our faith through prayer, studying the Bible, and living in community with other believers. Over time we will come to learn what God’s will is for us. 

But it’s not good enough to just know God’s will for us, we’ve got to actually live it out. Many Christians know what the Bible says, but they don’t actually let it change how they live. Primarily being a Christian isn’t about knowledge, it’s about action. We’ve got to put what we know into action. 

When we do these things we will gain the wisdom we need to make plans that align with God’s. God will direct our paths and lead us into the future he has for us. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. 

Now check out: The Powerful Meaning Of Proverbs 4:23 (Guard Your Heart)

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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