PDF  MSWord
A person’s heart devises his own road,
but Yahweh prepares his steps. Bible

“but Yahweh prepares his steps.” This proverb is very similar to Proverbs 16:1 in that it is an “ideal proverb,” expressing what happens in the life of a truly godly person. It is not a universal proverb in that it is not what happens in the life of ungodly people who reject God. There are a number of “ideal proverbs” like this in Proverbs (cp. Prov. 11:31; 13:25; 15:6; 16:1, 3, 7, 10; 18:3; 20:8; 21:1; 22:6). The book of Proverbs has many different kinds of proverbs, and some are universal and apply to everyone, while others, such as Proverbs 16:1 and 16:9, are written with the godly, humble, and obedient people in mind, to help them understand what happens in their life.

The godly person “devises” or plans what he will do in life, but he is working to please God and live a godly life, so God is directing and guiding him in what he is planning, which is why Yahweh can “prepare his steps.” Yahweh does not control the person, but the godly person actively seeks the wisdom and guidance of God in living his life, so God is actively preparing the person’s steps.

Yahweh prepares the steps of the godly person in many different ways: for one thing, the godly person makes a diligent effort to think and act in a godly manner; a manner that conforms to God’s Word and His character, such as the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). God also prepares a person’s steps by direct guidance and by bringing wise counselors into the person’s life. Also, God works behind the scenes such that the person who is seeking to be godly learns from examples in the world around him. In the end, the godly person will find that he makes plans concerning the life he desires to live, but he finds as he lives day to day that God has prepared that road for him. [For more on how we plan but God helps us, see commentary on Prov. 16:1].

Although the REV translation says “steps,” the Hebrew is singular, “step.” However, it is a collective noun, so we would say “steps” in English.


Commentary for: Proverbs 16:9