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Last week we asked the question, can we all get along. We learned about the importance of the Bible and knowing what it says. Confrontation is not something that is fun, but is a necessity. The Apostle Paul talked of the importance of coming together as a church and he assumed that it’s a regular occurrence. This morning, we talk about two topics that are essential to our lives; money and planning.
Proverbs 16:8-9 says, “Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice. The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
And now for some more money talk. The Bible has a lot to say about finances and we see it again here. “Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.” Someone that equates prosperity with righteousness has a very narrow view of Christianity and likely has never left this country. Solomon says it’s better to be right with God and not have everything under the sun than it is to have a lot and be at odds with God. Remember back in 15:27 he said, “He who profits illicitly troubles his own house.” He’s not saying it’s wrong to have a lot. He’s saying it’s better to have a little that was obtained honestly than it is to have a lot that was obtained by injustice. So the obvious question surrounds injustice. What is Solomon talking about? Injustice here is defined as an unjust act or occurrence. Not everyone that has a lot gained it dishonestly, but Solomon is providing a contrast. He knows that we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and we don’t need to do that. The assumption is also that if you’re reading these words, you’re likely someone who wants to walk with God, who has a desire to live a holy and godly life or you’re at least seeking how you can be reconciled to God. I think that’s a good assumption for most of Scripture. There are things in Scripture meant only for believers, but the principles found in the Bible are good and right regardless of who puts them into practice. I think of all the scams out there that defraud people of what they earned. I think of the theft related crime out there that defrauds people of their own property. I think there is even an idea among some people that take from the “rich” because they can afford it, but this isn’t a political issue. Solomon is contrasting righteousness with unrighteousness – plain and simple. The righteous man walks with God; the unrighteous man does not.
Here’s some strategic planning. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Planning is one of the keys to success regardless of your vocation. Moms plan weekly menus to facilitate nutritional and supermarket success. College students plan their classes to make sure they meet the requirements of their degrees. Coaches plan practices to make sure their athletes are ready for competition. Some of you guys even planned a nice Valentine’s Day date with your sweetheart. People use planning for everyday life, but it’s important in your spiritual life too. Solomon is saying that men make plans to accomplish goals, but it is, “The Lord that directs his steps.” This ties in with the ways of a man’s heart. We have lots of verses regarding the leading and guiding of the Lord. Ps. 37:23 reminds us, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” We’re not talking about getting from one geographic place to another. People today spend a lot of time planning out their lives. Solomon is talking about seeking God and fulfilling the plans He has for you. As I’ve said before, there’s nothing wrong with making plans for your life, but God must be considered before everything else. What will you do if and when God changes your plan? Will you be willing to submit yourself to God? Regarding worldly planning, Ja. 4:14-15 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” Are you afraid of the Lord’s will? I think it’s a valid question. Are you willing to accept His will for your life?