Proverbs 16

1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
    but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
    but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established.
The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
    even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
    be assured, he will not go unpunished.
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
    and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
When a man's ways please the Lord,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Better is a little with righteousness
    than great revenues with injustice.
The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.
10 An oracle is on the lips of a king;
    his mouth does not sin in judgment.
11 A just balance and scales are the Lord's;
    all the weights in the bag are his work.
12 It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
    for the throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
    and he loves him who speaks what is right.
14 A king's wrath is a messenger of death,
    and a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of a king's face there is life,
    and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
    To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17 The highway of the upright turns aside from evil;
    whoever guards his way preserves his life.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor
    than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
    and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise of heart is called discerning,
    and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it,
    but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious
    and adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
    sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
    but its end is the way to death.
26 A worker's appetite works for him;
    his mouth urges him on.
27 A worthless man plots evil,
    and his speech is like a scorching fire.
28 A dishonest man spreads strife,
    and a whisperer separates close friends.
29 A man of violence entices his neighbor
    and leads him in a way that is not good.
30 Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things;
    he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.
31 Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained in a righteous life.
32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.

Gray hair is a crown of glory.

I’ve heard this part of today’s key verse recited many times by graying elders in my life, often with a chuckle as they blew out their birthday candles. In my youth, I thought this verse described the beautiful, crowning achievement of living to a ripe old age, but today with a bit more maturity and emerging gray hairs, I think I’m finally starting to understand this verse isn’t about simply living another day. No, the crown of glory is “gained in a righteous life” and represents faithfully walking in line with God’s best even when it includes pain and hardship. Remaining in His ways isn’t always easy, but it is good.

Pause: Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life (vs. 31).

Ponder: Who in my life wears a crown of glory gained through righteous living? How is this person an example to me of faithfully walking with the Lord through the highs and lows of life? Am I living a life that others will want to imitate? 

Pray: Lord, I am continually amazed how Your Word is ever new to me. I love how You have promised my sisters and me sweet blessings as we walk in Your ways. Yes, the journey with You isn’t always easy, but as we age and lean into You, we are growing through the hard things, the potholes littering our path. May I daily give thought to Your ways and trust in You (vs. 20).

— Jaime Sherman