Are The Preparations of The Heart Really From Man?

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Hi D____,

Thank you for your question concerning “the preparations of the heart belonging to man”.
I am glad that you are able to see that even though the Hebrew may indeed say that the preparations of the heart belong to men, that does not preclude those preparations being “from God”. It is in this very same book that we read this, just four chapters later:

Pro 20:24 Man’s goings [ good or evil] are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

This verse is no different from Joseph twice telling his brothers that they had sold him into Egypt:

Gen 45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I [ am] Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6 For these two years [ hath] the famine [ been] in the land: and yet [ there are] five years, in the which [ there shall] neither [ be] earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Just like Pro 16:1, Joseph tells his brothers that “You sold me into Egypt… You sold me here”. But what are the very next words out of his mouth?

Gen 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

So what do we find in verse four of this very same chapter of Pro 16?

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

We find this same paradox in the New Testament where we are exhorted to “Work out your own salvation” as if our salvation depended upon what we do. But what does the very next verse say? It says the same thing we find in Gen 45:4-8 and in Proverb 16:1-4. Here it is again here in the New Testament:

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Once again, both our will, “The preparations of the heart in man” and our actions, “the answer of the tongue” are all “of the Lord”, good or evil, because God is “working all things [ good and evil] after the counsel of His own will.”
I could go on, and on, showing that even our sins are “not I that do it, but sin that dwells in me” because of a law which God sustains, called “the law of sin and death… which is in my members” in Romans seven.

Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [ how] to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

There is but one lawgiver, who sustains even this law of sin in our members.

Jas 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

I hope this helps you to better understand how we can be said to have our own thoughts, work out our own salvation, and yet be told that it is all “of the Lord”

Pro 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Pro 20:24 Man’s goings [ good and evil] are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

These words are not for a blinded world, they are for you and me. We are “the wicked” for our own “day of evil”. But it will “all work together for good”, because “all things come alike to all” in the end.

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

“All things” includes the preparations of the heart”, as well as “the answer of the tongue”, and it is all “for good”.

Your brother in Christ,

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