In Proverbs 21, the opening verse and the closing verse of the chapter both point to the same truth that isn’t readily acknowledged by many Christians, which is the fact that God is clearly in charge. God is in charge of the affairs of man. He is not distant and removed from day to day life on the earth. On the contrary, he directs the king’s heart. Look at verse 1:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.
God turns the king’s heart. “Heart” in this verse is the mind. It is the place where decisions are made, and God turns the king’s heart as He sees fit. Then, the closing verse reminds me of the same truth.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.
In this verse, “the horse is made ready” refers to all that man does to ensure the outcome that he desires on a particular task, event, contest, battle, etc. Preparation is made to win the war. Training occurs to be victorious. Every effort is made to be prepared for the storm. Structures are built to withstand winds and weather. Safety and shelter are sought when weather alerts warn of danger. However, in the end “victory belongs the Lord.” In the end, safety belongs to the Lord.
Seatbelts are worn. Airbags are installed. Speed limits are followed. But in the end, safety belongs to the Lord.
This amazing tension between man’s responsibility to do right, to choose wisely, to prepare appropriately, to seek the Lord, to pray without ceasing and God’s sovereignty is seen throughout the Bible.
In fact, the more you study the Bible the more you see it. Look at Luke 22:22:
For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”
In this verse, Scripture makes it clear that God determined before the foundation of the world the way that Jesus, the Son of Man, would go.
Yet, there is no immunity for the men who were involved in crucifying an innocent man. God will not turn a blind eye to their sin. Judas contributes to the predetermined crucifixion of the Son of God, yet he does not get a pass for betraying the Lord.
God’s sovereignty does not absolve man of his responsibility to do right, even when God uses the wicked actions of men for a good purpose.
Therefore, the more you study the Bible the more you will see this fundamental truth woven into the narrative of the history of mankind. With your heart focused upon this truth, search for it for yourself in Scripture, and you will begin to see it come to life.