Proverbs 16:7
When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even the man's enemies live at peace with him.
God's Control Over His People's EnemiesProverbs 16:7
Our WaysBp. Sanderson.Proverbs 16:7
The Charm of GoodnessDean Plumptre.Proverbs 16:7
The True Way of Pleasing God and Being At Peace WithJames Wells.Proverbs 16:7
Thought, Action, PrayerW. Clarkson Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9
The Administration of Rewards and PunishmentsE. Johnson Proverbs 16:4-9

Placing ourselves in the position of the man who has sinned and suffered, and has been led to repentance and submission, of the man who is earnestly desirous of escaping from the sinful past and of becoming a new man and of living a new life, let us ask - What is his hope? what are his possibilities?

I. IN VIEW OF THE PAST AND OF HIS RELATIONS WITH GOD. What is his hope there? What are the possibilities of his sins being forgiven, his iniquity purged away? What he must rely upon, in this great domain of thought, is this - truth in himself and mercy in God.

1. He himself must be a true penitent, one that

"...feels the sins he owns, And hates what he deplores;" that intends with full purpose of heart to turn from all iniquity and to cleave to righteousness and purity.

2. He must cast himself on the boundless mercy of God gained for him and promised to him in Jesus Christ his Saviour.

II. IN VIEW OF THE PAST AND OF HIS RELATIONS WITH MEN. God accepts true penitence of spirit and right purpose of heart, for he can read our hearts, and knows what we really are. But man wants more. Before he receives the sinner to his confidence and restores him to the position from which he fell, he wants clear proofs of penitence, manifestations of a new and a clean heart. The man who has put away his sin can only "purge" the guilty past by the practice of "mercy and truth," of kindness and integrity, of grace and purity. He has done that which is wrong, false, hurtful. Let him now do that which is just, true, right; that which is kind, helpful, pitiful, generous; then we shall see that he means all that he says, that his professions are sincere; then he may be taken back - his iniquity purged - to the place which he has lost.

III. IN VIEW OF THE FUTURE, SAVING REGARD TO HIMSELF. How shall the penitent make good the promises he has made to his friends? How shall he ensure his future probity and purity? how shall he engage to walk in love and in the path of holy service, as he is bound to do, taking on him the name of Christ? The answer is, by walking on in reverence of spirit, by proceeding in "the fear of the Lord;" thus will he "depart from evil," and do good. It is the man who cultivates a reverent spirit, who realizes the near presence of God, who walks with God in prayer and holy fellowship, who treasures in his mind the thoughts of God, and reminds himself frequently of the will of God concerning him - it is he who will "never be moved from his integrity;" he will redeem his word of promise, he will live the new and better life of faith and holiness and love. - C.

When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
These words contain two blessed fruits of a gracious conversation. The one more immediate and direct, acceptance with God; the other more remote, and by consequence from the former, peace with men.

I. THE SUBJECT. "A man's ways." His whole carriage in the course of his life, with all his thoughts, speeches, and actions, good or bad. When a man walketh in the beaten track of the world, without ever turning his feet unto God's testimonies, neither that man nor his ways can please the Lord. When a man walketh conscionably and constantly in the good ways of God both the man and his ways are well pleasing unto God. When a man in the more constant course of his life walketh uprightly, and in a right way, but yet in a few particulars treadeth awry, the man may be accepted, though his ways are not altogether pleasing.

II. THE ACT. "Pleasing." This hath reference to acceptation: wherein the endeavour is one thing, and the event another. A man may have a full intention, and make due endeavour, and yet fail of his end. This is apparent when we have to deal with men. To please signifieth rather the event in finding acceptance than the endeavour in seeking it. In a moral sense, however, not so much the event as the endeavour and intention. But there may be a good assurance of the event where the desire of pleasing is unfeigned and the endeavour faithful.

III. THE OBJECT. All men strive to please; but some to please themselves; some to please other men; and some to please the Lord. We should endeavour so to walk as to please God. For He is our Master, Captain, Father, and King. There is one great benefit attached to pleasing the Lord in the text, — "He will make our enemies to be at peace with us." We may add, He will preserve us from sinful temptations. He will answer our prayers. He will translate us into His heavenly kingdom. The wicked man, who displeases God, strengthens the hands of his enemies; exposes himself as a prey to temptations; blocks up the passage against his own prayer; debars himself from entering the kingdom. How can pleasing the Lord be done? By likeness and obedience. The godly love what God loveth. They desire and endeavour to be holy as He is holy; perfect as He is perfect, merciful as the heavenly Father is merciful. Obedience is the proof of our willing and cheerful subjection to His most righteous commands. It is vain to think of pleasing God by the mere outward performances of fasting, prayer, almsdeeds, hearing God's Word, or receiving the Sacrament. How comes it about that such poor things as our best endeavours are should please God? Our good works are pleasing to God upon two grounds.

1. Because He worketh them in us; and —

2. Because He looketh upon us and them in Christ. In the consequent of pleasing God there are three things observable. The persons — a man's enemies. The effect — peace. The author — the Lord. The scope of the whole words is to instruct us that the fairest and likeliest way for us to procure peace with man is to order our ways so as to please the Lord. The favour of God and the favour of men is joined together in Holy Scripture, as if the one were a consequent of the other.

(Bp. Sanderson.)

men: —

I. THE SUBSTANCE. "When a man's ways please the Lord." All the Lord's ways are concentred ways, and they concentre in Christ Jesus. Then, in order to please the Lord, we must be found in these ways, and as those ways are in Christ, we must also be in union with Christ.

1. In what way has the Lord fixed the love of His heart upon man?

2. The Lord brings His people to desire eternal life in the same way that He has designed it.

3. In what way has the Lord made us holy?

4. In what way does the Lord regenerate His people?

II. THE NEGATIVE; or what the text does not mean. The latter part of the text appears to be negatived by the conduct of the enemies of the Lord's people in all ages.

III. THE POSITIVE; or what the text does mean. Refer to a Scripture passage, "The wrath of man shall praise Thee; the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain." Illustrate by circumstances in the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Nehemiah, Jews when building the second temple.


1. That the Lord has some specific purpose and end in view.

2. That He is sure to accomplish that purpose.

(James Wells.)

Not that the enemies are simply kept quiet through their knowledge that the good man is under God's protection, but that goodness has power to charm and win them to itself.

(Dean Plumptre.)

I must see that my ways please the Lord. Even then I shall have enemies; and, perhaps, all the more certainly because I endeavour to do that which is right, But what a promise this is! The Lord will abate the wrath of man to praise Him, and abate it so that it shall not distress me. He can constrain an enemy to desist from harming me, even though he has a mind to do so. This He did with Laban, who pursued Jacob, but did not dare to touch him. Or He can subdue the wrath of Esau, who met Jacob in a brotherly manner, though Jacob had dreaded that he would smite him and his family with the sword. The Lord can also convert a furious adversary into a brother in Christ, and a fellow-worker, as He did with Saul of Tarsus. Oh, that He would do this in every case where a persecuting spirit appears! Happy is the man whose enemies are made to be to him what the lions were to Daniel in the den — quiet and companionable! When I meet death, who is called the last enemy, I pray that I may be at peace. Only let my great care be to please the Lord in all things.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

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