Proverbs 20:24

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way?

Proverbs 20:24 in Other Translations

24 Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
24 A man's steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?
24 The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
24 The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we're going?
24 A man's steps are determined by the Lord, so how can anyone understand his own way?

Proverbs 20:24 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 20:24

Man's goings [are] of the Lord
In a natural and literal sense, the instruments of going are of the Lord; the act of motion from place to place is not without the concourse of his providence; as in him we live, and move, and have our being, so "in and by him we move"; he preserves our going out and coming in; and as the preservation, so the success and prosperity of journeying are owing to his providence, and the whole is under his care and direction: and so likewise, in a civil sense, all the civil concerns, business, and actions of life, are guided by his providence; there is a time for every purpose under heaven, and the success of all depends on a divine blessing; and things are with every man in civil life according to the providence of God, and as it is his pleasure they should be; and it is by him they are directed to take this and the other step, the issue of which is according to his will: and this may be applied to men's goings in a spiritual and religious sense; faith, which is properly a man's going to Christ as a perishing sinner for pardon and cleansing, for righteousness and life, for food and rest, and eternal salvation, is not of a man's self, it is of God; it is his gift, and of his operation; no man can go to Christ in this way unless it be given him of God, or he is drawn by his grace, ( John 6:35 John 6:57 John 6:44 John 6:65 ) ; and all spiritual actions which flew from hence are by the grace of God, and under his influence and direction; as walking in the path of truth, it is the Lord that teaches it, causes to choose it, leads into it, and preserves there; walking in the statutes and ordinances of the Lord, and in the ways of righteousness and holiness, is of him, and owing to his Spirit puts within his people; and indeed all good works done by them, which may be called their goings, he has foreordained that they should walk in them; it is by the grace of God, and in the strength of Christ, and with the assistance of the blessed Spirit, they walk on in them; and their perseverance in faith and holiness, or their going from strength to strength, is all of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?
even of a journey in a literal sense, what will be the issue and event of it, when or whether ever he shall return to his own house again, since all is under the direction and providence of God; and also of his civil affairs, he knows his beginning, and how he goes on for the present; but what will be the end he knows not; and a natural and unregenerate man knows not what way he is in, where he is going, and what his last end will be; being in darkness, in which he was born, brought up, and continues, he does not rightly understand what is his duty, what he should do, what is the good and perfect will of God, what the way is in which he should go, and which is for his good; nor the way everlasting, which leads to eternal life, few find this way. Or it may be understood of the way of the Lord, "how can a man then understand his way?" the Lord's way, not man's; the way of the Lord in providence, which is as the deep, and unsearchable; and the way of life and salvation by Christ, which is of the Lord's devising and resolving on; this way of peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life, is not known by the natural man; and when it is externally revealed in the word, and by the outward ministry of it, it is not understood so as to be approved of, but is despised, unless God gives a heart to know it, or a spiritual and experimental understanding of it.

Proverbs 20:24 In-Context

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.
23 The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him.
24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way?
25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows.
26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Psalms 90:12
  • 2. S Job 33:29
  • 3. S Proverbs 19:21; Jeremiah 10:23
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