Proverbs 16:17-33

Talks for Growing Christians

Wisdom in the Way

Proverbs 16:17-33

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Lesson Number 24

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Proverbs are wise advice for everyday living.

Practical Application

  1. Remember, the rough road may be the right road!


  1. What were lots used for in ancient Israel? What part did God play in the casting of lots? Is it advisable for believers today to cast lots?
  2. In verses 17-24 and 32, many godly characteristics or virtues are mentioned. Identify these virtues and note the positive results that come from them.
  3. In the proverb found in verse 31, is there a requirement necessary for the “silver-haired head,” or the hair of an elderly person, to be a crown of glory? If so, what is it?


  1. In ancient Israel, lots were used, or cast, as a means of deciding an issue. For the Jews, it was a means of determining God’s will in a matter. The casting of lots was used as a means of determining the division of the land between the 12 tribes in the book of Joshua. God controlled the results of the casting of the lots. With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to indwell and guide believers (Acts 2), the use of lots is never mentioned again in the New Testament. Casting lots to decide an issue is not the best counsel for the believer today.
  2. Virtues such as uprightness (v 17), humility (v 19), wisdom and trust in the Lord (v 20), prudence (v 21), understanding (v 22), wise and pleasant speech from the heart (v 23, 24), and self-control (v 32) are mentioned. These proverbs, (remember, general truths given in general terms), indicate that godly characteristics such as these listed, will produce a way of righteousness, safety from destruction, the discovery of goodness and happiness, an increase in learning, a source of life, physical health and approval in God’s eyes.
  3. Yes, there is a requirement noted in the proverb of verse 31. If an elderly person’s silver hair is to be a real crown of glory, his or her life must have been, and be, one “found in the way of righteousness.”


  1. Discuss other events or occurrences in the Old and New Testaments when lots were cast. Note how God controlled the outcomes. Consider actions a believer should take when making an important decision today.


  1. Is your relationship with God based on a personal faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ rather than on your perceived sincerity and accomplishment of good works? Personal faith in Christ is the only way to heaven. If you are not certain of your relationship, turn to Christ in prayer today, confess your sins to Him, and trust fully in Him as your Lord and Savior.

Key Verses

  • “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who keeps his way preserves his soul.” “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:17 and 18

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