“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)
A couple years ago, as I was reading through Proverbs, I stumbled upon this verse. I’m sure I’d read it several times before, but it’s one of those verses most, I assume, would just pass over.
For some reason, this time I read it, I didn’t just skip over it. Something about it intrigued me. So I got online and looked up what the original Hebrew words meant to try and gain a better understanding.
Now, my uncle knows ancient Hebrew super well and my at-the-time roommate studied it, so I’m sure they quite possibly could rip my interpretation apart, but this is what I got out of it.
I’m simply going to go through it piece by piece and let you know what I found. It’s made this verse such an inspiration to me – one that I still often reference and think back to.
“The king’s heart”
The word “heart” here (Heb: leb) means soul, center, or core (Source). When this verse says the king’s heart is in God’s hands, it’s not some feel-good, churchy cliche.
The person the author is writing about is said to have the center and core of his being – all of his very soul – in the Lord’s hands. That’s extreme, radical surrender and trust!
“Is like channels of water”
In Hebrew, the word for “channels” (Heb: peleg) used here means “section, division, part, faction, or breakaway” (Source). The Hebrew suggests it’s basically a specific division or section of a flowing body of water.
“He turns it wherever He wishes”
I found the Hebrew interpretation of “wherever” (‘al), especially interesting. When used as a preposition, as used here, it means “on, upon, above, over, on top, atop.” However, I thought it was interesting that the exact same Hebrew word is used as a verb meaning, “ascend; rise; grow; flourish; be better than, excel” (Source). Food for thought in application to this verse.
I really believe this verse is saying that if our soul, core, and center of being is completely surrendered to God’s hands, we are choosing to be on a set apart “river” – a set apart, specific, ordained section of God’s will. As long as we remain in that specific division God has for us (as individual people), we can go with the flow!
It helps me to take a step back sometimes and just take a breath. If I know I’m living in God’s will, I can often, if not always, just go with the flow and live my life knowing God’s in control!
And that pleases God.
This is part of Anna’s Meditation Series.