Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:7
"When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him"
This proverb, in the original, opens with the word pleasing. It is the Hebrew word rasa which means favorable, to be pleased with, to find delight in. In other words, the emphasis of the sentence is upon this key idea.
It is important to note that this proverb does not say when a man pleases the Lord but when the ways of a man. The Hebrew word is the word derek which means the path or road or way. So the proverb is noticing that when a person brings the tenor and conduct of their life into line with that which would please the heart of God, then God will make the person's enemies to be at peace with Him. In other words, there is something about the nature of acting in ways that are pleasing to the Lord over the long haul that produces cooperation.
It is also important to note at this point that there are consequences for living contrary to that which pleases God. Your potential enemies become real enemies. Enemies are those that oppose you. The result of living at odds with God's way of life is people who should have been for you become against you and oppose you. Your spouse becomes a person in opposition to you. Your children begin to react to you and fight against you. Your employer and subordinates push against you and do not work with you. All these people move from friends to enemies because your ways are selfish and arrogant.
Now let's talk about what it is that pleases the Lord. We need to go back to the Ten Commandments but this time not look at what is prohibited but what behavior is desired.
The first commandment is against putting other gods as more important than the true God. The desired behavior is that we would put THE GOD in the place of highest value and do what He says.
The second commandment prohibits the making or possessing, serving or worshipping of engraved images of God or any god. The actual idea of the commandment is to cause people to think rightly about God; to realize that God is outside of our space and time domain and He cannot be represented in a three-dimensional way. Allow God to be God.
The third commandment prohibits taking the name of God to be nothing or as a curse word. The desired behavior is speaking reverently and worshipfully about the Lord and using His name in worship regularly.
The fourth commandment prescribes at least one day a week stopping what you are doing and worshipping the Lord. The New Testament understanding of this is that every day we should come to the Lord Jesus Christ – who is the Sabbath – and give that day to Him for His use. Every day is a potential day of Sabbath rest for the Christian if it is presented to the Lord for His direction.
The fifth commandment prescribes honor to parents. It means that all God-given authorities should receive added value by how you treat them and do what they say.
The sixth commandment prohibits murder, intimidation, violence. The action desired is that people would love others. When people go about looking to meet the needs of others, then God is pleased.
The seventh commandment states that one should not be maritally unfaithful. The desired behavior is that one would build a marriage of great joy by rejoicing in the wife of one's youth.
The eighth commandment prohibits a person from stealing. The intent of the command is that people would work hard, do their own work, and develop enough so that they could be generous. This is the discussion of those who have stolen in the past in Ephesians 4.
The ninth commandment prohibits bearing false witness against one's neighbor. It desires not just the cessation of lying but truth-telling that is for one's neighbor. It is important to note that one can use the truth as a hammer as well as a lie. But the truth is to be used for the neighbor, not against him.
The tenth commandment prohibits strong desire, planning, or scheming to obtain the possessions of a person you know. The desired actions are contentment with the life God has given; a re-engagement in the opportunities that you have and blessings that you have.
If one wants to live a life pleasing to the Lord so that one's enemies stop being so resistant, then begin to live in such a way as to please the Lord.
If you find that everybody seems against you and even your closest relationships are difficult, then it usually means that you are selfish, arrogant, impulsive, and rebellious. Be different and watch the results.