The Principle of Committal
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles to Proverbs, chapter 10, to emphasize the fact that we are in a particular section of the book of Proverbs which begins with chapter 10 and concludes with chapter 22, verse 16. This particular section we have called the personal proverbs of Solomon, the title being brought to our attention by the phrase in the beginning part of verse 1: “The proverbs of Solomon.” We have inserted the word personal in order to distinguish in this section what we find in other sections, such as the first nine chapters, which were representative of the proverbs of Solomon included in thirteen lectures on wisdom to his sons.

We said to you that the proverbs in this particular section are of two kinds. They are proverbs of two statements, for the most part, presenting one contrasting statement with another contrasting statement. Then there are proverbs of comparative statements, one statement being made and then another statement that offers a comparable truth being presented.

Because the proverbs are not presented in chronological order, nor are they presented together as far as subject matter is concerned, we have suggested to you that the practical way of considering the proverbs in this particular section is to consider them on the basis of principle; that is, grouping together all of the proverbs which deal with one principle, seeing what God would have us know in relation to that particular principle or truth.

The principle that we are going to consider together in this lesson is the principle of committal, one word describing a very important thing in the life of every believer. The thing that will be of interest to you as I ask you to turn to Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 3, is that though the other principles that we have looked at in past studies have a number of proverbs which come under that heading, this particular principle is found in total in one verse in the book of Proverbs. It might seem to you that we are placing a great deal of emphasis upon this one verse, perhaps more than we have placed on individual verses in the book of Proverbs heretofore, but the reason for the emphasis is the principle which is presented here. Notice verse 3:

Proverbs 16:

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Let's read this verse again because I want these words to be fixed firmly in your mind. We read:

Proverbs 16:

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

The first thing that we need to recognize as we discuss the principle of committal is that there are in the Hebrew language only two basic words for the word committal . This is a bit unusual because many English words are a derivative of many Hebrew words, but our English word commit comes from two basic Hebrew words. When I use basic words, I recognize the fact that from these basic words there are any number of Hebrew words which can trace their origins to these basic words, but these are the two basic ones. I would like for you to become familiar with them so that you might understand exactly what we are talking about when we use the word in question. One Hebrew word is siym . This Hebrew word may be translated by the word “cast.” When you talk about committing, you talk about casting. When you talk about committing your works unto the Lord, you talk about casting your works down before the Lord.

It may also be translated by the word “leave.” It speaks of leaving your works at the Lord's feet. It speaks more simply of laying down your works at the feet of the Lord. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” One Hebrew word, we repeat, means “to cast, to leave, to lay down.”

The other Hebrew word is galal . This particular word means “to roll, to trust.” “Roll your burdens on the Lord. Trust your works unto the Lord.” This word galal is translated by the word roll in Genesis, chapter 29. In this chapter there is the story of Jacob's seeking a wife. Notice verse 1:

Genesis 29:

1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth.
3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place.

Notice the statement: “…and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth…” The word rolled there is a translation of this Hebrew word galal . Notice verse 4:

Genesis 29:

4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
6 And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
7 And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till [notice] they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.

Notice the word roll . It is the same word. Notice verse 9:

Genesis 29:

9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.

Recognize with me, please, that this word roll , mentioned three times in these ten verses, is the Hebrew word galal .

Go back to chapter 16 of the book of Proverbs, verse 3, and let us recognize that this word galal is the word that is used here in chapter 16, verse 3, so that you could read:

Proverbs 16:

3 [Roll] thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

It is encouraging to recognize this meaning of the word because it does help us to understand in a concrete way what we are talking about. It also encourages the hearts of those who might be overwhelmed by their own weakness in the face of things which they are carrying, and they're wondering how they could possibly find the strength to commit in the usually accepted sense of the word. Those who do not have the ability to lift, those who do not have the ability to carry, always can find help to roll.

We are talking about committing our works unto the Lord, and I think it would be wise for us to understand exactly what the Spirit of God has in mind when He uses this word works . This word works comes from the Hebrew word maaseh , which is translated in a number of different ways in the Scripture. For example, it may refer to any action or act of any individual. As a matter of fact, if you will turn to Esther, chapter 10, you will see that this Hebrew word maaseh is translated in just the fashion that I am suggesting to you—an act or an action. Notice, beginning in verse 1:

Esther 10:

1 And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea.
2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

You will notice the word acts . That is the translation of this word maaseh . It represents any act that you contemplate doing, any action in which you may be engaged. Roll that action on the Lord.

This word is also translated by the word transaction , which would involve some kind of relationship between you and another individual. It is also translated by the word occupation in Genesis, chapter 40, verse 33. We will not take the time to turn there, but you recall when the brothers of Joseph visited him after he became ruler in Egypt, they wanted to know how they should react when they appeared in the presence of Pharaoh. He made a number of suggestions, but one he made was this: “One thing he will ask is, ‘What is your occupation?' When you are asked that question, you tell them that you are shepherds from out of the land of Egypt because shepherds are an abomination in the land of Egypt.”

Commit Your Occupation to the Lord

The story attracts our attention because of the use of the word occupation . This would refer to the work that you do, the job that you hold down, the job that you go to every morning or night, as the case may be. Commit your occupation to the Lord. It becomes even more specific in relation to the labor of your hands when we realize that in Habakkuk, chapter 3, verse 17, the word maaseh is translated by the word labor .

Perhaps you call to mind what is written in Habakkuk, chapter 3, verse 17, when the prophet, speaking of the fact that his faith would be sure, no matter what might happen, said, “Should the labor of the olives fail, still I will trust in the Lord.” This word work , then, conveys the idea of many phases of activity, and whatever phase of activity particularly meets your need at this time, I would suggest that you use this phrase in the sense that particularly applies to you. The word business is another translation of the word. You are interested in your business; you want to see the success of it. Then roll the burden of your business upon the Lord.

There is something that interests me very, very much, and that is that this word maaseh comes from the root word asah , which is the word that is used to speak of God's creating the earth originally when He created the earth out of nothing. The reason this is of interest to me is that it is conceivable that none of these words that we have suggested to you touches the particular thing in which you are interested. It is conceivable that these words will not cover something that may arise in your life in the foreseeable future. For this word to have for its root word the Hebrew word asah , which means “to create something out of nothing” is encouraging, as encouraging as that portion of the Word recorded in Romans, chapter 8, the last paragraph, which is describing the fact that nothing can separate us from the love of God. A great many things are mentioned as things which could conceivably, in the minds of men, separate us from the love of God. After those things are mentioned to us, there is the statement that nothing that shall be created shall separate us from the love of God.

So if there is not anything with which you may be having a problem related to business, occupation, labor, to activity, to transactions, should something arise that has not yet arisen—something new and different—that, too, God is able to take care of.

All Things Not as They Ought to Be

My very language has suggested to you that there is a need for committal, that all things are not as they ought to be. If they were, there would be no point in our discussing with you this doctrine of committal. The fact that all things are not as they ought to be is brought to our attention by the use of the word establish ed in our text. Notice:

Proverbs 16:

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

That word established comes from the Hebrew word kuwn, which means very literally rendered “to be erect.” It suggests the idea that the foundations have been moved and things are leaning and the supports have weakened and things are leaning the wrong way. They are ready to fall, and God needs to shore up the foundation, so to speak. He needs to provide more support than we might have at the moment, and there is the need for establishing His presence.

This word established , literally rendered “to be erect,” is made even more significant in our thinking when we realize that it is also translated by the word fixed . I would like for you to turn to Psalm 112, and notice the manner in which this word is translated by the word fixed . Notice verse 7:

Psalm 112:

7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

This is speaking of the good man in verse 5. Notice:

Psalm 112:

5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

No matter what the righteous man, the good man—that means the born-again believer—has to face, his heart is fixed. He has committed everything to the Lord.

Turn back to the book of Deuteronomy and notice that this word kuwn is translated by the word certain in chapter 17, verse 4:

Deuteronomy 17:

4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

A sin that might be committed in Israel, how should it be dealt with? One thing is sure: “You must be certain,” God said, “beyond all doubt, that the thing in question has absolutely actually occurred.” So when we say that if we commit our works unto the Lord, then our thoughts will be established, we are saying that we will be certain about certain things. There are periods of indecision which we all face, and during those periods of indecision, we are not certain what we ought to do. The result of practicing the doctrine of committal is to be absolutely certain of every step that you might take.

Our Thoughts Will Be Confirmed

This word kuwn is translated also by the word confirm . Turn back to Psalm 68, verse 9. There we discover, in relation to the word in question, the words:

Psalm 68:

9 Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

When there are questions in our minds about any number of things, quite naturally we seek for confirmation that the thing we feel we ought to do, which is indicated for us to do, is the right thing to do. Just as Gideon put out his fleece the second time in order that the indication of God's will the first time might be confirmed, so we find the need for confirmation quite often. We have the promise in the Word that if we commit our works unto the Lord, then our thoughts will be confirmed.

Our Thoughts Will be Made Perfect

In the book of Proverbs, chapter 4, this word kuwn is translated different than the word established , for in verse 18, we read:

Proverbs 4:

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Here is the word used as an adjective, translated by our English word perfect , indicating that when we commit our works unto the Lord, our thoughts may be made perfect. The doctrine of committal is important for the peace of mind and heart of individuals in this day in which we live.

One last suggestion that I would leave with you about this Hebrew word kuwn , and that is the interesting translation which is found in I Chronicles, chapter 29, verse 19. In this verse we find David praying:

I Chronicles 29:

19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

Notice the two words made provision . They are the translation of this Hebrew word kuwn . When David is speaking about making provisions for the temple, he was talking about what he had done in gathering together all the materials that were necessary for the building of the temple, which God would not permit him to build, but He said his son Solomon would build. Speaking of all of that activity, he said, “I have made provision for the building of the temple.”

Provision Made for the Perfection of Your Cause

What does that have to do with all of this? What has all of that to do with us? When you have learned the doctrine of committal and have committed your works to the Lord, then God will not only do all the things that we have suggested to you, He will also make provisions for the perfection of your cause.

This is of interest to me because quite often when with my human eyes I look upon the situations about me, I see no real way that God will be able to accomplish the thing that I have turned over to Him, and I wonder about it. I find myself saying, as did the Israelites in the wilderness, “Can God make a table in the wilderness?” Can He? When you look at things with human eyes, you wonder; but when you learn to commit your works to the Lord, then you can rest in perfect peace knowing that God, if necessary, will make provisions for whatever you have committed to Him so that it will be perfected.

Plans and Purposes Shall be Fixed

Look again at chapter 16, verse 3:

Proverbs 16:

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Notice the word thoughts . It should be clear to the thinking person that the word thoughts is a word which means more than is involved in our English word thoughts . Usually when I use the English word thoughts , I am referring to something that is passing through my mind, something that is related to my thinking processes, but I would like to suggest to you that the word thoughts , in this particular verse, has a far deeper meaning than that. It will make the verse clearer when we recognize that it has a much deeper meaning than something related to thinking processes. The word thoughts , in our text, comes from a rather long Hebrew word, machashabah , which is translated by the word intention . That makes the verse plainer, doesn't it? “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy intentions shall be established.”

It is also translated by the word plan . Commit your works unto the Lord, and your plan shall be fixed, shall be established. As a matter of fact, it is translated by the word purpose . Notice in Proverbs, chapter 20, verse 18:

Proverbs 20:

18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

This word purpose is the translation of the Hebrew word machashabah , which we are considering together. What are we reading? If we keep in mind most of what we have said to you up to this particular point, we must say, if one commits his transaction to the Lord, the Lord will purpose it; that is, He will make provision for it, even if the transaction is something that has never been done before. If one rolls his labor on the Lord, then his plans and purposes about it shall be fixed.

How often you may have a particular plan or purpose in mind and you wonder if it can succeed; you are in a quandary. Sometimes that quandary robs you of the sleep that you need at night. It robs you of the alertness that you need to carry on the affairs in which you are engaged. It robs you of the acumen that you naturally would have, and you wonder why you are not able to do the best job. Beloved, it is because you have not learned to practice the doctrine of committal.

Smooth the Path You are Traveling

In the closing moments we have together, I would like to suggest to you some other things which need to be committed, some other committals that are mentioned in the Word of God. Notice, please, Psalm 37, verse 5. Most of you are familiar with this, for you have committed it to memory. We read:

Psalm 37:

5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

The Hebrew word for commit is galal , the same word that is used in Proverbs, chapter 16, verse 3. The suggestion is, just take the way, the path you are traveling, rough as it may be. The word way here is the Hebrew word derek , which means “road.” If the road you are traveling, that place in life that God has placed you, is rough, just take that and lay it down at the feet of Christ, and say to Him, “Lord, this is a rough path I'm traveling, and I don't know where it is going to end, but I am laying it down at Your feet.” It is amazing how much smoother the path will become when you learn the doctrine of committal.

Commit Your Cause to the Lord

Turn with me, please, to the book of Job, chapter 5, and notice another suggestion about this matter of committal. Job was listening to Eliphaz, a comforter, who spoke the truth sometimes, but did not always hit upon Job's particular trouble. In verse 7, we read:

Job 5:

7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

That would seem so to some, would it not, when the trouble seems to be on the menu every day? Job says man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward, but then he says, in verse 8:

Job 5:

8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:
10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:
11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.

After Job says, “Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward,” he then says, “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause.” If things are difficult for you and you are in the midst of trials and tribulation, commit that unto the Lord. Your cause—commit it to Him.

The word that is used for commit in this passage is the Hebrew word suwm , which means “to lay down, to leave.” When you leave something, you leave it. You don't go back and pick it up again.

God's Sustaining Grace

Here is one last verse. It is so familiar to you that you would probably wonder why we have not yet considered it together because it is in our area of discussion. You find the translation of this same Hebrew word in Psalm 55, where you are encouraged to do a very practical thing with all of the burdens that come your way. Notice verse 22:

Psalm 55:

22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

I wonder if you are noticing a distinction. In these other verses to which we have called your attention, the implication is that if you lay your burden down, you will have nothing more to do with it. God takes it up from there on out. It is His business; He makes whatever provision is necessary. He takes care of the whole matter, and you go away in absolute freedom and you stay because you have learned to practice the doctrine of committal. The burden is all gone, no more heavy loads to carry.

But in Psalm 55, verse 22, the suggestion is not necessarily that you are free from the burden, but rather that you are sustained while you bear the burden. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee…” He will give you that extra support that you need so that you won't need to wobble and fall because the burden is heavy to bear.

I wish in all honesty that I could tell you that God will remove every burden that you have the moment you commit it to Him, and you can go away and forget it; but I must remind you that sometimes God says, “You give your burden to Me and I will sustain you,” which implies that the burden will be with you, but His sustaining strength will cause you not to be moved. It is the same principle that the Apostle Paul emphasized in his Corinthian letter when he besought the Lord for the removal of the thorn, and the Lord refused to remove the thorn and said instead, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”


Beloved, let us face it. Some of us may ask the Lord for the removal of the burden and He will graciously remove it; others of us may ask Him for the removal of the burden and He will simply say, “I will help you carry it. I will sustain you while you carry it, and you will not be moved.”

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