Proverbs 3:5-8

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Eva has recommended this scripture as the basis of today’s sermon. It is her favourite verse.

She will now tell us why. [EVA]

Self-sufficiency and self-dependence have been the ruin of humanity ever since the fall of Adam. Our grand sin is our continual endeavour to live independently of God, i.e., to be without God in the world

These verses [brought to us by Eva] contain the first principle upon which all our work and hope depend. In every aspect of life, we must take God into account. We should seek His counsel regarding our home, community, work, and play. This is not an elective but an absolute necessity, so the relationship established through Jesus Christ influences our conduct to the point that it is according to His will.[1]

All this would seem to be a self-evident behaviour for a Christ follower, except that people do not normally live that way.

People tend to only think of God when all else fails, when their plans go awry, or when they run out of their own resources.

The world considers being self-reliant as an attribute. Many people boast that they rely only on themselves. They will point with pride to their prosperous business and say, 'I worked all that up by myself from nothing'; a popular boast is ‘I am a self-made man;’ Or as Bing Crosby sang: “I did it my way.”

Self-reliance is good up to a certain point. It is all right if it does not make us forget God, from Whom all good things come, and in Whom we live and move and have our being.

When we trust in God, we are, as it were, admitting Him into partnership with ourselves;[2] actually we are making him the senior partner in our lives.

Michael Wells in his book Sidetracked in the Wilderness writes: It is not until we refuse to trust ourselves that we can begin to trust God.[3]

Truthfully, there is no-one who can claim to self-sufficient. We all lean on something. Sometimes it is money, sometimes it is health, sometimes it is our education, or our health insurances, or our parental legacy.

In times of distress we lean on members of our families or friends; we rely upon them for encouragement, support, help, or protection.

The word ‘trust’ means to lean on. Like Psalm 143:8 Cause me to hear for on you do I lean or Psalm 13:5 I have trusted in your mercy [I have leaned on your mercy][4]

When we lean against a wall or on this cane, we trust it to support us. [Demonstrate with my cane]

 If it should fail to do its job, we will fall to the ground and perhaps be hurt.

That is what this verse is saying: when we trust in anything that is not God we are putting our weight on something that will fail.

Relying on our own understanding is like leaning on a cane that cannot bear our weight; it is unreliable for support. It is dangerous for a person to rely upon mere human wisdom or understanding because it is likely to fail us. And in this I am talking about our own wisdom and the wisdom of those whom we trust for advice.

How many people have heard of the Darwin Awards, awarded posthumously to people who trusted their own understanding, did something stupid and removed themselves from the gene pool.

Just ask those who got burned in the 1987 financial crash, or the Great Depression where wealth was wiped out overnight as banks and shares collapsed.

Just ask my son Steven and his wife Megan, or Jordy and Peihua who were both told by medical staff that they should abort their babies because they had a genetic condition. If they had listened to that worldly wisdom, they would not have the healthy Piper or the healthy Malachi that they have now.

All around is are tales of being let down by those whom we trust, whether that be a person or a thing.

The only object of our secure trust is the Lord, THE most reliable object of confidence!

Acknowledging the Lord in all our ways means keeping Him in mind in every event of our lives. Godly living is not to be confined to just attending Sunday worship or having a 5-minute read of a devotional each day. God needs to be invited to be involved in every moment of each day. His instruction covers our lives from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. He wants us to remember Him all the time and to trust and obey Him to guide our conduct in everything we do.

We need to trust our maker. A story:

An old Model T Ford was pulled off to the side of the road with its hood up, and a young man was trying desperately to get it running. He had been working at it for a long time without any success when a beautiful, chauffeur-driven limousine stopped behind him, and a well-dressed man got out. He watched the fellow working for a while and finally suggested that he make a minor adjustment in one part. The young man was sceptical, but nothing else had worked, so he did what he was told. "Now," said the man, "your car will run. Crank it up." So the young man cranked it once, and, sure enough, the engine started running as if it were brand-new. The young man was amazed that this kind of man knew so much about cars; so he asked him, "How did you know exactly what to do?" "Well," the other man said, "I'm Henry Ford. I made the car, so I know all about how it works"

Why do we try to go it alone, when all we need to do is to go to our Maker and trust in God to lead us and guide us?  It seems nonsensical to think we can solve our own issues.  It is nonsensical because we know we are not perfect and will let people down, yet we trust others to do what they said they would do

It is nonsensical because we are not in full possession of all the facts.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."

Trust is confidence in the character of God. Firmly and deliberately we say: “I do not understand what God is doing or even where God is, but I know that he is out to do me good.”[5]

We only see part of the picture God is painting. If we are to truly trust Him, we have to let go of our pride, our programs, and our plans. Even the best-laid human plans cannot begin to approach the magnificent wisdom of God’s plan. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Our limited understanding can easily lead us astray. Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."[6]

A story highlighting this trust in God, rather than ourselves come from Abraham Lincoln:

The day before his 52nd birthday, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois, to become President of the United States. With the threat of civil war looming, he said goodbye to the friends and neighbours who had come to see him off. “I now leave,” he told them, “not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

 

Lincoln’s reliance on God for guidance and strength reflects the instruction of Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Prov. 3:5-6).

 

The last part of this Scripture explains the benefit of our trusting and acknowledging God.

 

 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

The promise is that the result of this trust in God, acknowledgement of him and fear of the Lord will bring prosperity to those who do so.  And prosperity, I do not mean wealth, I mean things which are of intrinsic worth –  life itself.

 

This will bring healing to your body, and refreshment to your inner self. (NET)

 

 

The Message paraphrase says the Scripture this way:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!

 

What an awesome passage to commit to our memories. Thank you, Eva, for suggesting it.

 

“Trust God Always” clip from RightNowMedia.

 



[1] https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/bible.show/sVerseID/16461/eVerseID/16462

[2] http://biblehub.com/commentaries/edt/proverbs/3.htm

[3] Michael Wells Sidetracked in the Wilderness  15

[4] Amy Carmichael Thou Givest…They Gather 7-8

[5] Richard Foster Prayer: finding the heart’s true home 25

[6] https://www.gotquestions.org/lean-not-own-understanding.html