Trust in the Lord
Brian D. Dykstra
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Solomon continues to instruct his son in the duties of godly living. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, is called by Charles Bridges, in his commentary on Proverbs, “the polar-star of a child of God—faith in his Father’s providence, promises, and grace.”
There are people for whom trust does not come easily. For those who have been betrayed, cheated or disappointed, trust comes only after many years. We have not been treated in such a way by our covenant God. He has never betrayed, cheated or disappointed His children although we have done so to Him. We have come to know Him through His Word where we read of His faithfulness to Israel, though we would say the Jews certainly did not deserve God’s preserving care. We can also see His watchful eye over the New Testament church. We can lean on this almighty God. We are confident His arm will not fail under the weight of our burdens.
The instruction is to trust Him with “all thine heart.” We must have a childlike confidence that God will watch over us by His providence so all His promises are kept. We must have all our trust in Him, and only in Him. To keep back some of our trust and to place it in ourselves or in another would offend our Lord.
We are not to lean to our own understanding. Yet, isn’t that part of the first sin of our first parents? The forbidden tree appeared to human understanding to be good for food, pleasant to the eyes and a provider of wisdom not yet possessed. We would be as gods! Hasn’t it been the same ever since? When man depends on his own understanding, has he ever walked the way which pleased and honoured God? How often doesn’t this happen to the youngsters in our care? How often do the young submit to the direction of their elders? Bridges writes, “If advice is asked, is it not with the hope of confirming a previously-formed purpose? In case of a contrary judgment, the young man’s own understanding usually decides the course.”
The understanding, intelligence, we can gain today is astounding. Even our junior high students have a greater knowledge of science and geography than did the greatest thinkers of earlier ages. The amount of information available to us today can boggle the mind. Has there ever been a generation with more knowledge which could be gained? Yet, we are not to support ourselves with our wealth of human understanding.
In whatever way we find God directing our lives we are to acknowledge Him. We must recognize God’s right to rule over us. Is this the way of the natural man? Sinful man will recognize no law but that which he has been pleased to establish himself. Man has become the final judge of right and wrong. Man bows before his own system of law as the standard of right and wrong.
God has the authority to direct our lives in whatever way pleases Him. Doing this is not a guarantee that all events will turn out the way we desire. It is not the case that being prosperous or successful is an indication that a person has learned to acknowledge God’s right of authority. Living a life of faith does not equal a life of prosperity and fulfilled wishes. By faith we will hold to God’s promise to His children that everything which happens to us, whether we consider it good or evil, comes from a fatherly hand. We must believe His promise that His providence is the best way for us.
God directs our paths. God will make our paths straight in the sense of having a true purpose and a glorious end. We must always seek His guidance even in matters which seem small or obvious. When Nathan the prophet depended upon his own understanding, he gave a false answer to David’s desire to build a temple for God. Nathan could not imagine God not being pleased to have the man after God’s own heart build His temple. Yet, God had to correct Nathan and show him the path which was right.
We must beware, however, not to think that when we acknowledge God and trust in Him, we will never make a mistake. Our decisions will never become infallible. God will use our errors to teach us humility and that His way is right.
May God be pleased to use us as examples to these students of trusting in Him, and acknowledging His authority over us.