Trust in the LORD

trust article

Prov.3:5-7  says,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

The verses before us have parallels and contrasts.  Firstly, the contrasts.

In vs.5 we have two contrasts.  Firstly, “Trust in the LORD”  is contrasted with  “do not lean on your own understanding”.  Secondly, the Lord’s wisdom is contrasted with  “your own understanding”.

In vs.7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes”  is contrasted with  “fear the LORD”. 

This brings us to the parallels.

“With all your heart” (vs.1)  is paralleled with  “In all your ways” (vs.6). 

“Your own understanding” (vs.1)  is paralleled with  “wise in your own eyes” (vs.7). 

“Fear the LORD”  is paralleled with  “turn away from evil”. (vs.7).

“Trust” (vs.1),  “acknowledge” (vs.6),  and  “fear” (vs.7)  are parallel concepts.

What is the  “fear of the LORD?”  One answer is found in  Deut.10:12-13.  Moses asked,  Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you…?”  The summary answer is,  “but to fear the Lord your God.”  The explanation of the summary is, “to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments.”  Note the four verbs that are highlighted.  They tell us that those who fear God trust God.

The verb “trust” means to rely on something out of a sense of security.  It is the sense of security and safety that comes from being under the care of another more competent than ourselves.  You are commanded to trust in the Lord God who is infinitely more competent than us and because in Him alone you have security in this life and in the life to come.  If the Lord did not reveal Himself and His word, trust in Him would have been a spiritual platitude.  But trust in the Lord is not a spiritual platitude.  Trust in the Lord is not a blind leap into the dark unknown.  The Bible teaches us that the God who is, has revealed Himself.  God has spoken by revelation.  God has revealed His commandments and promises.  God is truth and His word is truth.  Jesus said in John 14:1, “believe (trust) in God, believe (trust) also in Me.”  And Jesus added, “I am the truth.”  (vs.6). 

Trust in the Lord calls upon you to renounce confidence in yourself.  Self-trust can be deceptive and leads to a false security.  For example, with respect to your eternal salvation, you must not have confidence in your own righteousness (good works).  In Philippians 3, Paul said that as a Pharisee his righteousness rooted in the Law was blameless (vs.6).  But when he came face to face with Christ, he discovered that his personal righteousness was utterly useless (“rubbish” (vs.8) – skubala, which literally means filth or excrement).  He suffered a devastating “loss” of what he thought was gain in the sight of God.  (vs.7).  The “gain” Paul needed was the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to him, a righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  (vs.9).  Faith (trust) in Christ moved Paul from the deception of false security to the truth of divine eternal security.  When it comes to your eternal salvation, who are you putting your trust in?  God?  Self?  Or in men like yourself?

Trust in the Lord demands of us humility.  Sin has filled our hearts with pride and pride naturally resists humility.  God is the omniscient One.  He knows all things, sees all things, understands all things.  To use an illustration, God’s omniscience is as vast as the ocean.  Our knowledge is the size of a thimble full of water from that ocean.  In Isaiah 55:8-9 the Lord said:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Yet our natural tendency (pride) is to resist trusting in the Lord and instead to trust in ourselves.  The usual mindset is,  “I know what God says, but first, let me see if I can figure out this.”  But the Lord has said in Jeremiah 17 :

5 “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

Why?  Vs.9 says,

“The heart is more deceitful than all else

And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

On the other hand,

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.”

We saw already in Proverbs 3:7 the Lord’s exhortation,

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”

Romans 12:3  says,  For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”  Note that: do you think more highly (haughtily) of yourself than you ought to think?  Sadly, most people do.  Are you willing to humble yourself before the God who is omniscient and to trust in Him?

The spiritually wise, (those who fear God, Prov.9:10), put their trust in the Lord even when it seems that the world, in unison, is rejecting the word of God and raising their voices against God.  (Psalm 2:1-3).  The world’s trust is in their chariots and horses, (Psalm 20:7), that is, human wisdom, ingenuity, and strength.  Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.” 

The spiritually wise trusts in the Lord with confident hope, knowing that in His word He has given to us with large-handed regal generosity everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet.1:3).  They trust knowing that the day of the Lord is coming when the Lord will judge this fallen world and put all things right by making all things new.  They trust because they know that that new day is coming when conflict with the world, sin, and the devil will be finished with, and God’s holy will would be perfectly done on earth as it is done in heaven.

Deut.6:5 says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (mind).”  Now we are told in Prov.3:5 that our trust in the Lord must be with all our heart (mind).  Love and trust go together.  This is not partial trusting.  This is wholehearted trusting.  Now note the contrast : in trusting in the Lord, you must not lean on your own understanding.  The verb “lean” is the picture of a man leaning on a broken crutch.  There is no security in this.  The broken crutch will collapse.  What is the writer’s point here?  Let me put it this way: A man would be a fool to rely on the broken crutch of his own thimble-full of knowledge in contrast to relying on God’s vast ocean of infinite knowledge. 

A man would be a fool to rely on his own fallen, darkened understanding, which is corrupted by his own sinfulness and governed by his own irrational and futile thinking, in contrast to relying on the glorious light of God’s infinite wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  (Eph.4:17-18).  But these are the exact follies fallen man has embraced.  On the other hand, Prov.2:6 says, “the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” 

In Prov.3:6, “all” calls for entire, exclusive, and exhaustive commitment to the Lord, His word, and His wisdom.  Psalm 1:1 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked”.  We can say, “How blessed (happy) is the man who does not conduct his life according to the counsel of this fallen world.”  Vs.2  says,  “But his delight is in the law (word) of the LORD.”  Here is a delight that results in trust, trust in the wise counsel God has given to us in His revealed word.  The promise in Prov.3:6b is that the Lord will make your paths straight and smooth. 

Prov.3:5 warned, “Do not lean on your own understanding.”  Vs.7 added, “Do not be wise in your own eyes.”   Do not rely on the broken crutch of your own wisdom.  Do not rely on your own darkened cleverness.  (cf. Eph.4:18; Rom.1:21).  Do not rely on your own human opinions.  Put your trust in God’s omniscient wisdom.  Let David’s prayer be yours,  “Make me know Your ways, O LORD;  Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me.”  (Psa.25:4-5). 

Prov.26:12 says, “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.”  Isa.5:21 says, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight.”  I trust you noted the repeated use of the word “own”Isa.53:6 shows us that the word “own” is the one-word summary of our rebellion against God.  The prophet said, “All of us like sheep have gone astray; Each of us has turned to his own way.” 

To turn to your own way is to turn away from God.  This is the essence of sin.  Confounded by the demonic wisdom of the serpent, this is what Adam and Eve did in the Garden.  They turned to their own way and in so doing, turned away from God. And this is what mankind has been doing ever since Adam turned away from God.  Every false religion in this world is man going his own way.  Every false teaching is man going his own way.  All ungodly counsel is man going his own way.  Man’s many efforts to change God’s definitions of sexuality and marriage are man going his own way.  Man going his own way is man changing the Laws of God and replacing them with the wisdom and laws of men.  And we wonder why the world is in such chaos and being overrun by crime.

Rom.1:21-22 tells us that fallen man has become futile in his speculations, and his foolish heart has been darkened.  And in professing to be wise, man has only revealed his folly.  The primary manifestation of fallen man’s folly is his many idolatries. (vs.23). 

Yes, the Bible is an ancient book, written over a period of 1500 years, beginning with Moses and ending with the apostle John.  But the Bible is God’s unchanging wisdom, truth, counsel, guide, light… because it comes to us from the unchanging God (Heb.13:8; Psa.90:2) who is the truth.  Its teachings are relevant today as they were relevant to Moses, David, and Paul. Man’s folly is that he has turned away from God to his own way.  He has turned away from God’s eternal omniscient wisdom.  Today, the invitation to you is to fear God, be wise, and put your trust in God and His revealed Word.

Pastor Amresh Semurath


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