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. Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
One of the great promises of the Bible is found in the book of Proverbs, which came from the writing of Solomon, often called “the wisest man who ever lived.”
He wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Solomon understood that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the promises of God and their fulfillment. He knew that with almost every promise there is a condition attached to it. He also knew something of the conflict between the known and the unknown, trusting God for what you cannot see.
Today it’s difficult to trust anyone. “Never trust anyone unless you have the agreement in writing,” we say, and then, quite often, the agreement is meaningless. But the dictionary says that trust means, “assured reliance; confidence, appropriation.”
But what does “trusting with all your heart,” as Solomon advised, really mean? In Solomon’s day there were two Hebrew words for trust. They were similar yet had slightly different meanings. The first word meant that when you trust someone, you have the confidence to flee to that person, knowing there will be safety. A bully picks on you as you come home from school, or someone stops you and you are fearful for your safety, so you run to someone who is stronger, whom you know will protect you. That’s trust.
The second word is the picture of a little child who is learning to walk. His father reaches out a hand and says, “Come to daddy. I won’t let you down. I’ll catch you before you fall.” This word is the one used in Proverbs 3:5-6. It means, “to rely upon, to have confidence in someone, to lean upon another.” I like that picture, and it is the advice of the wise old sage, Solomon, who urges, “Do it with all your heart,” no matter how foolish it may appear, because God will never let you fall.
When missionary John Patton was translating the New Testament in the New Hebrides, he sought for a word which was the equivalent of this one which Solomon used, and, in the language of the people he was striving to help, there was no equivalent, at least, none that he could find.
One day a native came into his little hut and, for the first time in his life, saw a chair that the missionary had built. Though it may seem strange to you that someone would never have seen a chair, strive to remember that in many cultures, chairs, as we know them, are just not used.
“What is that?” he asked Patton. Patton then replied, “A chair--you can put your weight on it; it won’t let you down,” and ever so cautiously the native followed Patton’s example and place his full weight on the chair.
“Ah,” thought Patton, “that concept is what Solomon was saying; and thus he translated the text of Proverbs, “You can put your full weight on God and not attempt to understand everything. Acknowledge God in everything you do, and God will direct your steps.”
Our problem is our hesitation to put our full weight on God when we can’t see the future. Today, as in Solomon’s day, our own understanding is often the hindrance to trusting Him, yet if you are convinced that God won’t lie to you, that He is also accessible, and that the promises of His word become the key that opens the door to His presence, then you can rely upon His goodness to meet you.
How God does something is His business, but your failure to rest in Him and to trust Him often keeps you in poverty of soul and spiritually depleted. How much better to rest in Him and realize His understanding goes far beyond ours.
Resource reading: Proverbs 3