Thursday, January 12, 2012

Proverbs 3:5-6

Today I was listening to a pastor in my truck that talked about our way of thinking. The title of his sermon was “the proper way of thinking”. My thoughts are all over the place sometimes, usually ruled by my emotions. Most of us women have this problem, I think, at least talking to other sisters and other women, which seem to be the norm- we think too much! This pastor talked about Philippians 4- “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just…” you know the scripture so I won’t list it all here again. (If you don’t may I encourage you to go and read it!)
This led me to thinking about my thoughts and how they affect everything that I do. My emotions have been all over the place lately- I have gone from joy to discouragement, from happiness to sorrow, from moments of extreme rejoicing to down right on my knees temper tantrums! Emotions, they are a funny thing. But they lead us to do something that goes against what the Lord is requiring of us. “What is that?’ you may be asking. Let me tell you- it is a word and a requirement that I have struggled with and still struggle with today- it is trust. I have huge trust issues, not only with my Lord and Savior but with other people. I have been hurt and let down so many times that the thought of trusting anyone is too difficult to even bear sometimes. But trust requires me to do something else, something else I am no good at doing. What is that? It is giving up control- giving up control of the situations in my life to someone other than myself. This leads me to the scripture I want to talk about today. Proverbs 3:5-6.
“Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” We all know this scripture, we have all recited it to others, and we have all recited it to ourselves. But do we really understand it? Do we really get what the Lord is trying to say to us through His word? I didn’t fully understand until this morning. Trust is a word that seems to be floating around a lot lately too. I hear other women speak of it, I hear people tell me to trust, and so on. In fact, I have been reading devotions, and other Facebook posts of Christians all over who are also experiencing these same trust issues.
So what exactly then is the Lord trying to say to me, to us today? I started out by dissecting the verses. Let me take you on the journey the Lord brought me on this morning, and I pray you are blessed and not too bored by my ramblings! Let’s start with the word of choice- the word TRUST. Trust, in the context of this scripture means “to have confidence, be confident, be bold and be secure”. It means to take your confidence and set it upon someone else. What is our confidence in then? Is it in our husbands? Honestly, no- I don’t always have confidence in my husband, I love him, but he does not always leave me with the confidence I am seeking. My confidence, my boldness, my security should be in the Lord God. My confidence should not be on any earthly person or earthly thing-but in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Secondly, if our confidence is to be in the Lord then how do we know without a doubt that He is capable of not letting us down?  (As many of us women have been let down before by fathers, mothers, family, and even ourselves before) It started with the meaning of “in the Lord” for me today. As most of you know, the Hebrew and Greek languages are very complex and our English language cannot keep up sometimes- so we use the same word to define multiple words. “In the Lord” means that He is the Existing One. The word Lord is translated, “Jehovah”- the Supreme God, the proper name of the One True God. My trust, my confidence, boldness and security should be in the Supreme God, the One True God- the God of all things great and small. The Jehovah who created the heavens and the earth, the seas and the rivers, the stars, the sun and the moon- that is who I am to place my trust in.
After reading this I have to say, the thought of putting all my trust in Him seemed a little easier. I mean, if I am to trust the One that makes it rain on dry land, and gives life to a wildflower, how much more will He do for me. Jesus said in Matthew 6:26, 30 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?(26) …Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (30) Our trust should be easy to give when we accept who He is in our hearts, which leads me to the next part of my autopsy in Proverbs.
“With all our hearts”- trust in the Lord with “all our hearts”. This does not mean only with our hearts, in fact it actually means within the midst of our hearts, souls, and minds. Did not Jesus tell us to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds?  When we love the Lord and trust the Lord with all our hearts, then it will reflect in our thinking, in our determination and in our actions. The Lord will always work from the inside out, and our trust should begin on the inside and reflect on the outside. Trust is a hard word to digest sometimes, I know, I struggle with it all the time. But after pondering on who He is, trust seems to come much easier. He has never failed me, nor will He ever forsake me. Not even the birds, or the trees or the stars in heaven are below His touch, His power, His love. Why do I think that I am?
Proverbs 3:5 also tells us that we are to “lean not on our own understanding.” I found it interesting that the words “lean not” meant to rest. It said it was a metaphor used to describe kings who were accustomed to go out into public leaning on their friends and ministers. They would take the hand or arm of someone in their court and they would go out into the public-leaning upon the other person for support. If I am leaning on my own understanding, then I think I may be exalting myself a little too highly. “On our own understanding” describes our own will, and emotions, our intelligence and our own skills. We always want a plan B. We pray, “Lord, I trust you….but what about this?” or we say, “I am trusting the Lord, but just in case I am going to….” Instead of walking in the confidence of our Jehovah God, we instead make a secondary plan- leaning on our own desires, our own will, and our own abilities. What happens when you lean on someone, walking side by side and they trip or fall? Nine times out of ten you are going to tumble with them. What happens when you are all by yourself and trip and fall? You are all alone, calling out for help and hoping that someone will hear you. But if we lean on the Lord- if we lay ourselves down beside Him, He will always lift us up and pick us up- He never fails. (1 Corinthians 13- Love never fails)
This seems like a long post this morning, and it is in some respect. But bear with me, please. I believe the Lord is calling us into a deeper understanding of trust. I think He is calling us to draw near to Him and let go- a little bit more each day. Surrender does not come at once, nor overnight- we have to let a little go at a time. For some of us that surrender to Him comes much easier, but for those of us still holding onto these trust issues, it takes a little more time. But our Jehovah is longsuffering and patient, He is willing to be right there beside us as we take our baby steps.
Proverbs 3:6 now tells us how to lay down our emotions, our wills, our own abilities and trust the Lord. It tells us “in all our ways acknowledge Him”. “In all our ways” is the action of going or walking. It means a road or a journey; it also refers to our manners and our habits. We are all on a journey to somewhere- we are pilgrims and sojourners in the land. We have a path before us, a road that is specifically designed for each one of us. Ephesians 2:10 says, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (One of my favorite verses) We know that our Jehovah God will never leave us nor forsake us, we know that He cares for us and loves us above and beyond our own understanding, so therefore, the road we are walking is easier to walk, because He has prepared it for us. Why should we not trust Him? Has He ever given you reason not to trust Him? No, nor will He.
So we know that we have a predestined path set before us, we know that He has our best in His heart at all times. Now, we “acknowledge Him”. We will see, perceive and understand Him more as we trust Him and walk the path that He has laid before us. To acknowledge Him in this context means “to see, to get to know”. As we trust Him and walk we will “get to know Him and we will see Him” in every step of the way. Many times in the Old Testament the Lord God has said, “and you shall know that I am Jehovah, your God.” What greater purposes have we in this life than to know and to see and follow Him? Wow, what a great way to live!
And now, to come in for my landing, yes, I promise I am almost through! The last part of what I learned today, made my heart glad and my love for Him a little deeper. I pray it does for you too. It says that if we “trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, in all our ways acknowledge Him, He shall direct our paths.”
“He” being Jehovah and “our paths” is the poetic word used to describe “the way of life and happiness.” Big sigh from my heart! It means that if I lay down beside Him, Jehovah, The One True God, the Supreme God, He will make straight my way to life and happiness. What greater promise or reward can we receive by trusting Him? I cannot find one. In fact, the hope of a life and happiness is enough to motivate me to lay down today everything I know and everything I hold dear, give it to Him and say, “Yes, Lord. I trust You. My One True God, my Supreme God, my Jehovah God.”  Does this mean that we won’t have trials and tribulations, no- Jesus promised that we would have trials and tribulations; what it means is that no matter what happens, no matter what comes our way, the Lord God, Jehovah, the One True God has already worked it all out, He has made the road ahead straight, all we have to do is trust Him and walk- pretty simple when you think about it. Just trust and then walk. Have confidence in Who He Is, lay down our plans and walk the way that He has prepared for us-the way of life and happiness in Him. Simple, isn’t it?  
So my dear friends, as you rub your eyes from the many words that were written here today, I pray you take one simple truth from all of this, one simple thing- “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.” Amen!