There are certain verses that just stick out in a universal way to God’s people. What verses do you think of first from Proverbs? Most likely many of us think of Proverbs 3:5-6:
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.
Have you ever noticed that when you examine the context of famous passages like this you learn something that makes the famous passage even more edifying? The context of such passages are almost like walking into a diamond store and perusing the various diamonds on display. In order for the diamond to be appreciated in its beauty, the display is set up in such a way that the context highlights the beauty of the diamond. Such is the the case for Proverbs 3:5-6. The display of the verses (context) highlights the beauty of the verses in a very edifying way.
We are commanded to trust in the LORD. The self-existent covenant keeping God is who we are to trust and we are to do so with all our hearts. But there is an alternative way to live life and it is our default setting even if we are born again. If we just get up in the morning and put our lives into neutral and see where it takes us it will always take us the way of “leaning on our own understanding.” Rather than innately trusting God we innately trust ourselves. But we are commanded to not go with the flow of our hearts, but with the flow of God’s work in us in our new nature. We are to walk by the Spirit not according to the flesh. We are to trust in the LORD with all our hearts, but where does the “rubber” of this wonderful exhortation meet the road? Verse 6 reveals this answer. The rubber meets the road in who we acknowledge in all our ways. Trusting the LORD rather than ourselves is inseparable from acknowledging the LORD in all our ways. There is a wonderful promise attached to all of this, if by God’s grace we do trust in and acknowledge the LORD in all our ways we can be confident that the LORD will make our paths straight. He will make our paths straight in a sin cursed crooked world. He will make our paths straight in a world full of twists and turns and seeming dead ends. This does not mean that the potholes will be eliminated, but it does mean that the LORD will sustain us through them in a straight way toward glory.
That is the diamond that many of us know. But do you know the setting of this diamond? Just consider Proverbs 3:7:
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
Here is an important question. What would our lives look like if we did in fact trust in the LORD with all our heart and rightly acknowledge Him in all our ways?
First, we would not be wise in our own eyes. We would have a growing sense of desperate dependence upon the LORD in all areas of our lives because we trust Him not ourselves. We would be very aware of the bitter taste from past experiences when we trusted ourselves rather than the LORD as evidenced by our arrogant confidence that we could handle it on our own. We would no longer consider ourselves wise, but know that any true godly wisdom we have is by virtue of our union with Christ who is the Person of Wisdom.
Second, we would fear the LORD. Not because He is out to get us but because He is so glorious and gloriously for us in Christ. We would fear God because He is so good, so powerful, so wise, so merciful, so sovereign, that we are completely at His disposal and we know that it would be the height of folly to take Him lightly. A life of trust in God is always married to a life of fearing Him.
Third, we would turn away from evil. We would do this because trusting God and evil go together about as good as water and oil. How can we trust God and at the same time trust ourselves by rejecting His Word and going the way of evil? No, a life of trusting God is a life that is increasingly turning away from evil-great and small, internal and external, obvious and subtle.
So, trust in the LORD with all your heart, but don’t forget the setting of this wonderful exhortation. What would be the marks in your life for such a life of trusting the LORD and acknowledging Him? You would be…
- Increasingly humble
- Increasingly in reverential awe of God’s glory
- Increasingly separated from evil