“Trust in (the Lord) … and lean not on (your own understanding)” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
Figuratively, we each have a walking stick for our life journey – a belief system or constitution that casually guides us during normal times and that we lean more heavily on when the road gets a little rough or treacherous. God’s message to believers in Proverbs 3:5-8 is essentially, “Make me your walking stick.”
The Hebrew verb “batach,” translated “trust” in verse 5 occurs 118 times in the Old Testament. In the literal, physical sense, it means to lean on something for support. While the verb often depicts people trusting in things that prove to be unreliable, here the object of trust is the LORD. Trust in (lean on) me with all your heart. In all your ways submit to me.
Not only does the LORD insist he is always reliable for trusting in and leaning on, our own understanding is not so reliable. Adding “lean not on your own understanding” renders this as a “both/and” proposition – to both “trust in” the LORD and to “lean not on” our own understanding.
Even though Proverbs 3 is God inviting ancient Israel in the older testament to “Trust in me,” the principle follows all through the Christmas story that launches the newer testament. After Israel vacillated wildly between the blessings of trusting in the Lord and the repercussions of failing to do so, along comes Jesus. The long-awaited Messiah not only modeled how to walk out life trusting in God, he audaciously presented himself as the way to do so. (John 14:6)
That Jesus’ beginnings didn’t follow a Messiah-like script should prepare us for the unusual form of “understanding” that trusting the LORD requires. A sampling from Jesus’ messages: “To be rich, become poor …
to be comforted, mourn…. to be satisfied, hunger for righteousness… to receive mercy, humble yourself…. to save your life, die…the first are last… to be found, become lost… love your enemies….”
To both trust in the Lord AND lean not on your own understanding is to affirm that God has the “why” fully covered because he is also the way. Mind you, dulling followers’ minds is not the LORD’s goal here. The exact opposite in fact, “life to the full” – to flourish in the freedom of grace found only in Christ! (John 10:10)
Also in Proverbs 3, God offers some great benefits to those who accept the both/and proposition: 1) crooked paths made straight (v6); and, deep, “bone-felt” well-being (v8).
How does God deliver such lofty claims? Follow the story that unfolds all through Scripture. “What he desires, that he does,” proclaimed Job (23:13b). “Our God … does all that he pleases,“ said David (Psalm 115:3). “As I have planned, so shall it be,” wrote Isaiah (14:24). Christmas is the unveiling of God’s ultimate stroke – Jesus Christ who said of himself, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18).
All this year, I repeated this verse over and over to counter unsettling thoughts, situations and developments – “Trust in” and “lean not on…” When what life brings seems vexing, insurmountable or both, be assured that God is trustworthy beyond your understanding. True well-being comes when we take him at his word and live accordingly. (see John 16:33).
“Trust me on this,” says the LORD, “and lean not on your own understanding.”
1. COMMENTS WELCOME and ENCOURAGED here about how the ornament and/or message struck you ESPECIALLY from ornament recipients. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE a 2015 “Trust in the Lord” ornament, simply request one by emailing me at FarmingtonGlenn@gmail.com. No guarantees but if I can get one to you, I will. If shipping is required, I may ask you to cover those costs.
- Was thrilled to find this great Ken doll “shoe store” at AliExpress.
- These instructions helped me achieve an authentic driftwood look for the walking stick – although the instructions made this look easier than it turned out to be.
3. Ornament Scriptures:
Supporting scriptures and resources:
- Occurrences in Old Testament of Hebrew verb “batach” translated “Trust” on Proverbs 3:5:http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_982.htm
- Some of the paradoxes in Jesus’ messages and the Christian life: http://www.3riversgrace.org/3rg-blog/gospel-paradoxes
- Jesus presenting himself as THE only way to God: John 14:6
- Life to the full: John 10:10
- Claims of Sovereignty, what God says he can and will do: Job 23:13; Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 14:24; Matthew 28:18; Also see: “Sovereignty” in openbible.info
- Encouragement from Jesus for when trouble comes – John 16:33