Trust in the LORD with all thine heart

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This is many people’s favourite Scripture.  It was the verse written by my mother into my confirmation bible:

“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 3:4-5)

I wonder what approach you take to the question of guidance.

Some people approach guidance like a tight-rope walker.  They think life is all about making the right choices.  There’s one best path for them and if they miss it, they’ve fallen off God’s will for their life.  Is that how you think about guidance?

The other approach is the boundary keeper.  This person thinks life is all about cutting loose. Essentially there are some boundaries out there.  But as long as they’re not breaking any major commandments they get on and choose what they please.

Are you more of a tightrope walker or a boundary keeper?

Both are wrong. And these verses from Proverbs tell us why.

The very first phrase takes us into a completely different realm.  “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart.”

This is about confidence – not the fear of the tightrope-walker.  And it’s about love – not the detachment of the boundary-keeper.  You see, neither the tight-rope walker nor the boundary-keeper are thinking in personal terms.  They’re too busy “getting it right” or “doing their own thing” to bother with relationship.  But as we saw yesterday – the essence of wise living is to be joined to a Person called Wisdom.  We are not on a tight-rope, nor in a wide-open plain.  We’re in a relationship – a trusting, heart-to-heart relationship.  This is the context for guidance.

Once we’re clear on this, Solomon continues with a note of wonderful freedom:

In all thy ways acknowledge him.

The verse doesn’t say “As you travel along God’s one and only path…”  It says “In all thy ways…”

You see we do have different ways that we can travel.  And they are truly our ways.  Jesus lets us own our own decisions.  He entrusts us with wonderful freedom here.  So, again, the tight-rope walker is wrong.

But as the verse continues, we see that the boundary-keeper is wrong also.  “In all thy ways acknowledge him.”  Literally “acknowledge” is just the word “to know” him.  Whatever path we take we are to walk it with the LORD in order to know Him better.

So, Take the job, don’t take it.  Marry the person, don’t marry them.  But whatever you do, know the LORD.  The point is not so much to make the right decision.  The point in all our decisions is to know Jesus better.

It’s interesting that so much tightrope-walking is a rejection of relationship in order be right. And so much boundary-keeping is a rejection of relationship in order to be free. But the Christian makes decisions not to be right and not to be free, but in order to know Jesus better.

And in that context, Solomon gives us a promise: “and he shall direct thy paths.”  Doors will open up, other options will close down.  He will redeem old mistakes and simplify new options for the future.  He will take care of the path.  We are simply to keep our eyes on Him.

No wonder these verses are precious to so many:

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 3:4-5)

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