Trust in the LORD with all thine heart

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Proverbs 3:1-35

This is many people’s favourite Scripture.  In fact, 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)

What’s your approach 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 see guidance?

Or perhaps you’re a boundary keeper.  For this person, life is all about cutting loose.  Yes, there are some boundaries.  But as long as I’m not breaking any major commandments, I can get on as I please.

Which are you: a tightrope walker or a boundary keeper?

Both are wrong. And Proverbs explains why.  Listen to how the verse begins:

“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.  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’re 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.  And he presents to us a glorious opportunity:

“In all thy ways acknowledge him.”

Literally, “acknowledge” means “to know” him.  Whatever path we take we are to walk it with the LORD in order to know Him better.

So, whether I take the job or turn it down.  Whether I marry or stay single – whatever I do, I am to know the LORD.  The point is not so much to make “the right decision”.  The point in all our decisions is to know Jesus!

So much of our tightrope-walking is about wanting to be right – this is why we reject relationship. But boundary-keeping is also a rejection of relationship – in this case, in order to be free. Yet the Christian makes decisions not to be right and not to be free, but to enjoy their close walk with the LORD.  He is the point.

In that context, Solomon gives us a promise: “and he shall direct thy paths.”  Some doors will open as others close.  He will redeem old mistakes and unfold new options for the future.  He directs our steps.  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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