Can a person be taught to trust? Several years ago on the back of a church bulletin, Dr. Lofton Hudson related a counseling experience with a woman who was mentally sick because she had never learned to trust. He father, on several occasions, had demanded that she jump from a porch or ledge to his arms. When she jumped, he would more and she would fall. The he would say, "Don't trust anyone."
When I read that my children were young, so I began having them jump to me and then tell them they could trust their daddy. Several times they would run to a stairway and say, "Daddy, I want to trust you."
We can learn to trust. Our text commands "Trust in the Lord with all your heart." In the Hebrew language 'trust' originally had the idea of lying helplessly face downwards. It came to mean to cling to, confide in, or to set one's hope and confidence upon. If one trusts with all their heart, they will. . ."concentrate the whole inner life on the active contemplation of God, and the ready observance of His will." (Keil & Delitzsch, p. 87).
The text gives instructions on learning to trust God:
We are instructed not to lean on our understanding
We are instructed in all our ways to acknowledge Him.
We are instructed not to be wise in our own ways.
We are instructed to fear God and turn away from evil.
Let's consider these points further.
I. Instruction for learning to trust God;
Don't lean on your own understanding. vs 5, 6.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Moses and the Red Sea
Do you have a desire to lean on God or lean on your own understanding?
The scripture commands us to trust the Lord by not leaning on our understanding.
My friend, we need to trust God; our leaning is to be on Him and not on
ourselves. Romans 3:4 says, "Let God be found true, though every man be
found a liar." He alone should be trusted and we can learn to trust Him.
Notice the second point.
II. Instruction for learning to trust
God; In all your ways
Acknowledge Him. v. 6 a.
'Ways' means "the course of conduct, journey or path one treads." (Wilson, p. 475). 'Acknowledge' means ". . .earnest penetrating cognizance, engaging the whole man." (K & D, p. 87) or "to recognize in all our dealings and understandings God's overruling providence." (Pulpit, p. 56). If one acknowledges God in all their ways, what will they do?
First, God will not be an elective in the school of life. He will be
the major subject. Second, He will not be acknowledged on special occasions
or seasons of the year. Neither will He be called upon just in time of
need. Why should one acknowledge Him in all their ways?
1) The Bible says to do it.
2) It recognizes our wills are subject to a higher authority.
3) It guards against our acknowledging God in great crises and solemn acts of
worship therefore making us more stable Christians. What are the result of acknowledging
Him in all our ways?
The Interpreter's Bible suggests a result of "Tranquility of Mind" and
"A Trustful Attitude." (I.B. , p. 800). We have an example of this kind
of trust in the Lord Jesus, while he was being crucified, His critics said,
"He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him;".
Even on the cross the Lord displayed a tranquil mind and a trustful attitude.
One day a man called the pastor because he was troubled about his job. He had worried himself sick over this matter. While he spoke on the phone, the pastor heard the children playing and the sound of laughter. The pastor asked if the children were upset. The man answered, "No, why should they be upset?: The pastor said, "Because they know whatever happens I will take care of them." The pastor then related to this man that as a child of God, he could have the same faith and trust in God.
God is to be acknowledged as the Lord in every area of life. We are
told to acknowledge Him in all our ways. At work, home, play and worship,
we are to magnify Him. Notice the third way we are instructed to trust
III. Instruction for learning to trust
Do not be wise in your own eyes. v. 7 a
A command "do not be wise" at first doesn't sound correct. But the instruction is to be wise in trust and not wise in your own ways. For "trust in God is wisdom but trust in yourself is unwisdom." (Pulpit, p. 56). It is a protest against self sufficiency and self reliance because that is pride and God hates the proud attitude.
The great hindrance to all true wisdom is the thought that we have already attained it. This word for 'wise' means. . ."the exercise of correct judgment, shrewdness. . .or skillful to judge." (Wilson, p. 484). It is significant that these words are from the writings of Solomon. You know he had a gift of wisdom from God but he says, "don't be wise in your own eyes."
Logic is the science of correct thinking, but trust or faith doesn't fit into the categories of logic. Trust cannot be reasoned to a logical conclusion. You can reason about God and about His command, but when you really trust, you have to leave that reasoning behind.
Pr. 26:12, Is. 5:21, Rom, 12:16, I Cor. 8:2, Gal, 6:3.
After prayerful analysis and much experience in how to trust God during a building program, a church was advised not to build by Elwood Kelly and the Missouri Baptist Convention, They went ahead with a new bond company and had all kinds of trouble. They were wise in their own eyes.
Do you proceed through life in your own wisdom? Purchasing homes, cars
and trinkets for your family using yourself as a consultant. . .Do you
have money for vacation and pleasure, but none for God and the church?
The Bible commands "don't be wise in your own eyes." The fourth point of
instruction is in the last part of verse 7. Notice what it says.
IV. Instruction for learning to trust God;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. v. 7 b.
This term 'fear' "is religious reverence. . .a religious character,. . .to worship God. (Wilson p. 159). It has the connotation of awe as to hold someone in awe. To fear God is to hold Him in highest esteem and reverence. The 10 Commandments tells us 1) He is uniquely Holy 2) His image is Holy 3) His name is Holy 4) His day is Holy. If you would like to learn to trust God, have a healthy and holy reverence and fear of Him. Read Prov. 1:7 and 9:10. They tell how wise it is to fear the Lord.
The idea of turning from evil is to escape or get away from the place of evil or temptation. It is evidence of wisdom when a person fears the Lord and turns away from evil. You and I can grow in wisdom by developing this character.
Joseph is one of the outstanding characters in the Old Testament. He had a healthy and holy reverence for God. On one occasion while he was serving as an important servant to Potiphar (the captain of the guard), Potiphar's wife tried to get him to sin with her. Joseph fled from the woman.
Do you have a healthy and holy fear of God that affects the use of time, talent and possession? Does reverence for God cause you and I to turn away from evil? The command of the Bible is "to fear the Lord and turn away from evil."
We can learn to trust the Lord with all our heart. In these verses we have been instructed about learning to trust by:
Not leaning on our own understanding
Acknowledging Him in all our ways
Not being wise in our own ways
Fearing the Lord and turning from evil.
We will sing a hymn of decision inviting you to come forward and make public your
decision to begin this life of trust by placing your trust in Christ.
If you are already a Christian you may be led of the Lord to unite with
us by moving your membership into the church. However God leads you, make
your decision today.
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!