Here we are, standing on tiptoe, gazing at a fresh calendar full of possibilities. Clever you, choosing the perfect Proverb to end one year and begin the next.
It’s actually two verses with one powerful message. Diana and her daughter both count this passage as their favorite, which has “forged a special bond” between them. Brenda has these verses on her desk at work and on her shower curtain at home (perhaps like this one or this one or this one), to keep her spiritually on track each day.
Even if you know these verses by heart, take a fresh look and see what God might be saying to you, as together we celebrate a life-changing year in His Word.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart… Proverbs 3:5
Trust. It’s the first thing a child learns. And the first thing a child of God learns, as we discover how to “lean on, trust in, and be confident” (AMP) in Him.
In order to “place your trust” (VOICE) in God, you must first lift something off your own shoulders—the need for control, the need to have all the answers—and deposit those things into His loving hands.
Then, you must let go.
In Hebrew, kol means “all.” Not some, not most, but all. Holding back nothing, making no demands, we must “completely” (ERV) release our deep need to be in charge.
The Lord knows how hard this is for us, and what it will cost us to trust Him. The sacrifice of self. The putting aside of pride. The laying down of arms.
No more fighting Him. No more insisting on having our own way. As if we knew best. As if.
…and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
It’s helpful to have something to lean on. A rail when we climb steps. The back of a chair when we have to pull on a shoe.
But “lean not” isn’t asking us to avoid doing a physical thing. It means “don’t depend” (ERV) and “do not rely” (AMP) on that which is undependable and unreliable.
The Hebrew word, shaan, means “to lean, to support oneself.” When you think about it, leaning on or supporting yourself is nigh to impossible. Where would you put your hand? Where would you rest your weight?
The One who loves us knows we can’t stand on our own. Depend wholly on ourselves? Go through life without Him? We’re simply not built to do that.
Whether you call it “insight” (AMP) or “intelligence” (CEB) or “judgment” (CEV), our own understanding is not to be trusted. “What you think you know” (GNT) isn’t enough to carry you through.
Our flawed thinking will invariably lead us downward rather than upward. The Lord who formed our gray matter and shaped our intellect cautions us, “Never depend upon your own ideas and inventions” (VOICE), and whatever you do, “don’t try to figure out everything on your own” (MSG).
Christina, who also chose this verse, realized, “My own understanding is often very limited and faulty. I have no recourse, save to trust in the Lord.”
So…can we live out our favorite Proverb? Can we let go and trust God?
…in all your ways submit to him,… Proverbs 3:6
There’s that word again. All. Utterly inclusive. Nothing left out. “Everything you do” (GNT) pretty much covers it.
In Hebrew, yada means “to know”—a different idea of “submit” altogether. We are to care more about knowing the Lord than knowing ourselves. To “remember” (GNT), “acknowledge” (ASV), and “recognize” (AMP) Him. To “think about what he wants” (ERV), and discover everything we can about His character, His attributes, His nature.
This is what God is waiting for us to grasp:
If you knew Me, you would trust Me.
…and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6
No maybe here. A promise. A guarantee. “He’s the one” (MSG)
The truth, beloved? God is in control whether we allow Him to be or not. We do not make Him Lord. He is Lord. The moment we accept that reality, the very second we bend our hearts and knees to His power and might, we find our loving God is already blessing us, already taking us by the hand, already leading us in the right direction.
Our paths aren’t meant to be straight in a literal sense, like straight lines. After all, it’s the unexpected curves, the bends in the road, the surprises along the way that keep us on our toes and make the whole trip more fun.
God promises He will “help you go the right way” (ERV)—which is His way. That’s the only way you want to walk. Not because you aren’t smart enough to chart your own course, but because you’re smart enough to know His course is the best one for you.
He will “guide you on the right paths” (HCSB) and “keep you on track” (MSG), no matter how many twists and turns you travel between here and heaven.
Lord, I want to trust You in all things, not just some things. Help me learn from You. Help me lean on You. Help me let go of my stubborn need to control. Help me understand that loving You with all my heart means trusting You with all I was and am and will be. Lord, please carry me across the threshold of a new year, safely in Your arms.
Now it’s your turn
- Consider these four New Year’s resolutions from Proverbs 3:5-6. Which one would be the easiest for you to keep? And which one the hardest?
Trust His love.
Follow His lead.
Accept His will.
Embrace His peace.
Please share your thoughts by clicking Post a Comment below. Your honesty and openness are a blessing to us all.
At the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve, I chose 10 winners at random from all our December comments and gave away 5 silvery necklaces from Jessica Ely Jewelry and 5 fine art prints from StudioJRU, each one featuring our #1 favorite from Proverbs. Congrats to Fran, Edie, Carol, Linda, Jean, Deni, Penelope, Carol, Debbie, and Sharon. I love these beauties and hope you will too!
So, I had this plan for our 2015 study, thinking we’d unpack all the wonderful things you are in Christ. “You are adopted,” “You are beautiful,” “You are created”…you get the idea.
Then I prayed about it. And the Lord said, “No. Show them Who I am.” Even now, my heart beats faster, remembering that moment.
The truth is, being told that we are loved and protected and forgiven is only meaningful if we fully understand the One who loves, protects, and forgives. That’s why we’ll spend the first half of 2015 celebrating the many reasons He Is Worthy of Our Praise.
I know you’re super-busy, so my posts will be half this long (promise!) and truly encouraging, as we praise the Lord for “His Grace,” “His Kindness,” “His Mercy,” “His Patience,” “His Strength,” “His Love”…oh, my. Is it January 7th yet?
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise. Psalm 145:3
Happy New Year!
Your grateful sister, Liz
Click on my pic to see my 2015 speaking calendar.
P.S. My 2015 resolution? For a Happy Year, be made New: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).