Which Way Do You Lean?

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Do you ever find what you think and what God says going in opposite directions? Sometimes we look at God’s way and think to ourselves, “That’s not going to work.”   Bible history is filled with examples: the people who lived in Noah’s neighborhood while he was building the ark; the children of Israel waiting on the shores of the Red Sea; the people of Jericho while the children of Israel were marching around their city walls each day; Jesus’ own disciples just before he took five little loaves of bread and two small fishes and started passing them out to over 5000 people. But God’s way does work, even when it seems to defy common sense.

Sometimes we want what we want so badly that we tell ourselves, “It won’t hurt anything,” even when God warns us not to. Again, the Bible is full of examples: Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit; Lot’s wife turning around to take a look back at Sodom and Gomorrah; Israel worshiping the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai; David committing adultery with Bathsheba. But ignoring God’s warnings always has consequences. We lose his blessings and invite his judgment– not just now, but forever.

We are still tempted to question and test this “Trust in the Lord” approach to life. If a financial crisis strikes, do we lean on our own understanding and give in to worry? Or do we trust in the Lord and his promise to provide our daily bread?

As we arrange our priorities, do we lean on our own understanding and arrange our life to maximize our personal comfort and enjoyment? Or do we trust in the Lord and put him first in how we budget our time and resources?

As we raise our children do we lean on the understanding of so many others that the best thing we can give them is every toy and gadget that comes along? Do we arrange their participation in all the music or athletics they could ever want, as though these things were our religion? Or do we trust in the Lord and make sure they receive God’s word above all else, and loving, godly discipline next to that?

The Lord has earned our trust in all these little details of life by his handling of the one great issue. If we were to lean on our own understanding in dealing with sin, we would try to pay for it ourselves. We would try to earn God’s love and acceptance. And we would fail.

But the Lord has that covered for us, too. Who would have thought of asking him to save us from the sins we had committed against him? That is just what he has done. Who would have thought of asking God to sacrifice the only Son he had to pay for those sins? But that is what Jesus was doing when he died on the cross. Who would have thought of asking God to make forgiveness and eternal life a free gift? That is just the gift he has given to us.

It is that gift that inspires us to trust in the Lord with all our heart, even when our own understanding wants to take us in a different direction.

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