PROVERBS 3:5-6: The Well-Worn Proverb
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. NKJV
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. KJV
O precious, simple proverb! How many have committed you to memory! How many have hung on to you when life has thrown its curve balls? Learned at a young age by many, this proverb has been a faithful guide for Christians throughout their lives. Let us ponder it again to gain something anew.
This proverb consists of two parts. The first part has to do with our trust (Prov. 3:5). To trust in the Lord with all your heart is the positive side of this truth; to not trust, or to not lean, on your own understanding expresses it negatively. Sometimes we are asked to trust in situations that do not make sense to us. Why would God give a married couple the desire to have children and then physically hinder them from having any? We don’t know. Why would God lead us along a career path, taking all the necessary steps to qualify for it, only to take away our health, preventing us from fulfilling the job He has prepared us for? Again, we don’t know. Again, why would God allow leading pastors and gifted teachers to be called away from a struggling assembly, or to be imprisoned or put to death at a time when their families and churches urgently need them? We are at a loss to explain it. But this is when Proverbs 3:5-6 becomes most precious to us.
The second part of this proverb has to do with our paths. If we acknowledge Him in all our ways, then He will direct us in all our paths. If you include Him in the dating and courtship process of your relationship, then He will direct you in the marital part. Conversely, if you leave Him out of the dating/courtship process, if you ignore His counsel and neglect to pray or to ask Him for His guidance, then your paths will not be smooth (as another translation puts it). On the contrary, your paths will be very bumpy and rough.
God never tries to hurt us but only to bless us. If we include Him in our decision making, taking His counsel into consideration first, if we lean not on our own understanding, trusting with all our heart like little children, then He will direct our paths and make them smooth.
~ From Shane Johnson’s Wisdom for Fools: 101 Proverbs to Live By, Chapter 6, pg. 28.
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