This morning’s reading took me to a familiar passage, but apparently one the Lord wanted me to look at in closer inspection. “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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” (Prov 3:5-8)
Human understanding is always subject to error. What appears to be the right choice may be the wrong choice. But the Lord sees the big picture and He always knows what is best for us. The point here is not to be mindless or naïve. Rather, we need to recognize our own limitations. Abraham couldn’t see how everything would work out for the best when the Lord commanded him to slay his son Isaac on Mount Moriah (Gen 22:1–2), but he trusted in the Lord with all his heart, and did not lean on his own understanding.
The Lord had promised Abraham that He would establish His covenant with Isaac and his descendants (Gen 17:19), so Abraham believed Him. The Lord did not disappoint Abraham’s wholehearted trust, nor will He disappoint us if we trust Him with all our heart. Our understanding may need time to catch up with His will, but in the end we’ll see how He is always working for good (Rom 8:28).
If we want perfect direction in life, whether we are buying a house or looking for a spouse, choosing a vocation or planning a vacation, in all our ways we should acknowledge the Lord. He will not only guide us in the right way but also remove obstacles from our path. The apostle James admonishes us to consult the Lord’s will when we need to plan our days (James 4:13–15)
Solomon continues his counsel regarding trusting the Lord instead of one’s own understanding: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” (Prov 3:7) He tells us not to rely on our own wisdom. This doesn’t mean we’re to act recklessly or without thought. The point is that our intellect is nothing compared to that of God, who created us. Human wisdom falls far below God’s wisdom and leads to false assumptions. Heathens claim to be wise but prove themselves fools: “professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man” (Rom 1:22-23a).
It is infinitely better to reverence the Lord, trust Him, and turn one’s back on evil than to follow our own inclinations. Many times we are tempted with friendships of worldliness that prove to be detrimental to our walk with the Lord. We need to be certain that we are fearing the Lord and not cozying up with worldliness. “Unfaithful people! Don’t you know that to be the world’s friend means to be God’s enemy? If you want to be the world’s friend, you make yourself God’s enemy.” (James 4:4 GNT)
The Israelites were desperate for water. They grumbled when they found water at Marah, but could not drink it because it was bitter. However, the Lord cured the water and promised, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Ex 15:26)
Solomon tells his student what the results will be if the student trusts in the Lord wholeheartedly, acknowledges the Lord in everything, fears the Lord, and turns his back on evil: “It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” (Prov 3:8) While the promise God made specifically to the Israelites who were wandering through the wilderness, we can certainly extrapolate that diligently heeding His Word and doing what He says is right is best for our health; mentally, physically and spiritually.