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  • Writer's pictureBetty Dodge

Trust in the LORD with All Your Heart (Proverbs 3:5-6 [7])

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. ⁶In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. [⁷Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.] —Proverbs 3:5-6 [7]

The LORD is trustworthy.

As believers, we long to impart God's wisdom to the children in our care that the next generation might worship God and trust Him with all their heart. The book of Proverbs has been given for this purpose, and our high calling. This week’s passage is a familiar prayer for all who disciple children. We often mark our children's milestones: the "first Bible," the baptism certificate, and graduation cards often are inscribed with the exhortation to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths."

The one who trusts in the Lord with all his heart finds Him faithful and true.

The Lord is:

  • Holy. He works in us, causing us to renounce every competing affection (Psalm 31:6).

  • Omniscient. our Creator who knows and purposes everything from beginning to end (Romans 11:33-36; Revelation 1:8, 17-18)

  • Omnipotent. He is mightier and more trustworthy than any other help (Psalm 9:9-10; Psalm 20:7; Isaiah 40:2).

  • Omnipresent. He is with us always even to death and eternity (Psalm 23; Romans 8:38-39).

  • Our eternal security (Isaiah 26:4; Psalm 125:1).

  • Our personal strength and shield, refuge and fortress, the joy of our heart (Psalm 28:7; Psalm 91:2; Proverbs 29:25).

The Lord has:

  • Crowned us with lovingkindness and mercy (Psalm 103:4).

  • He will act on behalf of those who trust Him (Psalm 37:5).

  • He will give us light in the darkness (Isaiah 50:10).

Why should we not lean on our own understanding?

Our understanding is fallen, flawed, and limited. Woven into our understanding are threads of sinful motivations such as pride, vengeance, self-protection, self-pity, and lack of compassion. We may think we are wise, but we mustn't be fooled. Our self-assessments cannot be trusted (v. 7). Only the Lord's understanding and wisdom are sure and incorruptible. The Bible also tells us, in Romans 11:33-34, that His wisdom and understanding are inscrutable, meaning mysterious and deep. His purposes are often hidden. We can't fully know all that He is doing or why, but we can trust His goodness toward us because:

  • He knows all that we will face—we cannot know what tests are coming.

  • He is sovereign and purposeful over our lives—we are not able to control all that will happen to us.

  • His faithfulness and love are unshakable—we are unsure and sometimes doubt.

  • Not one word of His has ever failed—we will falter and break our vows.

Even when we trust the Lord and can see the “straight path” in His Word, over time, life can take unexpected turns and we are tempted to start leaning on our own limited understanding. This is why the next admonition is so important: "In all your ways acknowledge him" (v. 6). In every situation and life choice you face, acknowledge Him—worship Him, pray to Him, learn of Him in the counsel of His Word, be devoted to Him, think on Him, fear Him, turn from evil, and keep your heart fixed on Him as He leads you, even when you don't fully understand the way.

Only the Lord can make your paths straight. Pray, saying, "Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name" (Psalm 86:11).


For Reflection

  1. What are some “paths” you have chosen that need God's straightening work? What are some challenges you now face that are making it difficult for you to trust in the Lord with all your heart?

  2. In what ways are you helped by knowing God's attributes listed above? How are you helped by knowing God is in control, and His understanding of your situation is complete?

  3. What are some attributes of God that are especially precious to you? Why? Share your testimony of God's grace and faithfulness with someone who is doubting, and pray with him.

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