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Taking “Know” for an Answer

August 29th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NLT & NKJV)

New Living Translation

 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
 6 Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take. 


New King James Version

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 
      And lean not on your own understanding; 
       6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
      And He shall direct your paths. 


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Okay, so this is not only one of the most famous passages in all of scripture, but also one of my personal favorites.  It’s so “venti” (that’s Starbucks’ word for huge) that I felt it was necessary to post it in two different versions– yeah, that’s “venti” indeed!

For many people out there, this verse can come across like the secret decoder pen in a Cracker Jack Box– okay, for you youngins, it could come across like the secret password to someone’s personal wifi network.  At any rate, it can be read like a magic formula that instantly produces results in someone’s life.  From the NLT version, the formula goes something like this: “trust, seek, be shown the path to success.”

That’s cool and all.  I mean, sure we should trust and seek the Lord– but often I find myself wanting to push the right buttons on God’s security system pad that will disarm the invisible field that is keeping me from what I really think I want.  What’s the code? I know!  Trust . . . seek . . . enter.  Again, nothing wrong with this concept in theory. But this particular verse has a much deeper connotation when one puts their mental shovel to its soil.  

Let’s begin our cognitive excavation with trust.  Trust is easier said than done. Many of us think of this trust as some mystically-induced, altered state of mind in which no matter what is actually going on around us, we “trust” that what we want to happen will happen.  However, the onus of this verse is not that we trust in an event to happen; it’s that we trust in the Lord to happen.

When we only trust God for what we want instead of for who He is, we bypass the relationship that we have with Him.  He becomes our “Santa Claus,” bringing gifts to us every time we ask.  Truth be told, I theorize that if Santa didn’t have a reputation for giving presents, most people in the world would consider the whole idea of a large, portly old guy parking his reindeer on their roof and invading their house through the chimney as a little freaky.  But hey, as long as he has his huge bag of goodies, we trust him.  

We must begin to trust the Lord no matter what He has in store for us in His bag– that’s why this trust must be with “all your heart”– that’s where our true intentions are revealed and our real character is developed. 

Next, we move on to “don’t depend on your own understanding.”  Notice the verse has moved from our hearts to our minds.  That’s how it often works with trusting God: you begin with giving your heart to His plans for your life, but when those plans look impossible or crazy, you’ve got to deal with that pesky little thing up in your melon called your brain.  

I love how the New King James Version says it, “lean not on your own understanding.” Leaning is a funny thing– the strength of your lean is only as strong as the object you are leaning against.  Lean against a brick wall . . . you’re good.  Lean against a waterfall, you’ll fall right through.  In this case, our own understanding about what’s best in life is the waterfall– it won’t sustain the lean.

Finally, it’s time for the “seek His will in all you do” part.  Again, this is cool, but couple it with the New King James Version and it explodes off the page.  “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Acknowledge, to most people, means simply nodding at someone as you pass by them– you acknowledge them.  Acknowledging someone doesn’t require a deep conversation– it just means you check in.

But in the original Hebrew, the word “acknowledge” is literally translated, “to know.” Dude, that’s “venti!” Trusting God isn’t about just nodding at Him as you make your own decisions; it’s about knowing Him. Intimacy.  Closeness.  It means that your trust in Him is so deep that the daily details of life are funneled through your connection to the Father.  

Know Him in your worry.  Know Him in your confusion.  Know Him in your happiness. Know Him better than you know your limitations.  Know Him better than you know your weakness.  Know Him better than any other aspect of life.

In “all” your ways, “know” Him.  Sounds like a nice answer to me!





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