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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!




Evan Thon
August 29th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

This is one of those verses that God is telling you “Listen, im kinda smarter than you. therefore trust in me than your self”. Seriously we are stupid without his guidence. But its harder than it sounds. I have so much more things going on now since school started back up. I hate to say it but i find my self saying “im too busy for God”. This is when i fall or start listening to my self or thinking i know better. When this happens im like, “what the crap man, what just happened?”. After a while arguing with my ignorance and pride, this passage reminds me. “im basically lost without God.”

Kennah Mathews
August 30th, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Trusting in the Lord with ALL my heart is the hardest part for me to grasp. I often say, “Lord I trust you,” but the problem with that is I don’t really give him my all. I give him the hopeful part of me that thinks that just maybe he will come through for me. I need to learn that no matter what, his plan is the right plan. I don’t want to lean against a water fall anymore. When trusting God, there cannot be a middle or luke warm spot for me. I need to give my absolute everything and believe that I will be guided in his path for me. When you allow someone else to take control of your life, there will be risks involved. These risks will constantly benefit us if God is controlling our life. Also, those risks teach us some of that wisdom that we all crave for!

Lesley Bringhurst
September 1st, 2008 at 2:44 am

AH, trust! Scary word. Haha. The word itself kinda reminds me of that thing we always do at retreats & stuff where the person stands behind you & you fall into their arms & if you are limp then you apparently trust them. Too bad itrue trust isn’t easy enough. I think that is because with that you are trusting someone to not let you bust your butt. Okay, big deal. If they let you down life goes on. Same thing with a secret. Little Judy tells everybody you sneezed at the zoo the other day & peed in your pants, well big whoop you get embarrassed. Trusting God is so different, though. It’s like even though you know that God letting you down is impossible, for us Christians, trusting in him is scary becuase he is everything. We have this screwed up mentality that when things do not go our way things are going wrong. LIke when you have a death in the family, GOD has let you down. And therefore it scares us to put our everything into him & have him let us down. Thank goodness that is impossible! What goes wrong in my life is part of a plan and is in accordance with a bigger picture. So if we can trust a friend with a secret then it is a slap in the face to not trust God with our everything, in my opinion. The concept is scary but the truth in it is so reassuring!

September 2nd, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Trust is easier said than done. i use to think i could trust people as long as they were my “friends” LATELY i have been figuring out who i REALLY CAN TRUST and who i REALLY CANT. its HASERICALLY funny (hahahha i dont know if i spelt that right ) how it works but it seems like when you find out you cant trust someone its like you cant trust a TONNN!!! lot more… i feel like i have to be able to trust everyone else BUT God. like i know that God is here and listening to me whenever i need him but when i talk to “friends” its easier you get a response and help ALOT QUiCKER .but really God is the only one who can REALLY actually help us with our problems..

(love BRiLEY HENdERsOn)

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