“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil” (Prov. 3:5–7 NIV)
Proverbs is a collection of teachings, sayings, and advice commonly attributed to King Solomon as the author. Handing down the value of wisdom and discipline is the stated purpose of the book. As a father interacts with his son and verbalizes the importance of living well and trusting the Lord, the reader is granted access to those same lessons.
A frequent topic of conversation among humans is the struggle of difficult days or the stress that often accompanies difficult decisions. In our selected passage, the lesson being taught is to trust the Lord and not your own understanding. For some, this generates the question, “How do I do that?” Seemingly in anticipation of that question, Solomon continues by instructing his son to seek the will of God and that God would direct his path (verse 6). It is important that Christians continue to grow in knowledge and understanding of Scripture and in relationship with God. However, Solomon is teaching that our knowledge and understanding fall short in comparison to God’s knowledge. He is aware of our circumstances and sees the entirety of our days. God is trustworthy, and our best decision is to surrender control of our lives to Him.
Occasionally I have the opportunity to take a road trip with a friend. On many of those trips, I volunteer to drive and can complete that responsibility without any issues. Sometimes, though, I become tired and need to relinquish the driver’s seat for us to proceed safely. When we stop to use the restroom and grab a snack, I have a decision to make: Will I trust my friend to drive us?
Proverbs 3 was written by Solomon as advice to his son. In verses 5–7, his instruction is to “trust in the Lord.” A common illustration for trust is to think of sitting in a chair. One can state that they trust a chair will hold their full weight if they were to sit in it. However, the person does not demonstrate trust in that chair until they have sat down on it and transferred their full weight to it. Trust requires a transfer of strength and control. To demonstrate that I trusted my friend to drive us, I had to offer him the driver’s seat and allow him to have control of the vehicle. To genuinely trust God, we must recognize Him as trustworthy and then surrender control of our lives to Him.
When my friend took the wheel and returned to the highway toward home, there was another decision before me: Would I trust him enough to take a nap? No one enjoys having a back-seat driver as a passenger; however, I enjoy driving and feel that I am quite good at it. But sitting in the passenger’s seat and offering unprompted (and probably unwanted) driving advice would not have been a demonstration that I trusted my friend “with all my heart” to drive us. Solomon advised his son to have complete confidence in God at all times, to believe that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loves us (His creation) immensely. Think of this as another level of trust, one that leads to a life of following Him, finding value and direction through His Word, and choosing to honor God in all you do.
My friend did a fantastic job driving us home, and I was able to take a nap. But, more than trusting a friend to drive while I nap, we serve a God who is, indeed, trustworthy and able to lead us down the path of experiencing His blessing and being a blessing to others.
Brandon Lewis has served as student pastor in churches in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. He and Lacey have three children: Karen, Gabriel, and Ryan. Brandon is currently serving as the youth ministry strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. In this role, he has the privilege of planning and hosting state-wide events for teenagers (YEC, Clear Camps, etc.), coordinating training events for youth ministers and youth ministry leaders, and serving as a youth ministry consultant for churches across the state.