Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And do not lean on your own understanding. [NASB]
I was trying to think of a good passage to start off the New Year–something to set our minds on the right path as we face the next twelve months, and all they hold in store for us. This is the passage that came to mind. A familiar one, I’m sure, if you’ve been a Christian for any length of time. Often, however, familiarity causes us to overlook such passages without really giving thought to what they’re saying. So, let’s take a few minutes to consider this verse.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
The Hebrew imperative here, betach, is exhorting the reader to put his or her full confidence in the Lord. Those of us in the US have been on tenterhooks these past few weeks, wondering if Congress will be able to pull us away from the so-called “fiscal cliff”–tax laws and provisions that if left to expire, would leave many people with significantly less money in their paychecks, and possibly throw the country into recession. At the eleventh hour (and the fifty-ninth minute), they struck an imperfect deal that prevented disaster. But not everyone was confident this would happen. And rightfully so. Congress is made up of men, some with altruistic motives, others not. Some seeking the best for those they represent, others more concerned with political posturing. We might like to think we can trust Congress to do the right thing, but these are fallible men with limited power. The fact that many people–political junkies and casual observers alike–were concerned for the future shows that, at heart, our trust in our political leaders is as finite as they are.
But we can put our full confidence in God. Whether we’re talking about a “fiscal cliff,” or a precarious global economy, or even the future of our children, if we understand that God is sovereign, good, and working all things for the good of His people (Romans 8:28), then we know we can put all of our concerns at his feet (1 Peter 5:7). The Lord is the only one worthy of our total confidence, because only He has the power to live up to our trust.
“And do not lean on your own understanding.”
What when things don’t make sense? The recent elementary school shooting in Connecticut, for example, seems to indicate a world out of control. If God is sovereign and good, why do things like this happen? Why does it seem like the church is in decline? Why are Christians persecuted if God loves them? So many things don’t make sense to us. But if we obey the first part of this verse, putting our full confidence in the one who is working all things (including all of these seemingly irrational, random events) for the good of His people, then we will realize we need to take a step back. He is God; we are not. His perspective is much, much bigger than we can ever conceive. Our understanding is limited; His is infinite. If we truly trust God, then our understanding, or perception, must be based on God’s perspective (as much as He reveals that to us in Scripture), not our own. If we lean on our own understanding, we will never find peace. We will also find it much harder to trust the Lord.
As we begin 2013, let’s heed the admonition of the Proverb. May we trust the Lord, unconditionally, and without reserve, knowing that He is in control. Let us rely upon His goodness when it seems evil is prevailing. And let us not be confused by our frail understanding of all that’s going on around us. He is still on His throne.
Have a great week, and a blessed 2013!