Proverbs 3:5-6

Now we come to these very well known and famous passages. Before we delve into them, we must first stop to consider what we had to go through to get to these texts. It is not enough to simply jump to a verse without considering the context in which it is found.

To accomplish Proverbs 3:5-6, there first must be the understanding of law and commands. If there is no obedience to the commands which are based on the law, then there cannot be the next step. But the law and commands can be very hard and harsh. We see this played out throughout Scripture. The law would have a family kill their own son for being rebellious (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). This was to protect the nation of Israel from being rebellious for God said that rebellion was equal to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).

But in the midst of the law, there is also truth and mercy. Truth was that the child should be punished for his crimes. Mercy is God taking the punishment for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). There is truth and mercy in play. Mercy prepares a way for the law to be absolutely fulfilled, and absolutely be completed (hint: I would really reflect on what Jesus’ full statement could mean in John 19:30). Then, in the greatest act of mercy, the righteousness of God is available to all who ask and repent from their sins. Out side of this, the law and commands are still in effect and, dear reader, if you have not trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, you are still under the law which makes its demands known to you (Read the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). And the command is to BE ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN ITS ENTIRETY!!! If you fail, dear reader, you alone are responsible and will bear your own sin and judgment. But this mercy is extended to you to be saved.

Only, and this means, ONLY when we go through the law and commands, we realize the truth of the law and its demands, and we run to where mercy is found, can we now come to Proverbs 3:5-6. Trying to go here, bypassing Proverbs 3:1-4, will result in abject failure to do what verses five and six call for because a sinner is incapable of doing this. So what does Proverbs 3:5-6 tell us? Now we get to our text.

There is a beautiful movement, a flow, a dance as it were, through this text. Keeping everything we have said in this blog to this point, now we notice that first is the trust in the Lord. Yes, this is the coming to faith. This is the whole surrendering and humility that is demanded from all who come to salvation. This Sunday, we are going to be learning about humility, so I would encourage you to tune in to listen. It will not cover the entirety of humility itself but will give a good basis for how we can understand it.

But humility and submission to God is a must. It all starts with the realization that we cannot fulfill the law and commands. We are guilty of breaking the law of God, the moral code HE established, and the very nature and characteristics of who He is. In that violation, we also failed to obey His commands to be perfect and upright in deed, word and motives. That means all who are outside of Christ are guilty, and this guilt brings only one thing, death (Romans 7:10-11). Death is the payment for our sins (Romans 6:23) that was passed down to us from Adam in the garden (Romans 5:12). Therefore, those who die without repentance and forgiveness of sin, die in their sin and are eternally punished by God for their violation of the law and commands He gives. Those who are not physically dead yet, they are still dead. As was taught here at Calvary, those who are outside of Jesus and are physically alive, they are dead men walking. God is just showing His mercy by not destroying them right away (Romans 2:4).

But how does this faith take root? Proverbs 3:5. The command is to trust in the Lord, not with the head. Not with empty words that are just mumbled. But instead it is a full trust in God with the whole heart. God only deals with wholes. There is never a one who is accepted half way. We either are 100% in, or we are 100% out. We are either 100% on God’s side, or we are 100% His sworn enemy. No middle ground is given or received. Therefore, the heart plays the key roll in this statement. The Bible points this out throughout Scripture. Here is a small sampling of the roll the heart plays in all of mankind:

1. The heart is evil – Genesis 8:21; Psalm 10:13; Proverbs 6:14; 17:20; 22:15; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 6:21

2. The heart can be made to be hard – Exodus 7:14

3. The heart is to seek God completely – Deuteronomy 4:29; 11:13: Psalm 27:8; Matthew 22:37

4. Truly loving God requires the whole heart – Deuteronomy 6:5; 13:3; Joshua 22:5; Psalm 9:1; Matthew 15:8

5. The heart must be cleansed – Deuteronomy 10:16: Psalm 24:4

6. The heart will either be right or it will be wrong based on God’s standard – Deuteronomy 29:19; Psalm 14:1; 19:8; Proverbs 11:20; Matthew 12:34-35

7. The heart must be guarded: Proverbs 4:23

This is a small sampling but much more could be said for sure. However, our verse that deals with trusting in the Lord with the whole heart also ends with do not lean on our own understanding.

It is foolish to follow our own understanding. There are many who say, “Just follow your heart!” or, “Does it feel right?” I would caution all to read Proverbs 28:26. Our understanding is escwed because of our sin. Our mind is limited and restricted because sin always deteriorates everything that is with it. Is this hard to believe? Before sin, no one wore glasses. After sin, I know I have to have contacts or glasses. Before sin, there was no pain. After sin, as I am getting older, my back likes to creak and crack a little more than when I was a child. Sin will deteriorate our mind as well, but deeper than that, it will deteriorate our understanding.

Before sin, we had no affect of sin and therefore our understanding was not clouded by our sin nature and the lusts of the flesh, eyes, and pride of life. It is always wise to get wisdom from counsel outside of ourselves. We can get understanding from others (Proverbs 1:5; 11:14; 12:15; 13:10; 15:22; 24:6), but it is far more important to get help from the One who is all wise, Jesus Christ. We are, in church, going through James. I would encourage you to read James 1:5. However, other verses are very instructive as well (Psalm 1:1-2; 32:8; 33:11; 119:105; Proverbs 19:20-21; John 14:26). God’s ways are not our own, nor are His thoughts ours Isaiah 55:8-9. Therefore, instead of trusting our own lost, and clouded wisdom, why would we not want to take the advice of wise counselors. This of course would lead us into a discussion of who should be counted as wise or not, but that is for another study. Instead, I would refer us to Proverbs 13:20 and encourage a prayerful study of this verse in accordance with our lives.

Whose understanding do we follow? Our own? If we believe that we have this under control, or that we are going the right direction by our own wisdom, I would say we should be very, very careful, and very quick to run from that path. It can only lead to misery and sorrow. But true understanding can and will come to us if we ask God for it. As was seen above, it is also found in His Holy Word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12)

This wisdom from God will bring together everything we have discussed in Proverbs 3:1-4, but it wraps itself in the Bible. This wisdom is what we should and must have to walk this road.

Then we jump to Proverbs 3:6, we now see the next steps. Once we trust in God, and we are not leaning on our own understanding. But because we are trusting in God and leaning on His wisdom, we are now acknowledging Him in ALL that we do. There are many who only acknowledge God when they have to, or when they are in trouble. The rest of the time they act as though they are the masters of their own fate. This is absolutely false. How do we do this?

We acknowledge that it is only because of God we exist. As has been said on this blog as well as church, we are created by God (Genesis 1:1). Nothing else explains this truth and what we see in the world around us. Evolution has their theory, but they are constantly revamping their views to find some explanation for the vehicle behind evolution. They have nothing. Yet we, who are Christians, have Colossians 1:17 and know that if God even stops thinking about us, we will just evaporate into nothing.

We acknowledge that it is only because of God we are able to do anything. This truth is carried out in Philippians 4:13. It is His might that we can live and do. It is only through Him that we have the ability to accomplish all He has for us to do.

Lastly, we acknowledge that it is only because of God we are able to have what we do. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the homes we have, the drink we have, all of it comes only from God. Through His ability He has given us, we are able to work and make the money to buy these things. If He didn’t allow us to have that ability, we would never be successful in anything. This is why we pray Matthew 6:11.

This acknowledgment leads us to realize that God is the one who will direct our paths, not ourselves. For in the end, when we get to this point, we are completely empty of ourselves, completely devoid of our own thoughts, opinions, and desires. Our own and only wish and hunger is for Jesus Christ, His Word, and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33). There is an internal and an eternal shift from the temporal world we are living in to having an Spiritual world that our Spirit will be forever dwelling in. Our focus changes, and our whole life will be brought into subjection and conformity to the desires and will of our Lord and Savior.

Now, we can approach Proverbs 3:5-6 and look at it with clear vision because of what we have covered before. The question we must ask is, are we trusting in the Lord, leaning on His understanding, acknowledging Him and recognizing He alone will direct our paths? If not, why? If we are not saved, then go back to Proverbs 3:1. If we are saved, spend time in prayer asking God to change you from the inside out. Then move forward in this new life, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.