Read Proverbs 3
I begin our journey into chapter 3 by going to Deuteronomy 6.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Solomon and Lady Wisdom both speak here in this chapter. They speak not of their own accord but of God’s. The commands are simple and should have sounded familiar. These proverbs were in accord with what God had spoken five centuries earlier.
· Keep my commands in your heart
· Let love and faithfulness adorn your neck so you never leave them
· Internalize love and faithfulness—write them on your heart
In so doing, you will:
· Prolong your years
· Live in peace and prosperity
· Win God’s favor and a good name in his eyes
These are more conditional promises of God’s wisdom. Keep my commands. Live long and prosper.
But now we come to the best-known proverb within this group. Trust in the Lord…
So are we still talking about wisdom or have we moved on to trust? Yes.
If you revere God so highly that the fear of anything in the world pales in comparison, you have begun a journey that leads to knowledge that leads to wisdom that embraces the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Wisdom leads you to trust in God. Trust in God leads you to wisdom. Trust is wisdom, at least when that trust is placed in the Lord.
So, why is this hard to realize? We comprehend that the God of creation wove wisdom into the fabric of the universe at the moment of creation. Wisdom is part of the divine design, so why is it so hard to get in sync with wisdom?
Consider the second part of the 5th verse—lean not on your own understanding. Why not just leave it at trust God with everything you have?
We easily define our paradigm, our efforts to navigate this world, our blueprint for living based mostly upon our own understanding. Trusting in the Lord with everything we have is in constant conflict with our own human nature and our own understanding.
And you can’t straddle this fence without getting a splinter in your butt. We must follow God’s way or we surrender to the everything else. If we chose the latter, we should not question why we are not blessed.
God longs to bless us. He waits patiently for us to walk in his way so that we may receive bountiful blessings.
Let’s try it this way. God through his Spirit that lives within you has instructed you to plant tomatoes this year. You want to plant okra.
You buy one discount tomato plant and hastily stick it in the ground in a spot that never produces anything. You buy the top-of-the-line okra seed and plant half a dozen rows in your best soil.
You pray every day that God will bless your garden with a good crop.
Weeks go by and your okra finally starts putting on some pods. They are just too small to pick. You will check them again in the morning. When morning comes the pods are a foot and a half long and the fiber in the plant has hardened so much that you can barely cut them off the stalk and surely, they are not edible.
Meanwhile, you continue to harvest tomatoes off the one plant in the sorry soil. You harvest and it keeps producing more fruit. Those are some good-tasting tomatoes.
God told you to plant tomatoes but you wanted okra. Your own understanding was that you wanted okra.
There is God’s way and there is everything else.
God says trust me and I will bless you.
The proverb says to trust in the Lord with all of your heart—with everything you have and don’t hold back anything. The coupling to this part of the proverb is to lean not on your own understanding.
The conditional part is now that you have chosen trust over your own understanding, is to acknowledge God in everything that you do and he will keep you on the path best designed for you.
God wants to bless you in your obedience! Obedience is not punishment but the path to blessing.
God wants to bless you in your trust. Trust may bring you through trials and trouble but trust is not trouble itself. It leads to the path marked with blessings.
Distrust, lack of obedience, and rebellion don’t have the same promise.
What do you call a blessing in your disobedience? What do you call a blessing in your rebellion?
A rebuke! A reprimand! A call to turn away from your path of rebellion and return to God.
There is God’s way and there is everything else.
When you trust God’s way, the best blessing that you receive is wisdom. Trusting God is wisdom and you will be blessed with even more wisdom for God loves to be very generous with his wisdom for those who seek him.
You know how we finish this morning’s message. Trust in the Lord…