Proverbs about Trusting God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.” (3:5-6)

“Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.” (3:25-26)

“He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.” (11:28)

“He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.” (16:20)

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.” (21:31)

“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I have taught you today, even you.” (22:17-19)

An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered. (28:25-26)

“The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” (29:25)

“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (30:5)

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Context!

It is not uncommon to hear someone in the church emphasizing the importance of considering individual Bible verses in their larger context. A prime example of this might be Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”

Without any context, someone might conclude that we should never judge anyone over anything. However, if you take the time to read and consider the next several verses, you will find that Jesus was actually warning us against hypocritical judgments in which we apply a harsher standard to others than we do to ourselves. Thus, in verse 5 He clarifies: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Another principle that can be important for understanding the true meaning of a verse or passage is to consider what other passages have to say about the subject in question. Once again, we can apply this principle to the question of passing judgment.

We have suggested that Matthew 7 encourages us to pass judgment, but only when we have first examined ourselves by the same standard. John 7:24 gives us another caution about our use of judgment: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

We might conclude based on these two passages that judgment is always appropriate, as long as we examine ourselves first, and take the time to consider the issue carefully rather than jumping to conclusions. But there are even more passages that might expand our thinking on judgment further.

“I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:4-5)

Wait a minute… I thought we were supposed to judge with righteous judgment, so why does Paul say we must not go on passing judgment before the time? It appears (from context) that Paul is speaking of matters in which the motives of men’s hearts are not outwardly apparent. We can judge outward actions, but at least in some instances, only God can see into their heart to judge their actual motives.

Also consider 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.”

This would seem to suggest that we can only judge people who are members of the church. In that case, is it wrong to criticize the behavior of someone who is not a Christian, or to tell them that they are lost and need Jesus? After all, Paul spent the first chapter of the book of Romans calling out the Gentiles for their wickedness, even going so far as to list specific sins, such as the practice of homosexuality, and saying that they are “without excuse” and have incurred God’s wrath.

Examining the context of Romans 1 shows us that the judgment spoken of here is a kind of judgment that applies to all people: the assertion that their sins separate them from God. On the other hand, the judgment of 1 Corinthians 5, which is only appropriate towards those in the church, is a judgment that results in a period of disciplinary dis-fellowshipping that will enable the person to realize their hypocrisy as someone who claims to follow Christ but rebels against his commands.

It turns out that judgment is a more complicated topic than simply “It is always right to judge someone,” or “you should never judge someone.” The word “judgment” itself can have different meanings in different contexts, and can have a different application depending on who is doing the judging, who is being judged, and what the content of the judgment is.

Judgment is only one example. The moral of the story is that we must examine context carefully and consider multiple passages in order to avoid overcomplicating what God has made simple, or oversimplifying what God presents as nuanced.

Love Poems to God

King David of Israel is seen as a hero of faith by many Jews and Christians. What he achieved in his lifetime is impressive, and Acts 13:22 records that God Himself called David “a man after My own heart.” But David probably seemed a little odd to some of the people around him.

On one hand, David was as tough as you could imagine. He commanded large groups of fighting men with effective leadership. His valiant successes in battle led the young ladies to brag that “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

On the other hand, David’s psalms reveal that he could be very emotional, very submissive, very meek, and humble. He made no secret that he wept bitterly many nights. He made no secret that his refuge was in God and not in his own strength. And he certainly made no secret that he loved God’s word with all of his heart.

It is a rare occurrence to find such an individual: extremely successful by worldly standards, yet totally submitted to God.

There is also the fact that David was “ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance” according to 1 Samuel 16. He had a good reputation. He was a talented poet and musician. He prospered in whatever he did. There was surely no shortage of eligible bachelorettes for David to give his heart and soul to.

And yet, it was to God and His word that David wrote his love poems. It was God, more than anything or anyone else that he panted for as a dear pants for water. It was God who he stayed awake thinking about and talking to in the watches of the night.

David truly loved God. Not as a last resort when wealth, fame, success, sex, and romance had failed him. Rather, even in the midst of those things God remained his focus and his aim.

This kind of behavior makes the world ask “why?!” Why does someone who has such attractive alternatives still give their heart to God? The obvious answer is because God is in fact more attractive than any possible alternative. “Your loving-kindness is better than life.” David says in Psalm 63.

And when we live like David, whether that means being satisfied with God in the absence of all else, or being focused on Him in the midst of all else, we demonstrate to the world in an “incredible” but noticeably genuine fashion that God really is sweeter than all else.

The Word of Power

In Luke 8, Jesus gives an extended parable in which He compares the Word of God to seeds that are scattered on various soils.

In this parable, some of the seed result in the growth of healthy plants and in other cases the seed is unsuccessful.  Interestingly, there is nothing wrong with any of the seed that results in these unsuccessful instances.  Rather, the condition of a particular soil, and its ability to receive the seed, is the determining factor in its ultimate success.

One underlying principle that we can draw from this parable is the concept that the seed itself is perfect, and capable of producing life for any who can receive it.  Thus, the power to bring about belief is invested in God’s word itself.

Romans 10:17 reiterates this when it states that faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Here the word itself is portrayed as resulting in faith.  Indeed, in the first chapter and sixteenth verse of Romans, Paul states that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”  Once again, the word is invested with the power.

Perhaps this is why he could say in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”  Paul knew that the power to save was not in his own wisdom, but in the Word of God.

Indeed, at the the beginning of the second chapter of the same book these words of his are recorded: “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”  Paul understood that his job was not to impress with worldly knowledge or intellectualism, but to preach the word of power.

Hebrews 3:15 admonishes readers, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

That voice, which we can encounter any time we open the Bible, is a powerful voice.  Will you be receptive?
Lighting, the power of God