Trust in the Lord and Make Your Path Straight
I want to return to our Covenant Sunday Verse:
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV) — 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Here’s a definition we have been working with:
The sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. The feeling of being safe or secure. To be unconcerned.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Today let’s go to the last phrase: “and he will make your paths straight.”
This is the promise that comes from trusting God. Of course, the words “path” and “straight” have figurative meanings here. Path refers to our lives. Straight can mean several things – righteous, smooth, easy, successful, or even prosperous. Here’s another Proverb where these terms are used:
Proverbs 2:12–15 (NIV) — 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
So, trusting in the Lord will make your paths straight, but what exactly does that mean? Here are three aspects of that promise.
1. Trusting God Leads to a Good Life
Trusting God is a good way to live and will lead to good things. The New Century Version takes this view:
Proverbs 3:6 (NCV) — 6 Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.
Other Proverbs express a similar sentiment. Fear God and life will go well for you:
Proverbs 10:27 (NIV) — 27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
Proverbs 13:25 (NIV) — 25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.
Proverbs 3:1–2 (NIV) — 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
This is why Proverbs are given. To give us insight into how the world normally works. Proverbs are given so you can make wise decisions that will lead to a good life. Trusting God is good for you. Similar statements are made in the New Testament by Paul …
1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV) — 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
…and even Jesus…
Mark 10:29–30 (NIV) — 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) — 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
There are actual studies done that support that theory. See one of my blogs which cites that research:
The perplexing reality however is that this is not always true. This is why we need to understand the nature of Proverbs. Consider this definition of a proverb:
The definition of “proverb” is “a short, pithy saying stating a general truth or piece of advice.” Proverbs are meant to convey common wisdom or prudent counsel about how the world usually works. They are not promises or guarantees about how the world will always work in every specific situation but are reliable guidelines to live by based on how things normally happen under most circumstances.
Even though proverbs may not be true all the time there is still this implication that you have some level of control over your life. Choose wisdom and you increase the probability of a good life. The book of Psalms starts with a similar promise:
Psalm 1:1–6 (NIV) — 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
2. Trusting God Makes Decision Making Easier.
We are faced with so many decisions every day! Sorting through all the choices we have to make can be wearying. But if I make some broader decisions, that can make smaller decisions easier. For example, if you make the decision to go to church on Sunday mornings that eliminates making any other choice for that time period. When you make that decision, you don’t have to make the decision to do anything else. If someone asks you to go to the Lake the decision is already made. If your body is asking you to sleep in, the decision already made.
Roy E. Disney of Walt Disney Co., said, "When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier."
Making values-based decisions removes much of the stress and pressure of making decisions "in the moment." When you hold your options or choices up to the mirror of your values, the right choice quickly becomes obvious.
Being committed to broad values in life eliminates the need to make some decisions.When we are fixated on God’s will there are so many things that will no longer be appealing to us. We become single-minded.
Proverbs 4:25–27 (NIV) — 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Psalm 119:127–128 (NIV) — 127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, 128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.
When you trust God wholeheartedly decision making becomes so much easier.
3. Trusting God Means We Have A Destination
Path assumes a destination. Those who have no trust in God have no goal. Here's the saddest thing about not believing – there is no destination. For unbelievers life is a path to nowhere. It’s not even a path. It’s a treadmill.
Trusting God gives us the assurance that life has a destination:
Proverbs 15:24 (NIV) — 24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.
We have a destination, and we can be confident of the destination, as was Paul.
2 Timothy 4:6–8 (NIV) — 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Philippians 3:12–14 (NIV) — 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
When I put my trust in God I know I have a destination to look forward.
Trusting in God is the wise way to live:
- It will make your life better.
- It will make decision making easier.
- It promises a destination.
Put your confidence in the all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God. And trust Him with every fiber of your being. Trust Him even when what He’s telling you doesn’t make sense to you. Remember you don’t know everything, and, because of that, your judgements are not always right. So don’t even trust your understanding of things. And this trust applies to every aspect of your life. Everywhere you go. Everything you say. Every relationship you have. They are all governed by your trust in God. Submit your entire life to Him because you know that He loves you. He’s shown that over and over, hasn’t He? If you live this life of trust, you will be guided by God to a place of powerful peace and well-being. You will live the life you’ve always wanted. Now and forevermore!
Todd’s Amplified Translation