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Most people are familiar with at least some of the Bible passages that teach us to trust in God. We understand this to be such an important principle that, as a nation, we have inscribed it on our money: "In God We Trust." If there is anything that is universally agreed upon as important, it is faith -- or confidence in God.
But there is another side to faith. Truly trusting God means letting go of other sources of security. And here is where many people back away from the biblical presentation of faith. It is one thing to say that we have put our confidence in God, but it is another to let go of all the other props and supports that we have come to depend on. It's fine, we think, to have faith in the invisible God, but we'd like to hedge our bets with a little visible insurance.
When the nation of Israel faced various military threats -- enemies such as the Babylonians, who came to fight against them with fearful force -- God instructed His people not only to rely on His deliverance but also not to try to support themselves with military alliances with other nations. Through Isaiah, for example, God said, "Ah, stubborn children . . . who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!" (Isa. 30:1,2).
The people of Israel would have said, if anybody asked them, that they trusted God's wisdom and His protection, but they also took it as a matter of common sense that whatever means of worldly support were available, it would be foolish not to take advantage of these.
Just as Israel was tempted to rely on other help other than what God provided, so we may fail to place our total confidence in Him. We may "supplement" our faith in God with a variety of earthly confidences: worldly wealth, wisdom, and power. But all these are doomed to failure. This week, let us renew our faith in the complete sufficiency of God's help -- and resist the temptation to give a part of our heart to the world.
Monday: 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Key Idea: We ought to trust in God rather than in temporal riches.
Questions for Family Growth: What are those "rich in this present age" commanded to do? In what ways might we show, despite our words to the contrary, that we trust in riches? What does Prov. 11:28 say about trusting in riches?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:11.
Tuesday: Philippians 3:3-11
Key Idea: We ought to trust in God rather than in fleshly accomplishments.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Paul mean when he said had "no confidence in the flesh"? What were the "fleshly" things he might have put his trust in? Why is it foolish to derive our security from such things?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:12.
Wednesday: Proverbs 3:5,6
Key Idea: We ought to trust in God rather than in our own wisdom and understanding.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to trust in the Lord with "all [our] heart"? What are we told not to "lean" on? What should we do when God's word conflicts with what seems best to us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:13.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
Key Idea: We ought to trust in God rather than in ourselves.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Paul say about the ordeal he had endured in Asia? What did this experience teach him? What did Moses say about God to Israel in Deut. 8:3? What should Israel have learned by the manner in which God provided their food?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:14.
Friday: Jeremiah 17:5-8
Key Idea: Real security comes from trusting in God.
Questions for Family Growth: What picture is given of the person who "makes flesh his strength"? What picture is given of the one who "trusts in the Lord"? In practical terms, how do we show that we trust God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 17:15.