Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
GOD’S PROMISE OF HELP IS GIVEN TO THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO TRUST HIM. We all need God’s guidance with equal urgency, but not all of us are willing to respect God’s judgment. At those times when His instructions point to a different path than we would follow if we went by our own judgment, it is often hard to yield to Him. But those who seek God must make the choice to yield, and they do so in the confidence that God’s wisdom will stand the test of time. It has never failed that test in the past.
If we’ve made any serious attempt to obey God, then we’ve surely discovered that His instructions can sometimes seem counterintuitive, at least from our earthbound viewpoint. What are we to do in such situations? The consistent answer of the Scriptures, of course, is that we must demonstrate faith. But faith is often misconceived. It is not a blind leap in the dark, and it does not require the setting aside of all reason. When we make the choice to trust that God knows what is best, we are putting our confidence in a God who has over and over again proven His trustworthiness. Our “leap” is anything but “blind,” our eyes being wide open to what God has openly revealed of His character and His purpose. Nothing in the world would have seemed more counterintuitive than for the Son of God to be sent to the Cross (Matthew 16:21-23). But that sacrifice having been made and its surprising results now being obvious, there should never again be any doubt about either the wisdom or the benevolence of God’s will.
When Solomon said, “Lean not on your own understanding,” he did not mean we should deny our own reasoning powers or our ability to comprehend truth. It was God who gave us our rational minds, and He intends us to use them constructively in our relationship to Him. But compared to His knowledge, our information is lacking and our perspective is limited. For that reason, when there is a conflict between God’s wisdom and our own (and therefore a clash between God’s will and our own), we are wise to “acknowledge” Him in all our ways.
“Any man who understands his own foolishness is already a little wise” (Jewish Proverb).