Proverbs 3:5-61NIV New International Version Translations
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.
Proverbs are somewhat different in that the writings represent wisdom and sound advice, not commands. Solomon who is recorded in our Scriptures as the wisest man to ever live, is credited with passing on his wisdom in Proverbs. Some think that Solomon whose court had many children from his many wives and concubines wanted to leave a lasting legacy of his “good advice” for his heirs.
Chapter 3 presents both an argument to persuade us to be religious and for directions on how to accomplish this. Matthew Henry summarizes this chapter as follows:
- We must be constant to our duty to God because that is the way to be happy (v. 1-4).
- We must live a life of dependence upon God because that is the way to be safe (v. 5).
- We must keep up the fear of God because that is the way to be healthful (v. 7, v. 8).
- We must serve God with our resources because that is the way to be rich (v. 9, v. 10).
- We must bear our afflictions well because that is the way to set them aside (v. 11, v. 12).
- We must take pains to obtain wisdom because that is the way to gain wisdom, and to receive benefits from wisdom (v. 13-20).
- We must always govern ourselves by the rules of wisdom, of right reason and religion, because that is the way to be free of stress and concern (v. 21-26).
- We must do all the good we can, and not to hurt our neighbors, because mankind is both just and unjust, charitable and uncharitable, humble and haughty, yet all receive the blessings and judgment of God (v. 27-35)
These verses are to help us when we worry about the future. People trust many things. Some trust money. Some trust governments. Other people trust luck or fate. You might trust your family or your church. Sometimes all these things will fail. But God never fails. ‘God is like a fortress. We are safe with him, because He is strong. He is always with us. He protects us whenever there are troubles.’ (Psalm 46:1)
Perhaps you trust God sometimes, but not at other times. Some people become Christians, but do not trust God with their whole hearts. God is part of their lives, but only part. Maybe they want God at home, but not at work.
God wants our whole hearts. We should always desire His wisdom. He wants us to live as Christians both at work and at home. We must trust God, even when fife is difficult. God encourages us to trust him in everything.
God is wiser than we are. While we may know many things, God knows everything. We must not be proud. We must not imagine that we are ever wiser than God.
The future is unknown to us. But God knows the future so He is able to lead us. Only God can guide us. We should trust Him, and not our own ideas. So we should pray to God about our lives and ask for help and guidance.
Solomon reminds us that life is like a journey. We shall have many experiences. Some experiences will be good. Other experiences will be bad. Wherever we are, we should think about God. We should remember God’s place in our lives. If life is like a journey and only God knows the path, we must follow God since only He knows the right path. His way is the right way. And when we error, God will clear the path for us to follow.
Items for Discussion
- How does a person build trust in something?
- What is the impact of being observant on our trust in something?
- So can a person build trust in God?
- Why is human understanding always flawed?
- Why is submission part of being trustful of our God?
- How can God make our “paths straight?”
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
The Philippians felt a very deep interest in the teachings of the Apostle Paul. This letter was written to confirm their faith, to encourage them to walk in the Gospel of Christ, to caution them against forcing their teachers to follow the Jewish religion, and to express gratitude for their Christian benefits. This letter is the only one, among those written by Paul, in which he expresses no censures to them. The letter is filled with positive feedback and serves to build their confidence.
Paul urges the Philippians to stand fast in the Lord. (1) He gives specific directions to some, and to all in general. (2-9) He expresses contentment in every condition of life. (10-19) He concludes with prayer to God the Father, and his usual blessing. (20-23).
Contentment cannot be achieved by an effort of will. Humans cannot be free from every emotion. The Apostle Paul knew that to be content was a gift from God. Christ had given Paul the strength to accept both pleasant and difficult circumstances. We, therefore, can only become content within Christ.
Items for Discussion
- How does “being content” create strength?
- How does our world work against contentment?
- In what way is one’s happiness tied to one’s ability to be content?
- What is the impact of contentment on mankind’s sinful nature?
- Does “being content” mean accepting mediocrity? Why or Why Not?
- What is the greatest strength Christ gives us?
- How does the Christian Church evolve, work to become stronger and better, yet remain content to be led by Christ?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations