I want to invite you to come with me to the book of Proverbs this morning and to two very special verses – Proverbs 3: 5&6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
We know that God guided Abraham and Moses and the Apostle Paul. But will he guide us?
Can we come to the Lord and ask him to give us the direction we need in the decisions of life?
God’s word says we can.
The longer we live, the more we realize our great need for the guidance of God.
If you and I are left to ourselves, we make mistakes and get lost but if we let the Lord direct us. Then the path opens up.
The first step on getting the guidance of God for our lives is admitting that we need it. If we feel self sufficient, God cannot guide us. But if we recognise our own limitations and admit them to God, the He can lead us. It takes faith to get guidance. This is true even in everyday activities of life.
When we are lost in a strange city and have to ask for help in reaching our destination, we ask a stranger for information.
We have faith that the stranger we ask is going to lead us to the right place,
Making decisions about some specific problem in life we usually go to an expert – doctor, financial adviser – and we trust that expert to give us the right counsel.
This is why Proverbs 3, 5&6 begins with faith – trust in the Lord with all your heart.
God wants us to trust Him with our lives, and HE promises never to lead us astray. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake is the way David explains it in Psalm 23.
We can trust the Lord, because He is all knowing and he loves us and will never give us the wrong guidance.
Of course you must know Jesus Christ as your own Saviour and Lord if you want Him to direct you.
When you surrender to Christ then God becomes your Father and Christ becomes your Shepherd, and Holy Spirit becomes your Teacher and together they direct you into the will of God.
But, Proverbs 3:5 indicates that our Faith in the Lord must not be half-hearted but whole hearted. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
James reminds us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways and Jesus warns us that no man can serve two masters.
If there are areas of disobedience or rebellion in our hearts, God will not guide us. But if we are yielded wholly to Him, then he has promised to direct our steps. But there is a warning attached “Lean not unto your own understanding”
That doesn’t mean we stop using our brains. God communicates His truth to us in our minds through the word of God. Often the Bible talks about loving God with the mind or having the mind renewed by the Holy Spirit. When God guides us, He does not by pass the mind; He uses it.
The warning here is that we do not depend on our own natural reasoning. Isaiah, the prophet, reminds us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways.
It is foolish to think that the natural mind can compete with the mind of God.
To lean on your own understanding means to depend on your own experience, your own thinking and not to submit it to the will of God. Certainly God wants me to think and weigh things as I consider the decisions of life, but He does not want me to depend wholly on my own reasoning.
Let’s take one example from the New Testament when the soldiers arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter tried to defend Him with his sword. That was the reasonable thing to do, but it was wrong in the eyes of God. Jesus rebuked Peter and then healed the damage he had done. There are times when the reasonable thing is not necessarily the Spiritual thing. We should lean on His divine revelation not on our natural intelligence.
God puts no premium on ignorance but neither does HE depend on our I.Q.
There are two conditions we must meet if God is going to guide us
Trust and obey: trust and obey for there’s no other way
Trust in the Lord. That’s trust Prov 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths.
Noah believed God and proved it by building an ark.
Abraham believed God and proved it by leaving his native country and going to an unknown land.
Notice the repetition of the little word all in Prov 3:5&6 all your heart all your ways
If we obey God in the things he has revealed to us then we can be sure of His direction in the things he has not yet revealed to us.
We don’t understand God’s will and then obey it: we obey God’s will and then he gives us the understanding.
As you seek the direction of God for your life, you certainly want to read the Bible and pray, because God uses the word and prayer to speak to us. But it is equally important that we obey God and acknowledge Him in all we do.
God has a blue print for our lives and in His love He wants to fulfil this plan but He needs our cooperation. The formula in Prov3:5&6 is really quite simple – trust and obey.