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Well, “Wonderful Wednesday” is here an you are almost halfway through the week. I thought for today, we would look at a Scripture I memorized as a child. It is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (ESV). What a fantastic Scripture passage for children, teens and even adults to memorize. 

The word “understanding” is so important in this text that many Rabbis begin with this Hebrew word instead. They have the verse to read this way: “Your understanding, do not lean upon.” This Hebrew word translated as “understanding” is [בִּינָה, binat}. Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll sheds some light on this word:

“This word refers to our ability to observe something, gain insight, and discern as a means of formulating a decision. Of course, due diligence is our responsibility. Investigate, seek perspectives, apply logic, and formulate ideas. God doesn’t ask us to forego planning or to throw ourselves blindly into decisions. He calls us to give greater priority to trusting Him. Let confidence in God’s character, power, plans, and past faithfulness be the foundation of all your decision-making as you exercise sound judgment. (Please read that again.) — Source: Charles R. Swindoll, Living The Proverbs: Insight For The Daily Grind, p. 43).

Here’s a helpful illustration: A young man is convinced God has called him to full-time, vocational ministry. In responding to this call, he recognizes his need for training at a good seminary. He visits the school, considers living arrangements, estimates tuition and cost of living, and even locates a suitable job that will not interfere with his studies. But—on paper—his budget doesn’t work. Expenses outweigh income and savings. Even so, he knows God has called him to prepare, so he packs up, moves, and enrolls. Why? Because he places such confidence in God’s provision that he won’t wait until he has solved all the details before obeying the Father’s will.” 

To “not lean on your own understanding” means that you will not give first priority to your own limited perspective. Lean is, of course, figurative, meaning “to depend upon something.” One might lean upon a staff, a wall, or another person in order to remain standing. The message is “Feel completely confident in God and do not depend upon your own intelligence, insight, or skill to keep you from falling.” 

I know a gentleman who suffered a terrible injury while skiing, and he was confined to crutches for many long weeks. Several times I found him panting at the top of a flight of stairs. His hands had become red and sore from his constant use of the crutches. He discovered that leaning on crutches is exhausting. So is leaning on our own understanding! If you want to spend an exhausting day, try to work out your problems using only your limited viewpoint. Chase down all the possibilities you can think of. When you inevitably hit a dead end, back up and try a new man-made direction. Eventually, you will run out of ideas as well as energy. Then, if you don’t trust in God, you will have only one option left: worry” not depend upon your own intelligence, insight, or skill to keep you from falling”— (Source: Charles R. Swindoll, Living The Proverbs: Insight For the Daily Grind, p. 43).

Questions To Consider

  1. What is a decision you will face in the future? What “understanding” will you need to make a decision about that you believe will be a well-informed decision so that you can act without doubt on it? In other words, what skills, experiences, knowledge, talents, aid, and etc. do you need to make this decision?
  2. I was a chemistry major at NC State. There is class all chem majors must take — quantitative analysis. You are given a vial of solution. You are told you have 3-4 different chemicals in it and you are told which chemicals they are. Your task to decipher the percentage of each one. Using this same idea, what percentage do you think you posses of skills, experiences, knowledge, talents and etc. to make informed decisions. Why did you give the percentages you did?
  3. Where you may be lacking, how will you compensate for what you lack?
  4. What percentage is you and what percentage is the Lord? Why?

Scripture To Meditate On: Proverbs 28:26, “A person who trusts in his own ideas is a fool, but a person who walks in the wisdom of the Lord will be kept safe” (PAR).

Prayer To Pray: “Dear Jesus, I live and act as if I always know what is best for my ow life. I need to put my trust more in You and Your Wisdom. I need to ask you for wisdom. Please forgive me for being so self-reliant and so self-sufficient. For major decisions, I need to trust In Your Wisdom with all my heart, not my own wisdom. I commit today to start doing that. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen!”

I love you Southside! — Pastor Kelly

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