Don’t Lean on Your Own Understanding

by Jeff Jones

Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.”


First, consider the word Trust. To me…trust has always been a little bit of a scary

word. I mean if you’re asking me to trust you…then there is probably a pretty good

reason why I might not want to…

And if it’s a person who is asking you to trust them…then you what you know of

that person…will go a long way in your decision to trust that person.

So, the fact that Solomon is asking us to Trust in the Lord makes me

wonder…what is it about the Lord that would tempt me to not trust him?

But as we read on…it turns out…it’s not the Lord that shouldn’t be trusted… it’s me.

There seems to be something about our understanding that is not only

different, but in opposition to how God understands.

So, the first pearl of wisdom we can gleam from this proverb is…

Wise people know who to trust.

So perhaps the first thing we can learn from the proverb is…

It might be helpful to understand the word for Trust in the Hebrew language has two definitions…
The first one is “to rely on or put confidence in” kind of like the way I’m putting my trust in the table to hold my Bible and notes…

The second definition on the other hand, which at first glance might seem odd… means “to trip so as to fall down”

But when you think about it…this second definition really helps illustrate the tension between what Solomon is saying… He is essentially saying you cannot stay upright by leaning on yourself…and at the same time “fall down” on the Lord.

You’re going to have to pick one…

Since you’re in church…you probably know which one I’m going to advocate we choose…but just for a moment let’s think about why we might be tempted to lean on our understanding…

Maybe we’ve learned something…like we just read a book and we heard something that made us take note…
Maybe we’ve had a certain experience, it could be good or bad, but regardless we learned something important from it…

Maybe you’ve put in a lot of extra work and now you’re certain your big break is about to come.
Maybe it’s not about something we know…maybe it’s about someone we know.

Maybe we throw our weight behind someone, or we invest financially or relationally with someone because we think it will lead us to where we want to go…
All can be good reasons to lean on our own understanding.

The problem with that is when you lean on your own understanding… you’re always going to come up short because you when you orient your life around what you’ve seen…you miss out on what is still as of yet unseen…


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