By: Edward Kyle Richey
This is the reading of the LORD,
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 straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3: 5-8).
Worldly wiseman, from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, informs the Christian that he need no longer burden himself with that “book” (the Bible) for he has a much more appropriate way to remove that pesky burden off of Christian’s back, “Why, in yonder village (the village is named Morality), there dwells a gentleman whose name is Legality, a very wise man, and a man of very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine is from their shoulders;.” Indeed, there is mighty good to be found in the village of morality from whom Mr. Legality lives. Should any man or woman who praises virtue as a pillar to be built upon the foundations of eternality ought to admit, yes, there is goodness in work. Who are we without work? A dead faith according to St. James (James 2:17).
Neither the righteous seeking Christian or the virtuous practicing Pagan would argue against the value of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the homeless, or assisting the poor. Though today there are those who find that even the value of life, that of the person, is a deficit when compared to animals, plants, and other life outside of the human-being. Those blind and broken souls deny the Imago Dei. Absent from all three of these views, however different, are the wisdom of trust established in Proverbs. Doing good is never enough. Faith in the one true God can only save, heal, and progress the good man or the good woman.
We are called to not lean on our own understanding. That phrase to lean is sha`an in the Hebrew שָׁעַן which carried over into the English as a forewarning to not rest fully, to not support, to not rely on ourselves, but rather put all of our understanding, to invest all of our trust, in God.
It cannot mean we are never to rely on our understanding in the sense that I must doubt all that I think and do; that is an absolutist attitude of skepticism which the Scriptures are not advocating. If they were, we could not even rely on our own understanding of what the Bible is telling us. That would be foolish, rather the Proverbs are instructing us, as that is the literal meaning of Proverbs i.e. instruction. Solomon through the Wisdom of God is instructing believers to put their full and final faith in God, and for Christians’ in Christ the King, and never themselves.
Our world dictates to trust the Self, to value billionaires such as Warren Buffet or famous actors or a political leader. Trust thyself is the motto. Yes, there is plenty we can learn from such rich and powerful men like Buffett. Let there never be any doubt that Buffett knows how to invest money. But money and power will only last as long as the body is alive. Then shall all fade away from thy hands. No more, we are naked again, yet alive regardless of whether one believes in the Almighty or not. At that moment, their wisdom will be put to the test. God shall judge. And judge us all He shall.
Turning to the Lord requires a holy acknowledgement that only can be ignited by God in the midst of our pitch black, darkness of the night soul searching. Fumbling and bumbling we shall walk, but walk we must toward the light. Running from evil and calling out to the Lord are means to an eternal end, a life that is His alone. Once one is captured by the grace of Christ they are tied to the bosom of the Church by which Christ is King. Headship over heaven and earth; dominion over all that is and was and shall ever be. That is the wisdom that covers the believer. Do not fear the world, fear the Lord.
Like Noah, take cover in the Ark; let God seal the doors from the crashing waves in the rising floods. End will always be near whether it comes from war, famine, accident, or natural causes. Until the moment your eyes are shut once again, it is better to build a life that seeks the goodness of God than empires of gold, iron, and feast for they shall rot or rust. The world may be decadent today. But tomorrow is never guaranteed let alone a better tomorrow can always turn to worse. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are eternal and always good.
Seek Him, Seek Christ Alone.