In his fatherly advice about worry, Solomon turned from the horizontal dimension to consider the vertical (vv. 5–6), our relationship with God. There are four verbs in these two verses, four action words that are of special interest to all who want to live beyond the daily grind of worry.
The first three terms are commands directed to the child of God. They are our responsibility: “Trust . . . do not lean . . . acknowledge.” The fourth verb—make straight—is a simple declaration of God’s promise, declaring His part of the covenant. The structure of three commands followed by a promise strongly implies another cause-and-effect principle we can rely on. Except this particular cause prompts a supernatural effect.
Do not lean!
He will make straight. . . .
Take note also that the possessive pronoun your appears four times. This is a personal promise you can trust in at any time. Or not. God leaves that choice to us.
So, the first phrase and the last establish the main idea; the two middle statements merely amplify that idea. The main idea is “I am to trust in my Lord with all my heart—without reservation; in response, He makes my paths straight.” The middle two phrases expand on this main idea.
Trust is a dramatically descriptive term. It’s similar to an Arabic word that means, literally, “to throw oneself down upon his or her face,” a posture that conveys complete dependence and submission. Trust refers to mentally and emotionally throwing oneself facedown on the ground—casting all hopes for the present and the future upon another, finding provision and security there. In most Hebrew contexts, the word trust carries the idea of feeling safe and secure or feeling unconcerned. To see this more clearly, look at the clever play on words in Proverbs 11:28:
He who trusts in [or “casts himself upon”] his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.
We are told not to trust in riches, for riches are not secure (see Proverbs 23:4-5). If you set your heart on getting rich, if you throw yourself down upon your wealth so as to find provision and security there, you will be sadly disappointed. Riches fail and fly away. What’s more, material wealth cannot help you in eternity.
Consider also Proverbs 3:21-23:
My son, let them not vanish from your sight;
Keep sound wisdom and discretion,
So they will be life to your soul
And adornment to your neck.
Then you will walk in your way securely
And your foot will not stumble.
The word translated “securely” has the same Hebrew root word as our term trust. We are commanded by our Lord to cast ourselves completely, fully, absolutely on Him—and on Him alone!
The English word Lord translates the sacred name for God, expressed by the four consonants YHWH. To this day, Orthodox Jews consider it so sacred they will not even pronounce it. It is the title given Israel’s covenant-keeping God, the supreme King of the universe who bound Himself to His people by love and by promise. The New Testament writers—recognizing the deity of God’s precious Son—applied the title to Jesus. We are to rely fully upon Him, finding our provision and security in His sovereign care.
The term heart has little to do with the blood-pumping organ in your chest. The word is instead used throughout the Old Testament to refer to our inner self, that part of us that constitutes the seat of our intellect, emotion, and will: our conscience and our personality. So what is the Lord saying? He is saying we are to cast ourselves upon our Savior-God in complete trust, not holding back in any area of our mind or will or feeling. That, my friend, is quite an assignment!
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.