Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
This is a very familiar verse but today I want to break it down and really look at what it says. It says we are to trust in the Lord. We can trust in the Lord because He his trustworthy. He is 100% trustworthy 100% of the time. The word “trust” in Hebrew means “to attach oneself, trust, confide in, feel safe, be confident, secure. The basic idea signifies firmness or solidity. Denotes a confident expectation.” 1
We can put our trust in the Lord because we can confidently expect that not only does He hear us, but He will act on our behalf. He doesn’t always act or respond when we want or how we want, but He does respond. His response is always in line with His plans for our lives.
We can’t lean on our own understanding because it is inherently flawed. We make decisions and plans based on our hearts and minds.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
The proverb tells us to first trust the Lord, not to lean on our own understanding and the next statement is “in all your ways acknowledge him”. The word “acknowledge” in Hebrew is the same word as “know”.1 The verse isn’t talking about blind trust, but placing your trust in someone you know; the Lord. The more you know Him, the closer your relationship with Him is, the more you will be able to trust Him. Knowing the Lord is similar to knowing others in your life, you have to spend time with Him in order to get to know Him; time in prayer and in His Word.
The last part of the verse says “he will make your paths straight”. The word “path” in Hebrew is “often used figuratively, describing the way of righteousness”.1 . “Make straight” in the Hebrew “has two main meanings: (a) making something straight or level; (b) ethically, an upright (moral) life. 1
When we place our trust in the Lord, we are not basing decisions and actions on our own limited understanding of a situation, but on His. We trust Him because we know Him intimately and are confident that He will respond and act in our lives. When we place our trust in the Lord He will help us live righteous, upright and moral lives.
Isn’t that what we all want? And now we know that living the life God created us to live begins with placing our trust in Him. What areas of your life do you need to place your trust in the Lord?
- 1 (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible NIV, 1996, AMG publishers)