Proverbs 3:5-6 -Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. NKJV
Have you ever just stopped to think of how amazing we are? Mankind has done some impressive things in this world. I’m old enough to remember the old black rotary telephone, which was pretty wonderful in its day, but now I use a cell phone that I can carry everywhere I go. And what about the television? Yes, I remember when it was black and white, with three channels, and it went off the air at midnight with the Star Spangled Banner playing! Now, we watch television on our phones, computers, iPads, and other electronic devices. We’ve come a long way baby!
Just yesterday I saw SpaceX being launched to the International Space Station. We’ve surpassed a man walking on the moon to people being launched for a six month stay in space! That’s incredible! And of course, the World Wide Web is something pretty special. This blog is able to be read by people in more countries than I can imagine being able to travel to. Times are changing rapidly around us and man is inventing some great toys for our pleasure and tools to help us. Yet, with all of this head knowledge, the Bible clearly states that we are not to lean on our own understanding.
The word “lean” in the Hebrew is taken from the word “shâʻan”, a primitive root that means to support one’s self:—lean, rely (on, self). Solomon cautions us in our verse for today that we are not to support ourselves with our own understanding, or we are not to rely on our own understanding.
Solomon understood better than most what leaning on our own understanding will get us. After having a wonderful encounter with the God of the universe, who gifted him with wisdom, you would think that he would have followed his own advice to not lean on his understanding. But that wasn’t the case.
Solomon had many wives and concubines. These wives led Solomon’s heart astray from God. He married them for political ties and for building allies; but they ended up being a snare for him, as he built temples for their gods. A man of great wisdom, who didn’t follow his own advice, but leaned on his own understanding in the end.
There’s nothing wrong with understanding. As a matter of fact the Bible tells us
…in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 NKJV
It’s just that when we lean on our understanding, instead of God’s understanding, things can quickly go south! As human beings, we can only see so far. We think we know an individual, or what’s going on in a situation, or even how to do a thing, but that is not always the case. Our knowledge is limited and our understanding can be flawed.
Have you ever walked in a room and it got quiet, or people started whispering? In your mind, you may think that every one is talking about you, they know your secret, they don’t like you. You know what you see, but you don’t understand what is going on. If you lean on your own understanding, you could potentially embarrass yourself and leave with a wrong impression of the situation.
Have you ever met someone who you thought was perfect for you? As time went on you found out they were using you for one thing or another. The person was already married with five kids. You had your mind on marriage, they had their mind on their next conquest. They wooed you until you let them move in and they stole all of your possessions. These are the kinds of situations our own understanding will land us in.
We may be pretty smart, as people go, but we don’t have the inside track that God has. Relying on our own understanding in life is what causes so many of us to end up with issues and extra baggage. Living this life as if we are smart enough to figure things out on our own can result in harsh situations. If we are not careful, some of these things will seem impossible to recover from.
This is why Solomon encouraged us to trust in the Lord and to lean not on our own understanding. There is no way, when we are trusting in the Lord, relying on Him, that we can also be relying on ourselves. They are polar opposites of one another. When you are trusting Him, you can walk in a room full of people, hear all conversation stop, see whispering, and know that if it’s something you have a need to know, God will let you in on it. You can meet people, be interested in a relationship, but when you are trusting God, He can show you a knuckle head before the first date. You don’t have to try and figure everything out all by yourself! You don’t have to operate on limited knowledge and your own understanding. You can access the unlimited understanding of the Father. And when things happen that you don’t understand, while trusting Him, you understand that He is thinking of your good and will get you through it.
Don’t sit around trying to figure it all out! Don’t have a continuous conversation in your head about how to work it out, or solve the problem. Don’t call up everyone you know to gain understanding they don’t have. And don’t even think that you have all the answers and know what to do in every situation, because you don’t! Mankind may be pretty smart and capable of inventing some fascinating things, but there is only One who can create, inspire your creations, and give you the understanding that you need in every area of you life! His name is Jesus! Wonderful Jesus!