“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.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
It isn’t long in the life of a Christian before they hear and commit to memory these verses. They are well worth the effort because the application of them in every aspect and every moment of life is beneficial. This directive is in the Bible because we are inclined to do the exact opposite. The fallen corrupt nature that we inherited compels us to trust in our own abilities.
Solomon gives us four applications relating to faith and trust in the Lord.
The first application is as stated above: will I trust my wisdom or the Lord’s? What we do with all four applications is based on who we think we are and who we think the Lord is. Solomon tells us that the Lord is the One who created and sustains all that exists (vv 19, 20). He is the Potter and we are the clay so who has the greater wisdom?
As stewards of the life the Lord has given us we should take care of our bodies and not abuse them. God has graciously allowed people to understand the human body so as to bring healing to many problems but people are fallible and knowledge incomplete. Ultimately we will do well to trust the Lord for our health and healing (vv 7, 8).
The next application of our trust in the Lord is with regard to material possessions and money (vv 9, 10). When we are doing well we think that the Lord is blessing us for our faithfulness and when material wealth is withdrawn we think we must have gone astray or been disobedient. This notion does not conform to biblical revelation. Even Jesus had no more than His clothing and there are many examples of other godly men being like this in the Bible. Whether we trust the Lord or material wealth is revealed not when we have plenty but when material wealth is withdrawn. If we can’t trust the Lord in lean times then we certainly do not trust Him in the plentiful times.
The last of the applications of trusting the Lord that Solomon gives us here is that of chastening and correction (vv 11, 12). A father who loves his children will chasten and correct his children. Such activity is an act of love when done correctly. Only a humble and teachable person will accept chastening and correction, one who knows he is bent on wrong ways. Out of love the Lord chastens and corrects our wayward ways as a shepherd does his sheep.
The much loved Psalm 23 is written by Solomon’s father, King David, in a similar vein when he wrote, “Your rod and your staff they comfort me” (v4). The rod of correction and chastisement and the staff to shepherd and direct bring comfort to the one who knows his own sinful disposition.