Trust in the Lord
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We as believers are always to trust absolutely in our wonderful heavenly Father. Any “Bible-believing” Christian (and should there be any other kind?) would acknowledge this in a heartbeat. In practice, however, who or what we REALLY trust in can be so subtle that even the most sincere among us might at times be outside of where we want to be.
It is easy for us poor people to not trust in “uncertain riches” as 1 Timothy admonishes.
1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
Not so easy if we have a fat portfolio. We might think we are still putting our trust in God and maybe so, but what might the response be to losing much of that portfolio due to a bad economy? We don’t have to like it or take it complacently, but if it would scare us, then what does that say about where our trust really is?
Do you have a good health insurance plan? If so, then that’s great, but we shouldn’t put our trust in it or in the healthcare professionals it pays for rather than in our heavenly father. I’m reminded of Asa, king of Judah.
2 Chronicles 16:12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.
13 And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
Granted, the physicians we have today are more trustworthy than those in Asa’s day, but they are still not as trustworthy as our God. The principle remains the same. Unfortunately for Asa, his demise was precipitated by what had become for him a long-standing habit: trusting in the worldly-wisdom answer rather than in God. Earlier in his reign, Israel had come against him. The kingdom was divided at that time. There was the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah. It was not uncommon for these two to be at war with each other. So what was Asa’s response to being confronted by the kingdom of Israel? He took gold and silver etc. from the house of the Lord (as well as from his own house) and sent it to Benhadad, King of Syria. He endeavored to buy Syria’s favor so that they would cease supporting Israel and come to Judah's side. The problem was that he took riches from God’s house to do so. God wasn’t exactly thrilled with the plan. It isn’t that God needs riches. He wants men’s (and women’s) hearts, but the transfer of wealth was indicative of Asa’s heart and where he put his trust.
2 Chronicles 16:7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.
9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
Asa had a history of going to wordly wisdom for answers, but religious wisdom apart from actually relying on God is no better.
1 Samuel 4:2 And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.
At this time, Israel was not following God as they should have been. This was due primarily to the fact that Eli, the high priest, was old and had allowed his two sons to have their way with matters concerning the temple. His sons were corrupt and Eli had not sufficiently constrained them.
1 Samuel 4:3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.
The people had not thought of having God involved prior to their having been decimated by the Philistines, but upon this horrible defeat, they decided they had better go get the ark of the Lord. The ark had gone before the Children of Israel when they miraculously crossed the Jordan river. It had led the procession around Jericho. By the time of this occurrence with the Philistines, the ark had for perhaps about the past 300 years represented God’s presence.
Let’s see what happened when the ark was brought in.
1 Samuel 4:5 And when the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.
6 And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the LORD was come into the camp.
7 And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore.
8 Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.
9 Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.
10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.
What??? Where is the happy ending? Didn’t they turn to God? They lost 4,000 men in battle without the ark. Then they lost 30,000 men in battle with it. What is the story here?
The Israelites made a big mistake. It is called idolatry. Putting trust in something (or someone) ahead of God is idolatry whether that something is a golden calf or the ark of the covenant. The ark was only supposed to represent God’s presence, not be looked to as though it were God Himself. What did the Israelites say about bringing the ark into the camp? “that, when it cometh among us, IT may save us out of the hand of our enemies.”
Bringing in the ark looked good on the outside, but they were trusting in the ark to save them rather than trusting in the true God Whose presence the ark was to represent.
Our modern day Doctors are wonderful and I will go see one if I ever need to, but their skill is only a tool to help accomplish a result. We still put our trust in God for deliverance. My job brings in money to pay bills, but it is only a tool that I use to help accomplish this. My trust must still be in God to supply my need whether I continue to have that job or not. We use the skill of the doctors. I benefit from my job. But we dare never trust in these rather than in the living God. Neither are we to trust in religious practices as though any of these are our deliverance. There is nothing wrong with church attendance, or self-sacrifice, or other good works any more than there was anything wrong with the ark of the covenant. But when we look to these things as though they are that which brings to pass the supply of all our need, we make the same mistake the Israelites made with the ark. May we always be wise enough to trust in Him.