Key Verse – 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 NKJV).
Key Thought – You can trust God, ALWAYS.
We’ve been considering words… not the big words like “justification” or “salvation” or “sanctification” or any of those other big Bible theological words.
Rather, we’ve been looking at words like “kindness”, “forgiveness”, “joy”, “follow”, and “obey.” These are not big words, but rather little words that are big in meaning and importance to the walk of a Christian. They are big little words that we need more of.
Last week, we considered the word “obey.” It’s one half of the old hymn “Trust and Obey.”
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.^[John Henry Sammis, “Trust and Obey”, (1846-1919)]
Today we will look at the other half – “trust.” And, as usual, we should start with some definition. What does the word “trust” mean?
The Hebrew behind our text (Proverbs 3:5-6), is a word (BATACH), which means “to trust, to be confident; unsuspecting.” There are several other Hebrew words used in the Old Testament that add various shades of meaning, such as the idea of “taking refuge”. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust (i.e. take refuge); My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2 NKJV)
In Greek, the language of the New Testament, the most common word is ELPIZO, which means “to hope; to put one’s hope”. Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust (i.e. hope… place our hope in) that He will still deliver us, (2 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV) For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust (hope… place our hope in) in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10 NKJV)
Other Greek words add the idea of “confidence” or “to be assured of or persuaded of”. And we have such trust through Christ toward God. (2 Corinthians 3:4 NKJV) We have confidence… we are assured… we are persuaded. Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted (they were confident… persuaded) in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (Luke 18:9 NKJV)
But the English definition is the one that makes it clearest for me. Have you ever looked up the word trust in Websters? Trust means “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” It means “dependence on something future or contingent.” It means “to place confidence in; to depend on; to be confident.”
So with those definitions in mind, let’s think about this big little word “trust” and let’s think about it like this:
- First, negatively – What are some things the Bible says we should NOT trust?
2. Second, positively – What does the Bible say you CAN trust?
3. Finally, practically – Under what circumstances can you trust?
Some things you CAN’T trust.
I don’t suppose it’s unique to us here in America, this thought that if we can only find the right man for the job, everything will be alright. Unique or not, though, it drives a lot of people to the ballot box. If we can only elect the right president, our troubles will be over. If we can only find good people to serve in Congress… to sit on our courts… to serve in our government… everything will be ok.
But the Bible says such is vain, and even foolish thinking. You should not and cannot trust in men.
Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. (Psalm 60:11 NKJV)
Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. (Psalm 146:3 NKJV)
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. (Proverbs 25:19 NKJV)
Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD. (Jeremiah 17:5 NKJV)
I steal the old quote and use it often, “The best of men are men at best.” The best president will sometime disappoint you… the closest friend… the dearest lover… the wisest mentor… even the most trusted of pastors.
I read somewhere that “The king of Italy and the king of Bohemia promised John Huss safe transport and safe custody. They broke their promises, however, and Huss was martyred. Thomas Wentworth carried a document signed by King Charles I which read, “Upon the word of a king you shall not suffer in life, honour, or fortune.” Shortly afterwards, however, his death warrant was signed by the same monarch. “Put not your trust in princes,” were his last words.”^[Paul Lee Tan, “Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations” (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1525.]
It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes. (Psalm 118:9 NKJV)Some have done the math and determined that this is the very middle verse in the Bible. And what a central thought it is! We can’t trust in men. But we can trust in God (which we’ll get to in just a minute.)
Job understood this. He said, If I have made gold my hope, Or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’; If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, And because my hand had gained much; … This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, For I would have denied God who is above. (Job 31:24-25, 28 NKJV)
Money is one of the most fleeting of things in which to trust.
Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. (Psalm 62:10 NKJV)
He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. (Proverbs 11:28 NKJV)
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV)
You may have money now… a good job today… little in the way of financial care now… but that doesn’t mean it will be so tomorrow. What wealth we have comes from God. Moses told the children of Israel, you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18 NKJV).
Sadly, the gaining of and accumulating of wealth keeps many a person from serving God… and keeps some from heaven altogether. Jesus warned that trusting in money and wealth was a stumbling block that was nearly insurmountable. And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:24 NKJV)
I recall a conversation between myself and a former employer. It was the eve of a national election, and the next day would see a new president in the White House. We were stressing over what was to be, when he smiled and said, “It doesn’t really matter anyway, for afterwards it will still be America, Bill.”
How often we think that way as Americans. We are the greatest country in the world, we think. We have the greatest of military’s… the most productive of industry… the brightest of minds… the most righteousness of purpose. We can never fall or be defeated, we think.
But the Bible says, No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. (Psalm 33:16 NKJV)
In just a few weeks Dr. Jimmy DeYoung will be with us for a 3 day prophecy conference. I hope you’ve got those dates marked out on your calendar, for you will not want to miss a single session. But I confess, I wonder about his topic. He intends to speak on the subject of America in Bible Prophecy. He says he receives more questions about that topic than any other. I wonder what he’s going to say, because in my own studies of the Bible, I’ve found no mention of America in prophecy. Actually, there is only one passage concerning end time events that I think you can rightly say includes America. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it (Zechariah 12:3 NKJV). If America is still around when that day comes, she would be included in that phrase “all nations of the earth” that gather against Jerusalem.
But I’ve always had a theory about why America is not mentioned in prophecy. I mean, how can the greatest nation on earth… the nation with the strongest military… the greatest industry… the most righteous of causes, not be involved when we come to the ultimate in world events? To me, the answer must be that when the end comes, America will either be gone, or irrelevant on the world stage. Neither is impossible, you know. We have already fallen so far from where we were. In the early days of our republic, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
The prophet Obadiah warned, The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ (Obadiah 1:3 NKJV)
You cannot… dare not… trust in strength.
In the last days of His ministry, Jesus warned the disciples that He would soon be betrayed by one of them. In his ever-present confidence in himself, Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” (Matthew 26:33 NKJV) “NOT ME, LORD!” Of course, it was not long after that Peter found out he could not trust even himself, for he did stumble, and he denied the very Lord he thought he would never fail.
The apostle Paul warned the self-confident Corinthians Christians, Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV). That means MY heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked… it means YOUR heart is such, too.
Often times you’ll hear the old words of wisdom, “Trust your conscience… let your conscience be your guide….” But according to the Bible, that’s really terrible advice. You cannot rely on your own mind… your own heart… your own goodness… your own wisdom… your own intellect… anything that is your own. YOU will lead YOURSELF astray.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26 NKJV)
So… you should not and cannot trust in men, or money, or strength, or even your own heart. What then can you trust?
You can ALWAYS TRUST God.
Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (Psalm 37:3 NKJV)
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. (Psalm 115:11 NKJV)
Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:4 NKJV)
You can ALWAYS trust God. ALWAYS.
You can trust what He says… you can always trust His WORD – As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:31 NKJV)
You can trust who He is… you can always trust His CHARACTER – Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! (Psalm 31:19 NKJV)
You can ALWAYS trust God. ALWAYS.
Trusting God brings SECURITY – Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever. (Psalm 125:1 NKJV)
Trusting God brings SAFETY – The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25 NKJV)
Trusting God brings PEACE – You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)
Trusting God brings BLESSING – Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. (Jeremiah 17:7 NKJV)
Trusting God brings JOY – But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. (Psalm 5:11 NKJV)
You can ALWAYS trust God. ALWAYS.
Job trusted God… through thick and thin… through prosperity and want… through health and illness… through good times and bad. Job said, Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. (Job 13:15 NKJV)
David trusted God. Even when King Saul was chasing him around the countryside trying to kill him at every turn, he prayed. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. (Psalm 57:1 NKJV)
You can ALWAYS trust God. Always.
The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7 NKJV)
You can ALWAYS trust God. (Say that with me. Make it personal – “I can always trust God!”
Yes, you can ALWAYS trust God. And that leads to the final thing I said I wanted to discuss – Under what circumstances can you trust Him? Let me suggest just a few in closing:
Trust Him for salvation. Foundational aspect. Nothing else matters before this.
Salvation is trusting what God says… trusting what Jesus did… trusting that it is just that simple!
Remember Webster’s definition of “trust”? Trust means “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” It means “dependence on something future or contingent.” It means “to place confidence in; to depend on; to be confident.” You can place our confidence in what Christ did on the cross – it is sufficient to pay the price for all you sin. You can depend on and be confident in His promises that if you will but believe in Him and trust Him, He will save you forever.
Trust Him when hurting.
I’ll never forget when my Joshua lay dying from cancer and complications of chemotherapy… or when Beth had died, and I sat alone in my home. These things hurt.
Kathy has told me her experience was similar when she lost her first husband to cancer. It hurt.
Pain can make us doubt… run from God… despair… lash out in our pain at others and at God. Sean is fond of saying that “Hurting people hurt people.” They lash out… and sometimes that lashing out goes toward God… who we can trust, even then.
Trust Him when intellectually questioning.
There is nothing wrong with having questions. And believe me, your questions are not original with you. Men and women have had questions about the faith… about God… about the Bible… about salvation… about eternity… about everything related to Christianity… for thousands of years. You’re not the first.
But somewhere along the line you have to say, “I don’t understand it all, but what I do understand I believe… and I trust. I believe God is good… that what He asks of me makes sense… that what Jesus did for me on the cross was epic and demanding of a response. So I’ll believe… I’ll trust as best I can and ask God for help with what I don’t understand.”
Trust Him when nobody else does.
The “nones” are the largest religious group in America now. What a sad commentary on the failure of the church as a whole to reach it’s culture for Christ.
But what if none believe along with you? What if you stand alone? What if you find yourself like Noah… or Elijah?
These men found they could trust, even if they were the only ones. You can too.
Trust Him when your eyes don’t – i.e. when you have to trust in spite of what you SEE.
Young people going to STEM schools and brainwashed with supposed scientific and modern thinking that disproves God. You will be bombarded with brilliant sounding and seemingly incontrovertible evidence that the earth is millions of years old… that all came from nothing… that God didn’t create us but we rather evolved by chance.
Your eyes may tell you it’s all true, but it’s not. We walk by faith… NOT BY SIGHT. We can and must trust EVEN WHEN doing so requires ignoring what we see.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “To love involves trusting the beloved beyond the evidence, even against much evidence. No man is our friend who believes in our good intentions only when they are proved.”
And Philip Yancey wrote, “I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”
Trust Him when overwhelmed by troubles.
There are times when troubles are piled so high that you feel crushed. Apollyon – darts thick as hail.
Job is an example.
Some in this fellowship have buried a spouse. Some have felt the agony and fear of cancer – Allison’s words. Some have watched relationships crumble and family fall apart. Some have struggled to pay their bills and found themselves buried under debt.)
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:1-2 NKJV).
Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; (Psalm 46:2 NKJV).
A. B. Simpson said, “You will never learn faith (trust) in comfortable surroundings.”
Trust Him when you’ve made a mess of things.
Here’s a shocker – you and I didn’t stop being sinners when we got saved.
- tenses of salvation.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve made a royal mess of things more than once in my Christian experience. I’ve screwed up in epic fashion… sinned magnificently… and brought a heap of trouble into my life on more than one occasion by so doing.
But I can still trust Him. He never failed me even when I failed Him… and He never will.
Trust Him when you’re afraid. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. (Psalm 56:3 NKJV) I read somewhere that D. L. Moody’s favorite verse was similar – Isaiah 12:2 – I will trust, and not be afraid.
Trust His WORD.
Joshua told the children of Israel, Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed (Joshua 23:14 NKJV).
Yesterday we were supposed to have a campfire fellowship. I ended up cancelling at the last minute for weather, but I struggled with the decision, even though the weather forecast had shown for a couple of days that it was going to start raining right around start time and rain forever thereafter. The problem is, I can’t trust the weather forecast. Anybody who has made plans based on a weather forecast knows how dicey such a practice is. I’ve told recently of my esxperience suiting up to ride my motorcycle to work because of the 0% chance of rain seen on the forecast, only to open the garage door and look out into a downpour. There is NOTHING LIKE THE BIBLE, which has NEVER FAILED AND NEVER WILL.
Trust His promises.
Beth’s favorite verse was Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Kathy’s favorite verse is Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
My favorite verse is Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
ALL these are promises. Do you have a promise to fall back on when things get rough? You can trust His promises.
Trust His character.
I learned a lot of things when Phil Ross was serving here with me. He had a lot of wisdom (and still does, methinks.) At one time I was struggling to help a member of the congregation who was going through some great trial (I don’t even remember what, now), and Phil was there with me. As we both sought to bring Scripture to bear, and to encourage this person, Phil eventually said, “No matter what happens, we always need to remember that God is good.” Such a simple concept, and yet it has helped me countless times, since. God is good.
When things don’t look good, and it seems like we’re going through something bad, we can trust God’s goodness. He is a good God. He never will do anything not good. He is always good. We can trust that! “God is too wise to make a mistake, too good to do evil.” (M.T. Rankin)
I began today‘s message quoting a few lines from the old hymn “Trust and Obey”.
A little boy was once asked what songs they had sung in Sunday School. The little guy replied “Trust and O.K.” What a wonderful truth… what a wonderful summation of all that is found in this big little word – TRUST. We can trust God. If we are Christians, everything is and will be O.K.
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 NKJV).