Lean on Thee
(Read Proverbs 3)
If God were to ask you what you wanted him to give you, what would you say? Would you ask for health, peace, comfort, wealth, treasures? Would you ask for wisdom?
In a dream one night, King David’s son, Solomon, was asked that same question. Solomon replied honestly and humbly. He asked for, “a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” He asked for true wisdom, not intelligence. When we lean on God and trust him, he smiles upon us. God rewarded Solomon with legendary wisdom and all those earthly things he could imagine, like a long healthy life and inconceivable treasures. Solomon is attributed as the writer of the book of Proverbs – a book of biblical wisdom on all things from moral behavior, the significance of life, and righteous living.
“My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.”
Solomon’s wisdom was big ticket wisdom, imparted to him by God. God’s wisdom is universal and timeless. It’s not meant to be mindless laws for us to score points by, but rather nuggets and commands we should want to obey. Our obedience should reflect a willing heart that loves and obeys. This proverb isn’t promising a perfect life of ease and grandeur. It doesn’t promise smooth sailing. But it does point us to God’s peace.
It’s not easy to rely on God’s wisdom for our lives. It’s tempting to rely on something we can see, touch, or hear. It is human nature to put our trust in something or someone, even if it is our self. The problem is that if our trust is in something other than God, it is based on a limited understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.”
I have a good friend who grew up as a Muslim in Egypt. He came to the United States as a young adult and eventually enlisted in the Army. After 8 hard years of military service and multiple combat deployments, he was seriously injured and was medically discharged. During a bottomless pit in his life, he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. The man I know is an immensely kind, generous, and loving soul. Despite a difficult ongoing adjustment to life changing events, he is a living example of God’s blessing.
Times have been challenging for my friend but his faith had grown so strong that a few years ago, he felt called to serve the Lord in a more formal manner. He’s now in his last year of Seminary to become a Pastor. He does have a loud, booming voice (and laugh), but I never knew him to be a skilled orator. As part of his study on the Gospel of John, he delivered a sermon to our Bible study group. He should have done a mic drop after it because all of us were astonished. There was such clarity, passion, emotion, and action in his message. It was as if we just heard a seasoned and polished celeb Pastor like Greg Laurie, Tim Keller, JD Greear, or Andrew Taylor.
We don’t know how this will work out for his family and him. We do know that 100% of their trust is in the Lord. His wife is an equally spiritual lighthouse. She is an incredibly strong, faithful woman who lets God hold the compass in her life as well. They are not taking the easy road. They lean on, trust in, and acknowledge Him with unwavering love and faith.
“Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.”
When faced with hardship or a critical decision, where do you turn? Do you trust your own judgement?
Adam Clarke wrote, “The grand sin of the human race is their continual endeavor to live independently of God.” If we trust in God, it must be complete. It must be a wholly conscious surrender of our own understanding. He promised that he has us. If we direct our own lives, our trust points to us, not him. Our God-pointed heart delights in God’s plans and God’s paths for us.
Actor Jim Caviezel was a household name in cinema even before he accepted the role of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ.’ In 2004 his life and career would change forever. 20 minutes after he accepted the part, Gibson begged Caviezel not to take the role. “You’ll never work in this town again,” Gibson declared. “We all have to embrace our crosses,” Caviezel replied. “We have to give up our names, our reputations, our lives to speak the truth,” he added.
Caviezel endured tremendous physical suffering during the filming of the epic. He got pneumonia, was struck by lightning twice, gained a 14-inch gash in the back during scenes of Christ’s scourging, dislocated his shoulder, and went through 2 heart surgeries as a result of his stressed health during the filming.
Caviezel has come to be known as an outspoken and rare celebrity voice for believers, encouraging Christians to stand up for our faith. By risking his career and his life, he leaned on God’s understanding, not his own. He put his trust in our Lord, not Hollywood. “You’re going to be given a power and an opportunity. You’re here for a reason,” Caviezel has said.
Do we trust, lean, listen, and learn from God? Is there happiness when we we decide our path? Happiness is about what happens to us. Joy is a reflection of a relationship. Following God’s path leads to peace and joy.
Our best-intentioned human plans will never approach the magnificent wisdom and excellence of God’s plan. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
- Read Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 Kings 3:7-8, and 1 Corinthians 1:25. Do you lean on this wisdom in your life? Resist the temptation to avoid asking God for help in your difficult choices. Pray and look for guidance from God.
- Look to people in your life who took the hard road to change. People with addictions, people who made drastic career moves, people who sacrificed something “sure” for something “good.” How does that make you feel? Use this in your own life.
- Do you feel your life is on a peaceful path? Are you following what God wants for your life. Are you living up to His plans for you? If you are — don’t congratulate yourself, keep going. If not, talk to another believer about this. What can you do to fully trust and listen to God? How can you be accountable to him?
Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.