Thursday, June 22, 2006

Our own understanding

Proverbs 3:5-7 says:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

I think this warning applies to our Biblical understanding as well. While the Word of God is absolute truth, unfortunately our understanding of it is not so absolute.

Sometimes God tells us to do things that we do not understand. In Numbers 21:8 for example, God directed Moses to make a snake and put it up on a pole. On the surface, this appears to be a direct violation of one of the ten commandments. We get a more complete understanding of the meaning of this event in John 3:14

Certainly the pharisees had a understanding of the bible. They where so attached to their own understanding that they missed out on experiencing a relationship with God as he walked and taught on this earth.

I have come to believe that prayerless obedience is not really obedience at all. James 1:5 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." If we are not constantly asking for God's wisdom, are we not "Wise in our own eyes"?

As we humble ourselves and pray for His wisdom, we do "acknowledge Him".


At 10:11 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Very insightful thoughts, as always (about on of my favorite verses I might add :) ).
What does it mean to trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him VS leaning on our own understanding and being wise in our own eyes?
Prayer is certainly an important way to “acknowledge God” or include/submit to Him in our daily life. I don’t think it’s so much about the answer either, as much as it is about realizing whose we are and who we are not.
I have recently been convicted about the fact that I’m not God (Excellent New, at the time of this writing, song by Mercy Me called “So Long Self” sums it up nicely for me: “Believe it or not life is apparently not all about me. I know the One who really is worthy!!!” -not an exact quote)
So besides praying, we also need to be ready to do whatever He asks no matter what, like lifting up a snake, as you said. The point of life is that it’s about glorifying God, not me, so it may not often make sense to me. If God is God and I really believe in Him, then I do what He says, whether I understand or agree (Do not lean on your own understanding). This is easy to understand and hard to practice.
Also notice that He says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . .” Not your mind. I don’t want to make too much of that because the Hebrew doesn’t demand the exact distinction we do, but it ties in nicely with the “peace that goes beyond understanding . . .” promised (Philippians 4:4-8) as we lay our praise and requests at His feet. The point is God is the one who know what it’s all about and if I am His, I trust Him in my words and actions and it’s a given that I’m not going to understand. After all, isn’t that the definition of faith (cf Heb 11:1 & 6)

At 6:22 PM, Blogger christian lies said...

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At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Joann said...

Trust is a very big issue for me. I've been hurt, lied to, and deceived so often in my life, I even struggle to trust God with all my heart. I want to, though, because through Him, all things are possible, right? And if I ask, through God's will, I will receive, right? Amen! But I guess it is also legalistic when we rely on our own understanding, too, huh? But here is what I don't understand about the Bible: I know that it is God's Word and all, and it should not be disobeyed in any way, shape, or form, so how come it tells me what to do, but it won't explain to me how to do it or what some of the Scripture and verses mean? Still another reason why I struggle to do the right thing!

At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I appreciate these comments so much. I think we definitely need the Holy Spirit's guidance in determining God's will for each moment.....and yes, I do believe He'll speak to us through the Spirit if we ask, and then listen...thank you for sharing. So for me this means I spend time regularly asking for His guidance, reading His word, listening, waiting on Him.....


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