Proverbs 3:5-6 is a passage that I have known from childhood. There is a scouting-type program in our church called “Caravan.” Proverbs 3:5-6 is the motto: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”[a]
This year I am reading through the Bible again and have recently read this beautiful passage of Scripture. Today in my reading, I mainly focussed on the verses preceding verses five and six and was touched by the truth contained within verses three and four. The writer of the Proverbs has some important instructions for each of us:
- Do not let kindness and truth leave you. (verse 3) Nothing seems to be in shorter supply today than both kindness and truth. I immediately noticed that kindness and truth are hanging out together in this passage. Many folks are convinced that kindness and truth are incompatible. Today you are only called kind if you agree with someone and you support them regardless of what they are doing and certainly do not bring any absolute truth into the conversation. Some folks want to go around and speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Because they are speaking the truth, they feel that they can do so with a mean-spirited and harsh and hateful spirit and attitude. Both perspectives are lacking, you can be committed to the truth and still be a kind person! Verse three is indicating, do not let either truth or kindness leave you. Bad things happen when we do not keep a biblical balance. The writer is so convinced that he gives us a couple of examples: “bind them around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart.” Truth and kindness must be evident in our lives.
- Favor in the sight of God and humanity comes to those who live out verse four. If you want to find favor with God, commit to His truth and kindness. Kindness and honesty will also help us in our relationships with people.
- Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Following God means to be committed to Him with the totality of your being: mind, soul, spirit with everything you possess.
- Do not lean on your own understanding. Our default is to trust our own thinking, judgments, and ideas, but we are admonished to not lean on our own understanding, instead trust God!
- In all your ways acknowledge. There is a temptation to compartmentalize all of life. This area is related to my family, work, finances, and so on and to leave God out of these areas. The command here is to make Him not just Lord of our heart but of every area!
- He will make your paths straight. Notice there is no promise of a problem-free life. Nor is there anything said to indicate that if I am kind and committed to truth everything will always go my way and pain and reversals will never be experienced. What God promises is victory and a path through everything that comes my way.
At times I believe I have been more focused on my adverse circumstances than I have been focused on kindness and truth. Our situation might improve if we focus on His truth and being kind people!
When I live out and demonstrate the grace and mercy of God and am committed to His Word, then I can count on not an easy way but a straightway.
Okay, my friends commit to God and show His kindness and follow His truth and follow straight ahead on the path He is directing your life and then bask in His goodness and grace!