Where to Place Your Trust - Proverbs 3:5 - 6

Dr. Steve Viars August 21, 1990 Proverbs 3:5-6



- we're studying favorite Bible passages

- so far we've looked at 5 passages

  - Zech. 4:6

  - John 3:16

  - Gal. 2:20

  - Isa. 40:31

  - Rom. 8:28-39


- let me ask you tonight - Is your arsenol of favorite Bible

  verses growing?

- The Psalmist said, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I

  might not sin against thee"

- I trust that these passages are having a more prominent

  place in our thinking and are therefore helping us to be

  more pleasing to God

- I was talking to someone from our church this week who

  about a difficulty he was going through and he pulled out a

  set of index cards where he had written these passages down

  and was trying to review them and handle that difficulty


- great encouragement, also very typical of the way folks

  here respond to the Word of God - I hope that kind of thing

  has been happening with you


- you might remember that at the beginning of this study I

  asked folks to give me any of their favorite verses that

  they would like to hear addressed during this series

- tonight we're going to go back to the Old Testament to

  look at a passages that several people mentioned as one of

  their favorites

     - Prov.3:5-6

- we've gotten into a habit (I think its a good one) of

  reading these passages and asking, "what questions does

  this particular passage generate?

- before we do that with this passage, let me ask you this

  question - could that habit ever become a bad one? (if we

  started viewing the Bible as only a book of problems)

     - but often times, finding the depth of the answers

       means finding the exact meaning of certain words,

       phrases, arguments

     - so its right in Bible study to attempt to answer a lot

       of questions about the passage as long as that part of

       the process is not viewed as an end in itself


- read Prov. 3:5-6


- INPUT - what questions does this passage generate?

        - (including - have you ever noticed that in the

           Bible, the Word Lord is sometimes in all caps -

           what is the significance of that?)


I. Where to Place Your Trust


   - one of the things that Solomon wants us to wrestle with

     is - where are you placing your trust?

   - every person has to trust something

   - a person may have decided that God doesn't exist -

     they're trusting that

       - they're trusting their own ability to decide the

         question of God's existence

   - some folks have decided that our world was spontaneously

     generated by chance - they're trusting in their own

     ability to rationally prove where the world came from

    - a person may be trusting in a relationship and as long

      as they have that person - everything is OK

    - someone else may be trusting in wealth - as long as

      they have a certain amount of money, as long as they

      have that pension - they're OK - they're trusting in



    - Solomon's seen every possible item that a person could

      put their trust in - he wants everyone to wrestle with

      the question - what are you trusting in?


    - Have you ever been in a situation where you had to

      trust somebody, but you just weren't sure who to trust?

         - Diamond illus.

             - elderly Jewish gentleman

             - let us look at all the stoones we wanted

                      (here's someone we can trust)

             - couldn't find a setting, so he wrapped the

               stone up in a kleenex and let us take it

               around the city

                  (here's someone you can trust)

             - went to another store - downtown Chicago

                - stone has an imperfection


             - I can remember sitting in that guy's office


                 - I know I have to trust somebody

                 - I don't know who to trust


    - Solomon wants us to recognize - we're all in that


        - every day we have decisions to make

        - every day we have to react to situations around us

              - those decisions and those reactions are

                governed by what I'm trusting


    A.  What does it mean to trust?


        - word literally means "to cling to, to confide in,

               set one's hope and confidence in"

        - when we trust someone we're saying - I believe that

          person is right, I'm going to do what that person

          says - that person can be trusted


        - Solomon also answers the question:


    B.  Where should our trust be placed?


        - he says "trust - in the LORD"

        - you might say - Pastor Viars - that obvious

        - I'm not so sure

        - because I believe there are a number of folks who

          would call themselves Christians, who:

            - would also call themselves "trusting people"

            - they would say that they have faith...


        - yet their faith is not really in the Lord

        - they haven't properly answered the question "where

          should our faith be placed?


        - let me give you this example

        - let's say a family is in the process of buying a


        - they've made the offer, its been accepted, now they

          are waiting to hear back on their mortage, how the

          inspections come out, etc.


        - so you're talking to the husband of that family

          and he's telling you about all the details that

          need to be worked out and then he says:

            - but we're just having faith...... that God will

              work it all out

            - or maybe he even says - we're just trusting the

              Lord, that He'll get us into the house


        - question is - would you walk away from that

          conversation saying - that person is applying

          Proverbs 3:5-6?

           - I would answer no - because God never promised

             that that family would get that particular house

               - in fact, that house may have a smouldering

                 electrical short and its going to burn down

                 in two months and God doesn't want his

                 family in it

           - so the man who says - I'm trusting the Lord to

             get us into that house isn't trusting the Lord

           - the Lord never promised to get him in that

             particular house


           - now you might ask - isn't he being a trusting

             person - the answer is yes - but thats the point

           - there's a great difference between being a

             trusting person and trully trusting in the Lord


    - its like these guys who do "bungy jumping" (explain

           what it is)

    - they are trusting individuals (they're also crazy

        individuals) but they're not trusting the Lord


    - Faith always has to have the right object

       - trust "the Lord" with all thine heart


    - we need to notice something else about where Solomon

      says our trust should be placed

        - in the Lord - LORD in all capital letters


    - we mentioned earlier that the word Lord in the Bible is

      sometimes in all capital letters - you have to look

      kind of close to see that, especially if you have a

      small print Bible



    - the reason that word sometimes has all caps is because

      our English word lord is used to translate two

      different Hebrew words


    - whenever you see LORD in all caps, thats a translation

      of the Hebrew word YahWeH - or Jehovah

    - YaHWeH was considered God's most Holy name, and an

      orthodox Jew wouldn't even speak that name out loud


    - the verb form of that name is the verb "to be", or in

      the first person, "I am"


    - INPUT - where's the first place in the Bible where God

      refers to Himself as "I am"

    (Moses at the burning bush - God told Moses to go and

     deliver His people from slavery in Egypt -

        Moses has all these objections - who am I to go, I'm

         not eloquent, etc.

        - one of Moses' objections is - Who should I say sent

          me?  what is your name?

        - God said in Exodus 3:14 - I am that I am - tell the

              children of Israel - "I am" sent you

        - in other words, I am YaHWeH, the Covenant God, I am

          the God who makes promises and I am the God who is

          powerful enough to carry them out


     - of course, that why so many times in the new

       Testament, Jesus begins a discourse with "I am"

        - I am the resurrection, I am the bread of life,

        - the Jews knew that the use of that verb was a claim

          to deity

        - it was a claim to God's power


      - you probably remember in the garden of Gethsemane

        where the band of men come out to take Jesus and he

        says "Whom do you seek?" - they said - Jesus of

        Nazareth - Do you remember what Jesus said back?

           (I am) - do you remember what happened next?

           - they fell over (John wants us to notice that -

             the verse says - as soon, then , as he had said

             unto them, I am, they went backward and fell to

             the ground


- point is - when Solomon says - trust in the Lord - he's not

  talking about some etherial

   - "you gotta have faith mentality"

   - he's saying,

   - you must put your trust in YaHWeH, the covenant God, the

     God who makes promises with people and has the power to

     keep them

   - you must be trusting the objective promises

     God has made in His word


- let's factor one more idea in and then we'll try to tie

  this up some

    C.  To what extent are we to trust?

        - Input - how does Solomon answer this question?

            (with all your heart)


        - INPUT - why do you think Solomon put this qualifier

            on the statement?  (because of our tendency to

            say "I'm doing that)

        - let me tell you what I mean - When you hear a Bible

          message presented, or you study something on your

          own from the Word of God, are you in the habit of

          saying-well, I'm already doing that

               - I don't need to hear this because I'm

                 already doing that

        - I think all of us, to some degree or another, would

          have to say that we respond to God's Word that way

        - I'm already doing that


        - Solomon wants to be sure that we don't respond that

          way to this passage


        - If he said, trust in the Lord and left it at that,

          we might be tempted to respond with "I'm already

          doing that"

            - but when he factors in - "with all your heart"

              thats another story


        - INPUT - by the way, what is a better way of

            responding to the Word of God than "I'm already

            doing that"

              (What are some ways that I might not be doing



    - while we're on that subject, can you think of some ways

      that you might not be doing what the Word of God is

      commanding here?

    - I hope no one would be here tonight and would say, I'm

      perefectly trusting the Lord with all my heart all the


    - Since you would'nt say that - then how would you answer

      the question

         - what are the situations where you find it

           difficult to put your trust in him, or you

           downright don't place your trust in him?


- while you're thinking about some of those, let's factor

  this next point in:


Solomon also tells us:


II. Where Not To Place Our Trust


    - INPUT - where does Solomon say we shouldn't put our



    - in our own understanding


    - now he's obviously not saying we shouldn't try to

      understand situations, or we shouldn't get our minds

      involved in the process (remember, this is the man who

      was given an added portion of wisdom from God)


    - but he is saying this - after you've thought through a

      situation, and your decision (bottom line) is in

      conflict with God's Word, God's principles

        - you better trust in the Lord with all your heart

          instead of leaning on your own understanding




    - by the way, you may want to jot down by the word "lean"

      II Kings 5:18, 7:2

    - both of those passages speak of the practice during OT

      times of a kings literally leaning on his trusted aides

    - he would come into a public ceremony leaning on these



    - see, Solomon wants us to think of times where we've

      been leaning, resting on, counting on, depending on,

      our own understanding, instead of trusting the Lord and

      his principles


- just like Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 9:23 - Let not the wise

  man glory i his wisdom...

   - do you do that?

       - I can figure things out

       - I'm a pretty smart cookie

       - I know how to handle this one

       - I don't need anyone telling me what to do


  "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the

  mighty man glory in his might-let not the rich many glory

  in his riches...but let him that glorieth glory in this -

  that he understands and knoweth me"


- see, trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not

  unto thine own understanding


- now, I think we have enough out on the table to start

  asking some questions

- the central question is - can you think of some areas where

  you have or where you are putting your trust in your own

  understanding instead of trusting the Lord


- sometimes when folks come in looking for some help with a


    - we'll ask - listen, before you made that decision, or

      got involved in that contract, or bought that item, or

      made that move(which is presntly the source of the

      problem)...did you get some counsel from another

      believer who could help you check that decision out

      with the Word of God

        - did you sit down with a parent, friend, someone

          from the church

        - did you talk to anybody before making that move

        - I speaking of good people, who perhaps in other

          areas of their life are doing quite well...did you

          talk to anybody else?

        - do you know the answer we normally get?

            - No, I didn't, I didn't even think to, or I knew

              I should have, but I thought I had this one

              figured out


        - let me just ask you this - do you think it would be

          reasonable for me to assume that if the person

          hadn't gotten counsel from others before making

          that decision or move, they probably hadn't spent

          the right amount of time gaining counsel from God

          through His Word?




        - often in those situations we find ourselves saying,

          listen we're happy to try to help you find what the

          Bible says about the situation that you're

          presently in, but it would have been far less

          complicated if you would have come in and gotten

          some help before you made the decision or made the



    - you were trusting in your own understanding instead of

      trusting in the Lord with all your heart


    - let's brainstorm for a few minutes about possible

      situations where my own understanding might tell me to

      do one thing - but trusting in the Lord would cause me

      to do something else:

    - INPUT - can you think of situations at work that would

       fit under that idea?


        (Illus. Steve - policy - report all accidents, had

           one - if reported could lose job)


       (tie in with what should have been done)


    - INPUT - Since school's starting, can you think of some

       situations where your own understanding might tell you

       to do one thing, but trusting in the Lord would cause

       you to do something else?


      (illus.  - situation where a school principle was very

       strict on kids not missing any school except for

       medical reasons - parent wanted a child to miss for a

       non-medical reason - called the principle

          - principle asked - is it a medical reason - parent

            said yes

          - I asked - how do you justify - if principle

            turned down request - child would have lost

            temper-that wouldn't be very healthy


- now, at this point, I hope you can think of:

      1) some times in the past where you didn't trust the

         Lord with all your heart and you leaned too heavily

         on your own understanding

      2) some times in the present when you're not trusting

         the Lord with all your heart or at least you're

         really wrestling with it


- I hope every person in the auditorium tonight would also

  say this - Pastor Viars, I want to do a better job at

  trusting the Lord with all my heart - but how can I do


- the good news is that the next part of the passage helps us

  understand the "How"


III.  How To Place Your Trust


    - Solomon says, in order to trust in the Lord with all

      thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding

        - we need to acknowledge Him

        - now that brings up this question

    - what does acknowledge Him mean?



    - literally means to take notice of, to recognize


    - like walking down a hall - all of a sudden you see

      someone you think you know

        - you say to yourself - hey, I recognize that person

        - I know who that is

        - in the biblical sense - you've just acknowledged

          him, you've recognized him, you've taken notice of



    - that was the problem with the worker I mentioned


    - he was about to lean on his own understanding and not

      report the accident because he hadn't noticed, he

      hadn't acknowledged that God was in the situation


    - the same is true with the parent who told the principle

      a lie - person claims to be a Christian - how could he


        - how could he lean on his own understanding?

        - how could he fail to trust in the Lord with all his


            - because he hadn't recognized that God was in

              the situation - he hadn't acknowledged Him

- it’s just like going to a social gathering and a certain

  person is there that no one is paying any attention to

- no one's talking to that person

- no one has acknowledged that that person is there


- some folks do that with their relationship with the Lord

   - their own understanding has been acknoweldged

   - what Mr. so and so thinks has been acknowledged

   - what Mrs. so and so says has been considered


- but no one has acknowledged that God has a say in this


    - and that everyone else at the gathering needs to be

      sit down and be quiet until the presence of the Lord

      has been acknowledged and His word has been considered


- a good question to ask at this point would be - well, how

  do I become more adept at acknowledging the Lord

- I want to do that in "all my ways" like the passage says


- I like to think of that this way

- remember the children's game "I spy"? - you probably played

  some variation of it growing up (develop)

- a believer needs to become more adept at seeing the ways

  God is at work

- my car just started - I spy - God was good to me

- the sun came up - I spy

- I have my health - I spy


- the more I get into the habit of acknowledging God's

  presence and influence in my daily affairs, the easier it

  is to trust the Lord with all my heart instead of leaning

  on my own understanding


- in all thy ways acknowledge Him

- that comes with a promise...



IV.  The Result of Placing Your Trust In Him


    - Solomon said if you do what this passage commands, God

      shall direct your paths

    - I think this is the part of the passage that makes this

      passage a favorite Bible verse for many, but I'm afraid

      that may be based on a misunderstanding of what this



    - some folks say - if I only trust in the Lord with all

      my heart, then God will show me what to do

    - he'll tell me what steps to take

    - with that kind of thinking, we're really back to the

      passive view of the Christian life, and the car with

      two steering wheels where when I get in a tough spot, I

      close my eyes and hand God the wheel...

    - "here comes a tough spot - he'll direct my paths"


    - that’s not at al what Solomon is talking about here

    - direct your paths literally means "to make them

       straight" (NASB)

    - the image is - that as you and I are trusting the Lord

      with all our hearts, leaning not on our own

      understanding, acknowledging Him in all our ways

         - then our path - the way we are going - will be

           most direct, most unobstructed, and therefore most



    - its like, if I said to you, listen, I'm going to Gary

      tonight, can you tell me how to get there?

    - you'd say - jump on I-65 and go north

    - Why? - because that’s the most direct way - there aren't

      any intersections or traffic lights to slow you down

        - there aren't any shops or restaurants right on the

          road - its the fastest and most direct way to get


    - there's other ways to get there

        - Rt. 231, Rt. 41 - but those ways are slower (might

          give you more time to reconsider why you're going

          to Gary in the first place!)


    - Solomon is saying - you'll get there faster if you do

      it God's way

         - you'll get more things accomplished for God

         - you'll grow much faster

         - you'll get down the road God has prepared for you

           much faster if:

             - if you'll trust the Lord with all your heart

             - if you'll lean not on your own understanding

             - if, in all your ways you'll acknowledge Him


     - we all know of people, and perhaps you could point to

       times in your life...where you weren't doing what

       these verses are saying

     - as a result, you caught in a diversion, you hit a

       chuckhole, you went in the ditch

     - perhaps for a day, month, a year

          - you'd say-that time was wasted for God

          - my path wasn't directed

          - it wasn't very straight



    - because I leaned on my own understanding, I bounced

      around from diversion to diversion

         - sin to sin

         - pre-occupation to pre-occupation


    - I didn't make much progress for the Lord


    - I was on Rt. 231 instead of being on I-65


    - thank the Lord that’s not the way he designed it

    - he wants our paths to be directed, straight,



    - Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto

      thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge

      Him, and he shall direct thy paths

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video