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 five 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