The Blessing of Trusting God
Wisdom is a powerful force for blessing in our lives: what does it look like, and how do we get it?
In Proverbs 1:7, Solomon teaches the starting-point for wisdom:
'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction'.
The premise behind fearing the Lord is simple: God is God, He is creator, his knowledge is unlimited - he knows everything about everything. The beginning point of wisdom is this - recognising the Godness of God, and respecting him for it.
In Proverbs 3:5-6, Solomon teaches what wisdom looks like when we are pursuing it:
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.
There are three instructions in this passage:
- trust in the Lord with all your heart: that is, submit to God's wisdom in every area of life, trusting him fully.
- lean not on your own understanding: for humans who think we have the deal figured out, this is a difficult statement. The premise is that God understands more than we do, so we should just flow with what he has to say.
- In all your ways acknowledge him: there are some ways of ours where we might be open to God's input, but we all have ways where we'd rather God just be quiet because we really don't want his input to mess up what we want to do. Acknowleding him (seeking relational connect and input from him) in all of our ways is wise.
These instructions are associated with a promise: he will make your paths straight. That is, we will experience the blessing of God in life; rather than crooked paths filled with detours and deviations, we'll walk in God's blessing. I would suggest that straight paths include anxiety-free living. That is, if we are trusting God with all of our hearts, there simply isn't room for worry. Another way of looking at it is - like pain is communication from the body that something is wrong, worry is communication from the heart that we're not trusting the Lord in a certain area of our lives.
Having taught us what wisdom is and what it looks like, Somon gives us a practical application in an area relevant to everyone on the planet: money. Trusting God is hard sometimes; trusting God with our money can be incredibly difficult. This is what Solomon writes:
Honour the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9-10
One area in which we can practice trusting God with all of our hearts is money. This is difficult, because it's easy to worry about money. The main worry about money is that we won't have enough. How are we going to pay for ...? So trusting God with money is difficult - but important - because worrying about money is a huge source of anxiety in people's lives.
The practice that Solomon teaches seems counter-intuitive - generosity towards God as the first thing we do with money. This is what he writes: honour the Lord from your wealth - we honour God with our wealth when we give to him; and from the first of all your produce - that is, we don't give God our leftovers, but we give to God first.
The promise is that if we do this - if we honour God by giving to him, and do this first with our money, then our barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Most of us don't live on farms these days; Solomon was writing in the context of an agricultural society. But the principle is the same: we'll experience God's blessing in our finances when we determine to honour God with our finances.
I think honouring God with our finances involves more than just giving to him: our budget - our overall pattern of spending - should reflect priorities informed by God's kingdom. But giving to God is a great place to begin, not because God needs our money, but because we need to give, because we need to learn how to trust God in every area of our lives, including our finances.
So whatever is going on in your life this week, determine that you will trust the Lord with all your heart. When tempted to, don't lean on your own understanding. Decide that you will acknowledge God in all your ways. And you can trust him to bring his blessing in every area of your life.