Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Notes on the Proverb

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. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3;5-8

v.5 "Trust in the Lord..." We should trust God, accepting his guidance and doing as he commands. God has knowledge and power over all things. If he is for us, then we will prevail. This trust should be sincere and confident knowing God's designs will be accomplished.

"Do not lean..."
We should not rely on our own understanding. Where God knows all things, we do not; where he has power, we do not. What God has not revealed we can not know. Our understanding is not sufficient to accomplish our plans, and we ought to trust God and his commands no matter what, recognizing that he is wise and good and that nothing happens apart from his plans. We may not know God's plans, but we know that he will fulfill them. The bible is a testament to his faithfulness and goodness and should make us confident in our trust of God. (see Gen. 22, The Sacrifice of Isaac)

v.6 "in all your ways acknowledge him..." The first part of this sentence commands our action and the second affirms what God will does when we obey. We need not say, "this is for God" or "praise the Lord" in every moment, even though it is good to say so. The idea behind acknowledging God is not that of verbal praise-giving, but of doing all that God commanded in every area of life. We acknowledge him as we obey him. When we begin to think like God (as much as possible) we will acknowledge him in ways that we could not conceive before.

"the Lord will make straight your paths."
This is not a promise of prosperity, but that we will walk rightly or righteously when we obey. This righteous walking is the work of God in us and credit is do to him. No one walks righteously without him, but only by him.

v.7 "Be not wise..." We ought not conceive of ourselves as wise and do as seems best to us. What seems good is an illusion (not really good), but if one fears the Lord he will turn from evil( and what seems good). Fear of God assumes that one knows Gods power. No one's plans will stand nor will his way prosper apart from the Lord. Therefore, the one that walks apart from the Lord has no reason for confidence. (see Luke 12;13-21, Parable of a rich fool) He thinks that he will accomplish his plans not knowing that it is only possible if God wills it. To trust oneself and not God is evil. The one that fears God turns from evil because he knows God's wrath burns against evildoers.

v.8 "It will be healing..." To obey and trust God is good for us, it is necessary for proper health. The one that does not is sick. But to fear God and turn from evil will bring healing to the flesh and refreshment to the bones. It is good for whole person. It will revive the weak, the sick, the weary.

By Samuel Gantt

3 comments:

Melody said...

“This is not a promise of prosperity” Amen, Although,If I was a prosperity dude I'd say, he's promising me some miraculous healing and refreshments :) Down with the prosperity gospel! Healing and Refreshing are not a promise of prosperity! These words are spirit and truth, like you said. These words may represent not only physical but spiritual healing and refreshing. The physical matters so little.

Ok I have a nit to pick. Clarify for me here.

I think I agree with the idea in this statement " 'the Lord will make straight your paths.' This is not a promise of prosperity, but that we will walk rightly or righteously when we obey.” Your saying God makes you to walk rightly, and good works don't earn “prosperity”. I agree with all that. Is that what you meant?

My “nit”-

Isnt walking rightly and obeying the same thing. Saying we will walk rightly when we obey, seems almost redundant. This makes this above interpretation feels forced. Ill try to explain.
In vs 6 it sounded to me like you interpret the word acknowledge to mean obey: “The idea behind acknowledging God is not that of verbal praise-giving, but of doing all that God commanded in every area of life.” (aka aknowledge = obey=walk rightly) Hence my “nit” Are you saying:

In all your ways obey God and he will make you obey...?
or
In all your ways walk righteously and he will make you walk righteously?

What do you mean to communicate when you command someone “ act, obey and you will be made to obey?” Is that what this verse is getting at? y=y
Where am I getting derailed here?

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. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3;5-8

Here is how I take the passage.

To me “In all your ways acknowledge Him” refers to ones endeavors or plans (ways). Meaning we should “keep God in mind” or, set out based on what we know God likes and dislikes, we should “build on the Rock”. The “straight paths” are of the Lord. Should you build on the rock, your house will be made to stand, should you agree (amos 3:3) with God, all things are possible. He makes sure your paths will be clear.

The words “acknowledge Him” are key here. Trust, lean, and acknowledge are emphasizing “faith” in my understanding. I think these terms are emphasized, apart from their role in obedience at times (even though obedience certainly requires them). For example Trusting, leaning and acknowledging happen before obedience at times, or even after disobedience indicating they are distinct(rm 4). Such a distinction is needed here to remove redundancy.

In all your ways acknowledge God and he will make you walk righteously(obey).

The idea that “the Lord will make straight your paths” means “we will (be made) to walk righteously” makes sense here to me only if “acknowledge the Lord” is distinct from walk righteously in someway. If a (acknowledge) then b (paths made straight). Im not talking about getting saved by works, you can turn off that radar.*
This emphasis on the trusting, leaning and acknowledging apart from works at times, is key to this verse and throughout the bible. Why, because it is blessed. Yes, These three things are biblically blessed, that is we know the divine will of God to declare them so. (ex. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness) God predictably is pleased with trusting in Him leaning on Him and aknowledge Him (faith) even despite disobediences (he overlooked em). Obedience is described as blessed of God as well, but obedience assumes, aknowledging, trusting, and leaning on God by definition. Were one to single out works of obedience, we would find that it is faith alone that receives God's blessing. You want straight paths, trust, lean, acknowledge him in what you do. Straight paths, are the gift of God to those who believe. There are no straight paths, healing, and refreshments for those conforming to the law.

SS&SG said...

"To me “In all your ways acknowledge Him” refers to ones endeavors or plans (ways). Meaning we should “keep God in mind” or, set out based on what we know God likes and dislikes, we should “build on the Rock”. The “straight paths” are of the Lord. Should you build on the rock, your house will be made to stand, should you agree (amos 3:3) with God, all things are possible. He makes sure your paths will be clear."

I think your definition of acknowledge is right and more accurately describes what I was getting at, but did not make clear. Acknowledge is like recognition. We recognize the commands of the Lord, we consider his nature, his statutes and laws, and, yes, his grace and all that he says is true. So it is a recognition of all the revelation of God. To do this in all our ways is then to recognize and consider the revelation of God in all things that we do, in every particular.

We are to trust God as you said and this is blessed. I think that to lean on ones own understanding is the opposite of acknowledging God in all. Now, works without faith are dead, and faith produces good works. This is important to remember too. I didn't not intend to imply that works apart from a not subordinate to faith can justify us or please God.

He will make straight our paths in two ways, when we acknowledge him:

1. By special revelation (the bible)Are paths become straight as we consider the word, which tells us what the straight paths are.

2. By the Holy Spirit who works in us for our sanctification.

Thanks for the comments. They help to clarify what the passage is talking about, what I didn't make clear.

Melody said...

cool, its good to get clarification.