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Blog - Proverbs 3:5

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If you like this blog, then you will like Get Wisdom, Get Understanding which is Pastor Wagner's commentary series on the book of Proverbs which is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Find out more here.

For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.

Proverbs 3:5

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Pro 3:5)


This may well be one of the most widely known and oft quoted verses in the book of Proverbs. The predominant theme of Proverbs is finding, acquiring, and practicing the wisdom of God found in His word. Man's understanding and the word of God are often at odds with each other.

1Co 1:19-20,25 - For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Man by nature chooses the wisdom of the so-called wise over the counsel of "God only wise" (Rom 16:27). Thus the reason for Solomon's exhortation to trust in God and not in our own ideas, for our "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1Co 2:5).

To trust is "to have faith or confidence; to place reliance; to confide" (OED). Since the LORD "knoweth all things" (1Jo 3:20) and "his understanding is infinite" (Psa 147:5), therefore "all [his] commandments are truth" (Psa 119:151). To place our full faith and confidence in the omnipotent, omniscient God rather than in our own exceedingly limited understanding should go without saying, but such is not the case due to our fallen nature.

Both rich men and fools alike are "wise in [their] own conceit" (Pro 28:11; Pro 26:5), and there is little hope for either of them (Pro 26:12). The former think too much of their wealth and attainments; the latter don't think enough. "Woe unto them", saith the LORD, "that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" (Isa 5:21). Both types of men need to heed the LORD's warning and "be not wise in [their] own eyes" (Pro 3:7), trusting in Him with all their hearts and not in their own understanding.

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes" (Pro 21:2). Using his own understanding, a man will make what he thinks is a sound decision. His ways are "clean in his own eyes" (Pro 16:2). By all reasoning, it seems right, but "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Pro 16:25). Uzza relied on his own understanding and did what seemed like the right thing when he placed his hand on the ark of the covenant to keep it from falling to the ground as David moved it on an ox cart (2Sa 6:6). If he would have trusted in the LORD with all his heart and not leaned on his own understanding by leaning on the ark, he would not have died that day (2Sa 6:7). There was a way that seemed right unto Uzza, but the end thereof was the way of death.

Maybe the situation is not life or death. What if, for instance, Christians wisely desire a spouse of like-faith and they have waited on the LORD to provide one for a long time? There is a tendency among us to become weak in faith and stop trusting God with all of our heart and begin to lean on our own understanding. They may reason that there just aren't any godly, truth-loving, single Christians out there, and since they aren't getting any younger, they decide to marry an unbeliever. In such a case, not trusting fully in God to provide their godly desire, but rather leaning unto their own understanding resulted in missing out on a lifelong blessing of a marriage wherein two walk together through life agreed (Amos 3:3).

So the next time that you begin to doubt God and His word and think that you have a better way, remember to "trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Pro 3:5).




If you like this blog, then you will like Get Wisdom, Get Understanding which is Pastor Wagner's commentary series on the book of Proverbs which is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. Find out more here.

For the previous blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 3:4.
For the next blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 3:6.

For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.

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