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Make Personal Decisions Wisely
Proverbs 3:5-6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Trust in Jehovah with all your heart: Trust means to rely on, depend on, have confidence in, to have a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone, and, in this case, Jehovah God. (2 Ki 18:5; 18:30; Ps 22:10; Isa 36:15; Jer. 28:15; 29:31) When we trust in God, this means that we know that he is our only true source of wisdom, strength, and power in everything that we think, feel, or do; therefore, we give him our complete trust. With all your heart means, with all your mind, the element of a person who enables them to be aware of their Creator. It also helps them be informed and mindful of the world and their experiences, think and feel; the full force of the mental faculty of consciousness and thought, with no reservation.
And do not lean on your own understanding: Lean on renders a word (שָׁעַן shaan) meaning to lean upon oneself or support oneself. Understanding (בִּין bin; בּוּנָה Bunah) is the ability to see how the parts or aspects of something are connected to one another. One who understands can see the big picture (the entire matter) and not just the isolated facts. (Prov. 2:5; 9:10; 18:15) Discernment and understanding involve comprehending, perceiving, grasping what the authors meant, identifying individual verses in light of the whole, weighing, or evaluating one verse in the light of the others. In all your ways, acknowledge him: Your ways are a reference to everything that you do. Acknowledge him is to know him, have taken in knowledge and information about him, have an intimate personal acquaintance with him, and be aware of him. Here in this context, knowing God goes beyond some intellectual awareness that he exists, but rather accepting him for who he is and allowing him to guide and direct our lives.
And he will make straight your paths: Make straight renders a verb (יָשַׁר yashar) that means to smooth out, make level, or remove the barriers to prepare a path, with a focus of our never wandering or turning from a course, inferring that we stay the course with purpose or ease. In this context, it can refer to our lives and the different moral choices we will have to make.
Indeed, there is no other person we could ever trust more than Jehovah God himself. If we are trusting Jehovah with all of our heart, this means that we completely surrender ourselves to him. Imagine that we were on a safari in Africa when the vehicle breaks down, and a guide is now leading us through grasslands, scrub, or open woodlands, a 50-mile trek back to safety. Would we offer him our advice at every turn, question his decision, complain to any who might listen? No, we would give this guide our complete trust because he is the expert, and our lives depend upon his decisions. Jehovah God has given us his word to guide us through this challenging part of human history. He is the expert, and our everlasting life depends upon him. Abraham entered a lifelong journey of 100 years of traveling with Jehovah God as his guide, and the lands he traveled were far more dangerous than some African safari mishap. Abraham became the father of true faith and trust.
However, when it says do not lean on your own understanding, does this mean we cannot think for ourselves? No, it is Jehovah God himself who gave man the capacity to think and reason, which he expects us to use wisely, to serve and worship him. Verse 5 is contrasting our thinking ability with the of Jehovah, in which case if what we think, feel, and believe is not in harmony with his, we are to go with his direction. In other words, his thinking would guide our own in that case. (Isa. 30:21) If we are a serious student of God’s Word, we will become permeated with his way of thinking over time, and our decisions will reflect this.
Verse 6 is another if you do (A), you get (B) situation. If we remember to trust Jehovah (A), he will make our paths straight (B). First, making our paths straight means that he will make our lives easier, as it is easier to follow a straight path. Of course, generally, if we completely trust Jehovah, life will be much easier, as we will avoid many pitfalls. However, in life in an imperfect world full of imperfect people, there are bound to be some difficulties. Nevertheless, we can know that our direction and purpose will always be straight.