TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”
Thank God blessing our long Bible study on 1 and 2 Corinthians, touching each one of our hearts and through which a lot of work of God has begun and is moving forward more than I expected. As I pray and meditate on the work of God, today’s verses touched my heart, teaching me to follow not my plan or thinking or the way I used to serve ministry but God’s plan, his leading and work. Through meditating on this, I pray to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and God may continue to bless us to follow his path in our ministry, touching each one of our hearts through today’s passage. Amen!
In these two verses, there are three ways to trust in the Lord: two of them are positive and one, negative, but they are all interconnected. In each case, however, we are going to deeply meditate on the consequences of the action: the result of trusting God or not from the examples of the Bible. May the presence of the Holy Spirit be with us as we meditate on it! Amen!
First, trust in the Lord. Look at verse 5. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” How can we trust in the Lord with all our heart? What is “heart” and what does it do? The word, ‘heart’ is mentioned 725 times in the Bible. Do you know that God has heart just like you and me, which is not a physical heart. The Lord made decisions based his heart in Genesis 6:6. Likewise, the heart is the door of one’s life and action. Therefore, the Bible says that we must guard our heart as we fight our spiritual battle. The human heart is inclined to evil, as God confirmed at the beginning of Noah’s flood. Yet there have been many men and women of God who overcame their evil-inclined heart and had the heart of God. Among them, God called David a man of God’s own heart. In fact, God wanted the people of Israel to love God with all their hearts, but they did not but asked Samuel to raise a king like other nations. God granted their request and wanted to raise king who would love God with all his heart and raised Saul as their king. Saul seemed good at the beginning, however, he did not love God with all his heart but loved himself and the spoils of war. He always made good excuses why he did not obey God. But God did not delight in his offering or service more than his obedience, which showed that his heart did not align with God’s heart.
God was looking for a man of his own heart and raised David. How do we know that David was a man of God’s own heart even before becoming the king of Israel? (1 Samuel 17:31-37) There are three facts that reveal his heart. First, he was a good shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for the sheep. Even though he was a young boy tending his father’s sheep, he loved the sheep with all his heart. In the animal kingdom, sheep are the most dumb and defenseless creatures. When they are attacked by wild animals, lions and bears, they cannot run away fast due to their short legs, or defend themselves with no horns. God compared his people to sheep and himself as a shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. David did the same. While tending his father’s sheep, he risked his life in order to rescue them. When the sheep were taken by lions and bears, he went after them and fought until he rescued them from their mouth.
Secondly, he had heart for the armies of the living God. When Goliath defied the armies of Israel, who fled from him due to fear, David could stand against him, saying, “The Lord who delivered them the paw of the lion and from the power of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” With his sling shot, he could kill the giant and valiant soldier, Goliath, and win the victory against the strong enemy of God’s people.
Thirdly, he had the fear of the Lord. (1 Samuel 24 and 26) Due to jealousy, King Saul wanted to kill David. So David had to run for his life. While he was being chased after by the king, he had chances to kill Saul. Humanly speaking, what a great chance it was for David to eliminate his enemy, who was trying to kill him. When his men wanted to revenge on behalf of him, saying once, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” But David rebuked them sharply, saying, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him.” Another time, his general Abishai said, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.” David responded, saying, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” In the Psalms, David confessed many times that he trusted not in vast armies or chariots, or even good or bad news, but in the Lord.
What happened to David? Was he killed in the end? No, God made his paths straight. While the crooked King Saul ruled the nation, chasing after him in order to take his life, God protected David and raised him to be the king of Israel in God’s time after 13 years, not through killing Saul in war or by people but through a peaceful way with justice. After Saul died, people raised David to be their king. It is God who raised David to shepherd his people like a good shepherd, taking care of sheep with the heart of God and expanding the territory of God’s kingdom for the glory of God. May God help us to trust in God with all our hearts like David so that we can be a good shepherd, fight for the armies of God and live with the fear of God in all situations, instead of making excuses in disobedience. Then, God will straighten our paths in the best way possible for Christ and his kingdom. Amen!
Secondly, do not lean our own understanding. People depend on their feelings or circumstances and make decisions. It applies not only to unbelievers but also to believers. For this part we will consider Abram’s example In Genesis 12:1-9, Abram trusted in the Lord at the beginning of his life. We learn that when we trust in God, we trust in God’s promise. When we trust in God’s promise, God gives us confidence and courage to overcome fear and obey God’s word. In Genesis 12:10-20, however, when there was a severe famine, Abram left the Promised Land and went to Egypt where food was. To human eyes, it is no-brainer; it is common sense to move to the place where you can get food at the time of famine, right? But the spiritual problem was that he left the Promised Land without even asking God what he should do in his situation. How do we know? What did Abram do? His action speaks louder. He planned to lie and lied that his wife is his sister because he feared that people would kill him in order to take his wife. The king of Egypt took his wife and treated him well. Humanly speaking, it seemed his life was going great that he was getting wealthy and being the brother-in-law of the most powerful king of the time! He was eating kingly food and wearing kingly clothes, but he lost God’s promise in Egypt. God’s promise to him could have been broken, because he lost his wife who received God’s promise together. Even if he went back to the Promised Land by himself with great wealth, his true purpose of his life was lost without God’s promise. Without God’s promise and His purpose, life is meaningless and miserable with wealth and honor in this world! Once Dr. Billy Graham was invited to dinner with the richest man on earth. The man was crying on his knees saying that he could buy anything on earth but felt the most miserable.
There was another time when Abram and Sarai leaned on their own understanding of God and their situation. After 10 years of living in the Promised Land in Genesis 16, Sarai lost her faith, saying, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” In fact, it was the custom of the time, having a concubine. She was trying to solve her problem in the worldly way. Through the servant girl, Hagar, Ishmael was born to the family. For 13 years after that, there was nothing to write about in the life of Abraham and Sarah living in the Promised Land until God had to rebuke Abraham to repent and live before God, reminding him of God’s promise to him, especially to Sarah for a child to be given in a year.
What is the consequence of their unbelief? They became disgraceful actors in a soap opera. Sarah asked Abraham to kick Hagar and Ishmael out, and Abraham’s heart was broken when he had to kick them out. Moreover, God’s prophecy and history prove that the descendants of Ishmael have been thorns on the side of Israelites, including Muslim’s who claim that Ishmael is the true promised son of Abraham, inheriting God’s promise and blessings of the land, which has brought conflicts between them, killing each other, thousands upon thousands. I pray that we may not lean our own understanding, making decisions based on our own feelings or conveniences or circumstances. What should we lean on then?
Thirdly, acknowledge God in all our ways. How can we acknowledge God in all our ways? Jesus explained it very well in John 15:5 and 7, saying, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you.” When we abide in Jesus, Jesus also abides in us. When Jesus abides in us, we live according to Jesus’ word. Jesus is the Word, personified God according to John 1:1-2. When we live according to Jesus’ word, we live according to what the Spirit desires and bear much fruit, fruit that will last, inwardly and outwardly. The Psalmist said in a different way, saying, “His delight is in the law of the Lord. On his law he meditates day and night. He is like the tree, planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season. Whatever he does prospers.”
In the Bible, there were innumerable men and women of God who acknowledged God in their ways, living according to God’s word and according to the Spirit. Among them, Paul’s example is one of the best. In prison, Paul and Silas were not acknowledging their pain and sufferings but praying and praising God. Other prisoners probably thought that they were out of their mind. He even acknowledged God’s work in others. In the book of Corinthians, Paul acknowledged God’s work in Corinthian Christians in spite of their spiritual conditions.
He acknowledged God in his life, living according to Jesus’ calling, denying himself in order to follow the Spirit. Let’s look at Acts 16:6-10, how obedient Paul was to God’s leading. He had his plan to go to Asia in order to preach the gospel. But whenever he tried to go, the door was not opened for him. Then, he received a vision: a Macedonian man called him, begging him to come and help them. Then, he realized that it was God’s calling for him to go to Macedonia instead of his plan to go to Asia. In obedience to God’s calling, he went there and God used Paul and his companions to preach the gospel, pioneering all the churches: Corinthian, Philippian, Berean, Antioch, and Ephesian. God’s work in the gentile world began to blossom as God straightened Paul’s path to be the apostle for the gentiles from the beginning. Moreover, God gave Paul the greater vision to go to Rome and thus the gospel was spread to the ends of the earth through Roman roads.
In fact, Paul’s turning his ministry to Macedonia in Acts 16 is the passage that shows how God led me to go to Harper College. When Joshua decided to go to Harper College, I did not plan to go there because it is not in DuPage County but in Cook County and wanted to concentrate on COD and Wheaton College. When I prayed, I was convicted that Jesus sent his disciples two by two. So I had to deny myself and went there to support him. For 2 weeks, we invited many students but no one came but Caleb and George. On the third Tuesday, we sat down and began to study the book of John, and invited people as they were passing by, asking, “Would you like to share some of your peanut butter pretzels?” Currently, we applied for a student Bible study club, with 8 students signed and another 8 alumni with a committed advisor. Now, Wheaton College is being ready to apply a student Bible study club with key committed people, a president, Nek, who already decided even before he came to Wheaton. and an advisor, Dr. Kim, who volunteered even before being asked. At COD, Danny is diligently sharing the gospel on campus, and Bamidele is praying to evangelize and raise one disciple of Jesus. God is working through two professors and one student, Pauline, a faithful woman of God at Lewis University. I cannot but thank God for the work of God, at the same time I pray for God’s strength and wisdom to know how to support them. The word of God came to me, saying, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not your own understanding.” As I acknowledge him in serving the work of God, he will provide all necessary things, including people, harvest workers. Amen!
Through today’s passage, we meditate on how we can trust in God with all our heart through David. When we trust in God with all our hearts, we can grow to be a good shepherd, taking care of God’s sheep, fighting courageously for the armies of God, and living in the fear of God. We also learn from the example of Abram and Sarai. Even though we started with faith, we can make a mistake when we lean on our own understanding and make fatal decisions, which cause us suffering in life sooner or later. Finally, we learned how to acknowledge God in all our ways through Apostle Paul’s example, living according to God’s word and his Spirit, denying our plan, following God’s guidance, and fulfilling God’s world salvation plan. I pray that God may also touch each one of our hearts to love God with all our heart and make decisions not according to our feeling or situations but according to the word of God, which should be the lamp onto our feet, guiding us into the path that aligns straight with God’s plan in our life for Christ and His kingdom. Amen!