“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV). This is one of the most quoted proverbs. What a deal, having your paths made straight. I like the NKJV that says that God will “direct your path.” The NASB says “make your paths straight.” I am suggesting that it is often good to check out different translations of the Bible. Some are better than others.
Proverbs 3:5-6New Century Version (NCV)
Trust the Lord with all your heart,
and don’t depend on your own understanding.
Remember the Lord in all you do,
and hH will give you success.
I like this version except that I don’t know what success means. I also wonder what remembering the Lord means.
Proverbs 3:5-6New Living Translation (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Now here is a translation I like. I notice that in all translations I have reviewed that all say, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” I think it is critical that we trust and obey with ALL our heart or center or spirit and soul. All means there is nothing kept back, it’s ALL in. I like being “sold out” to God in Christ Jesus. I also think the concept of seeking God in everything is good. Scripture tells us in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” I will be found by you, declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Seeking God in prayer, His Word, other godly people and circumstances with meditation brings insight. We don’t know the way or answer without seeking Him, we just think we do. I once needed to jump off a cliff to see what it was like. But thanks to God, I now seek Him first, most of the time.
Now hear one of the most difficult verses in Scripture from Jesus’ brother James. He tells us to consider it or count pure joy when we have trials of every kind- whoopee. He goes on to tell us that persevering through them will bring maturity and completeness. Moreover in vv.5-8 he says, “ If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” God is saying that He will give us wisdom, the what and how to do it when we are in trials. He wants to show us the way, the truth and the life through His Spirit and Word. What a wonderful promise of God. I am often blown like a windswept wave. It is fun to swim in the ocean, but have you ever been taken out by a riptide? Many have drowned by the currents of the sea. Warning signs on beaches have been unheeded.
I thought I might add another familiar verse from the 23rd Psalm, “He leads me along paths of righteousness for His names sake.” He leads, and we must follow if we want to be in His will and righteous. I think too often we say, “I’ve got this” and go off on our own path. Sometimes it’s more traveled and sometimes less, but regardless it is often the wrong path.
He is the way, “walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21). Listen for His voice, read His Word and obey it. Obey it with all your heart, mind, and strength of Spirit within you. The consequences of going your own way are potentially fatal. Remember where I started this post with Proverbs 3:5-6? The next verse says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7-8). God has given us free will to follow our own path, be “the captain of our ship.” Well, how is that going for you? For me it meant falling off the path, literally. My own way brought pain, physically, and spiritually. I caused pain to myself and others. I sinned and others were affected by it. Yes the spray of the wind blown waves hit a lot of people and it was not good. I have found that trusting God and seeking Him in all things has straightened out my paths. I will not,however, say that they are smooth or totally straight. They no longer look like an EKG but more like the smooth sea. Thank you God for your faithfulness. AMEN.