I have been excited about this passage from before I started doing this series. This is one of the most quoted and most memorized verses in the whole Bible. But, I’ll be honest, one of the reasons I’m excited is because it brings to memory a song I learned in VBS when I was a kid. The song was just 3:5-6. The whole point of the song was to get us to memorize the passage, and it worked. I remember the song to this day! (I did a little search for the song but can’t find it. I’d record it, but I have no idea who wrote the song so I have no way to get permission…it would have been a part of a VBS curriculum in the 80’s…)
Anyway, I’d consider this one of the bible’s “Magic” verses. There are a bunch of verses in the Bible that, when taken out of context, seem to offer a promise in a magical way. For some reason, we really need magic verses. I understand why. It would be much easier to chant a Bible verse 20 times and have everything be all peachy. But that’s not the way life works. That’s not the way God works, at least not typically.
I think the intentions people have behind getting us as kids to memorize verses are good. And if they are memorized with an understanding of the context they were taken from, that’s great. The problem is, we don’t always remember the context. Then we’re left with this “magic” verse that holds a promise, but not the context that leads up to the promise.
That would kind of be akin to buying a bed from Ikea, and jumping to the last picture instruction, and expect that if you look at it long enough, and believe it with all your heart, there will be a bed all ready to sleep in. But, if you’ve ever bought anything from Ikea, you know there are a few thousand things you have to do first. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that if you do the first 3,998 things mentioned in the book of proverbs, that everything will magically snap into place in your life.
What I am saying, is if we hope to experience the promises found in scripture, we have to do our part. Like I said yesterday, I’m not promoting some sort of “works” based gospel. But I do feel there has been a tremendous misunderstanding when it comes to the responsibility that is on each and every believer. The reason we have the Bible is to know how to live. It is not just so we know when to ask for forgiveness. It’s to know how to live so we don’t need to ask as often.
1 My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for they will provide a long and full life,
and they will add well-being to you.
3 Do not let truth and mercy leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will find favor and good understanding,
in the sight of God and people.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding.
6 Acknowledge him in all your ways,
and he will make your paths straight.
The whole idea we find here, just as we have been learning through the first two chapters, is that this teaching, understanding and wisdom we are seeking is amazing. When we learn AND ABIDE in the ways of wisdom, we can have a long and full life. When we treasure wisdom so much that we’re willing to wear them around our neck, and write them on our heart we will find good favor and understanding. When we trust in the Lord with all our heart and don’t lean on our own understanding, in all our ways acknowledge him, He will make our paths straight.
Did you see it? It is not a magic verse. We have to trust in the Lord with all our heart. Not trust in me. Not trust in friends. Not trust in google and wikipedia. Trust in the Lord with all our heart…Do not rely on your own understanding. Ask for help. Do some research in the Word. Don’t try to figure it out on your own…Acknowledge Him in all your ways. Don’t take credit for what God is doing, give God the credit. Give thanks for what God has done and provided. H0nor Him with your life and doing your all to live the proverbious life.
And He will make your paths straight. He, not you. He. Not magic, instead, a relationship.