Proverbs 3:1-6 (NKJV) 1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
This week we have been looking at the rest of faith from Hebrew chapter 4. Favor comes to us the same way anything else in the Kingdom of God comes to us. It comes by faith. Faith should not be something we strive about but a rest. Hebrews 4:9-11 tells us that we enter the rest when we cease from our own works. If we are trying to follow God in our own strength and by our own merits we will fail.
We have also learned that there is a work we must do. We must keep the Lord’s commandments, obey his voice and walk in his ways. One of the most important things we must understand is why we do these things. We do not do them to gain God’s acceptance. We do not do them to “measure up” to a standard. Hebrews 4:11 specifically says that the point of the labor is to enter the rest. When we walk in God’s ways, obey his voice and keep his commandments, faith becomes natural and favor will follow.
As I was preparing to preach this message, I felt the Lord said something to me that I found significant. To enter into the rest of faith we must abandon ourselves to trust in God. We will never find rest if we “try” trusting God. We will never find rest if we question God’s motives or actions. We find it easy to trust when we understand. We find it easy to trust when things are going the way we think they should or in the way we expect they will. However, when things do not, we find it difficult to trust in him. Rest requires that we abandon our life to trust in God.
One of the best illustrations of this in my life is flying in an airplane. I do not know how to fly a plane. I look at the size of some of the machines I use to cross the ocean and I cannot imagine how they can possibly do what they do. How can something so big and heavy get off the ground and then stay off the ground for hours at a time? I understand that there are principles of physics at work, but it is still hard to grasp. For a time fear almost made getting into an airplane impossible.
I had to trust in the Lord, the pilot and the technology in that order! Every time we fly we abandon ourselves to that trust. Once in the air there is nothing we have control over. Whether we live or die is in someone else’s hands. I finally settled that in my heart and now I have no trouble getting into a plane and flying across the world. I do not understand it any more than I did before. I still could not fly the plane if something happened to the pilot. I just have to trust that nothing bad will happen.
If we are going to enter the rest of faith we must do the same with the Lord. In some ways it is easier to trust the plane and the pilot because we know that planes fly every day and that millions of people are safe in them. However, there are millions upon multiplied millions of people who have found that trusting in the Lord leads to life and blessing. We must abandon ourselves to trust in God. He knows us. He loves us and he will never do anything that does not lead to our highest good.
In today’s verse we see some interesting things about trust. We see that the same elements that we have been discussing this week appear in this section of scripture as well. In verse one, we are told to keep the Lord’s commandments. We cannot say we trust God if we will not keep his commandments. Very often we tend to focus on the restrictions involved in keeping God’s commandments. There is a restricting factor. They keep us from things that will hurt us. However, they also provide something for us. Look at verse 2 from the Amplified bible.
Proverbs 3:2 (AMP) 2 For length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you.
Keeping God’s commandments lead to a long that is also one worth living. They produce peace and tranquility that will last until we leave this earth to spend eternity with the Lord. The benefits from keeping God’s commandments far outweigh the restrictions that may come when we do.
In verse 3 we find that we must not forsake mercy and truth but we must bind them around our necks and keep them in the midst of our heart. To me this speaks of his ways and his voice. God deals with us through mercy and truth. We should deal with him and with others in the same way. When I keep his ways in my heart, I am cultivating that inward relationship from which his voice flows. What happens when I do these things? I find favor with both God and man.
In verses 5 and 6 the writer exhorts us to trust in the Lord with our whole heart. Once again the idea is that we must abandon ourselves to trust in God. How do we do that? We must not lean to our own understanding. We cannot figure out everything in life. There will be things God wants us to do that we do not understand. There will be things that happen to us we will not understand. In those times we must place trust in God above our understanding. He will do what is right and he will bring us through to blessing.
We must also acknowledge him in all our ways. He must be involved in every area of life. We must acknowledge his hand in everything. To acknowledge him means that we recognize he is there and that he is the force behind everything. I do nothing by my own strength alone. He is always the major player in any endeavor of life.
When we have these things in place we will be abandoning ourselves to trust in God. When we abandon ourselves to trust in God we will find rest and faith. We will learn more and more about him and the more we learn, the more we will understand that we can trust him. Favor will flow as we rest in the Lord doing what he asks us to do but letting him be in control. This is a life that will be worth living.
As we close this week, we must realize that there is a bible truth without which we will never enter in to any of this. 2013 is a year when God wants us to have favor with people and in the circumstances of life. However, there is another favor that supersedes all other kinds of favor. That is favor with God. The bible calls this grace. When we understand that we have favor with God, we will trust him, we will enter the rest of faith and we will have favor in all other areas.
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Thank God we can come to a throne of grace and not one of works. Thank God that when we come to this throne we find mercy to help us in our time of need. To obtain favor in the world we must understand the nature of the favor that God has already given us in Christ. We must study grace. And so we shall!