This Sanctuary Sunday Open Thread, with full respect to those who worship God on the Sabbath, is a place to reaffirm our worship of our Creator, our Father, our King Eternal.
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God Himself will direct your paths
Trust in the Lord (b’takh el yehovah); literally, trust in Jehovah. Entire reliance upon Jehovah, implied in the words, “with all thine heart,” is here appropriately placed at the head of a series of admonitions which especially have God and man’s relations with him in view, inasmuch as such confidence or trust, with its corresponding idea of the renunciation of reliance on self, is, as Zockler truly remarks, a “fundamental principle of all religion.” It is the first lesson to be learnt by all, and no less necessary for the Jew than for the Christian. Without this reliance on or confidence in God, it is impossible to carry out any of the precepts of religion. Batakh is, properly, “to cling to,” and so passes to the meaning of “to confide in,” “to set one’s hope and confidence upon.” The preposition el with Jehovah indicates the direction which the confidence is to take (cf. Psalms 37:3, Psalms 37:5).
Lean (tishshaen); Vulgate, innitaris; followed by el, like b’takh, with which it is very similar in meaning. Shaan, not used in kal, in hiph. signifies “to lean upon, rest upon,” just as man rests upon a spear for support. Its metaphorical use, to repose confidence in, is derived from the practice of kings who were accustomed to appear in public leaning on their friends and ministers; cf. 2 Kings 5:18; 2 Kings 7:2, 2 Kings 7:17 (Gesenius). The admonition does not mean that we are not to use our own understanding (binab), i.e. form plans with discretion, and employ legitimate means in the pursuit of our ends; but that, when we use it, we are to depend upon God and his directing and overruling providence (Wardlaw); cf. Jeremiah 9:23, Jeremiah 9:24. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,” etc. The teacher points out not only where we are to rely, but also where we are not to rely.
In all thy ways. This expression covers the whole area of life’s action—all its acts and undertakings, its spiritual and secular sides, no less than its public and private, It guards against our acknowledging God in great crises and solemn acts of worship only (Plumptre). Acknowledge (daehu); Vulgate, cogita; LXX; γνέριζε. The Hebrew verb yada signifies “to know, recognize.” To acknowledge God is, therefore, to recognize, in all our dealings and undertakings, God’s overruling providence, which “shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will.” It is not a mere theoretical acknowledgment, but one that engages the whole energies of the soul (Delitzsch), and sees in God power, wisdom, providence, goodness, and justice. This meaning is conveyed by the Vulgate cogitare, which is “to consider” in all parts, “to reflect upon.” David’s advice to his son Solomon is, “Know thou (ola) the God of thy father.” We may well acknowledge Jehovah; for he “knoweth the way of the righteous” (Psalms 1:6). Acknowledging God also implies that we first ascertain whether what we are about to take in hand is in accordance with his precepts, and then look for his direction and illumination (Wardlaw).
And he shall direct thy paths (v’hu y’yashsher or’khotheyka); i.e. he himself shall make them straight, or level, removing all obstacles out of the way; or they shall, under God’s direction, prosper and come to a successful issue; they shall be virtuous, inasmuch as deviation into vice will be guarded against, and happy, because they are prosperous. The pronoun v’hu is emphatic, “he himself;” Vulgate, et ipse. Yashar, piel. is “to make a way straight,” as in Proverbs 9:15; Proverbs 15:21; Proverbs 11:5. Cf. the LXX. ὀρθοτομεῖν, “to cut straight” (see on Proverbs 11:5). God here binds himself by a covenant (Lapide). This power is properly attributed to God, for “it is not in man to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
In reading Proverbs 3:5-6, I’m reminded of what is written in Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
I believe that Christians are certainly fallible (the understatement of the year), and though we come short of trusting God with all our heart, though we periodically fail and trust our own abilities and reasoning, though we don’t acknowledge God in everything we think, say or do, I believe God will know we’re working toward those goals and He will direct or make smooth our paths in ways that He knows are for our own good.
And why is that? It’s because “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)