Friday, June 8, 2012


Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

The path we are hiking on brings us to a deep gorge filled with sharp rocks and raging water. A rickety wooden bridge, with missing boards, is strung across. We look at the bridge and decide it is too risky. Then we notice a newly built concrete bridge a little ways away. That's the one we want! That's the safe one.

Full of confidence, we walk to the middle of the solid bridge and lean over the side to look at the swirling water below. The temporary railing gives way—and we fall to the depths. Standing on a sure foundation, we ended up leaning against a frail support. Bad idea!

King Solomon writes to warn his readers to be careful about what they choose to lean against. Standing on something solid is not enough. What you lean upon while you are standing can get you into trouble. But, of course, he is not talking about bridges and railings. He is talking about life. He is talking about trusting God. He is warning against counting too much on the human understanding of things. It's a warning we need.

We have learned from books, from leaders, and from our own experiences. As a result, we have gained an understanding of some things. Should we not lean against, rely upon, that understanding? The answer is: "It all depends!"

Solomon is not telling us to distrust everything we understand. The contrast is with trust in the Redeemer God. It comes down to those times when we look at God's words and God's ways, and find that our thinking is different. The Bible is teaching us, "If you have to choose between what God says and what makes sense to you, go with God every time!" God's path is on solid rock. The railing we construct in our mind is flimsy and flawed.

The phrase, "…with all your heart" is the key. We might trust in God for many things, even for the forgiveness of sins he won for us. But, to the extent that we hold back that trust in him from any phase of our life, we are in danger. We may find ourselves asking: Aren’t the 10 Commandments outdated? With billions of people on this planet, how can God guard and keep me? Shouldn’t a person just follow his feelings? The questions can pile up. So can the doubts. Doubts can lead to the conclusion that we know better than God. We decide to ignore what God says, and go with what seems right to us. Bad idea!

The 1st Commandment makes it quite plain: "You shall have no other gods!" We are to fear, love, and trust in him above all things. "Above all things!" That includes our limited understanding. The hymn writer put it this way:

"If you but trust in God to guide you
And place your confidence in him,
He'll give you strength and stand beside you
When days are dreary, dark and dim.
For those who trust his changeless love
Build on the rock that does not move." CW Hymn 444:1)

Thank you to WELS Military Chaplain Paul Ziemer for this week’s devotion.

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.