The words translated “trust” in the Bible literally mean “a bold, confident, sure security or action based on that security.” Trust is not exactly the same as faith, which is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Rather, trusting is what we do because of the faith we have been given. Trusting is believing in the promises of God in all circumstances, even in those where the evidence seems to be to the contrary. Hebrews 11 talks about faith, which is accepting and believing the truth that God reveals about Himself, supremely in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the practical consequence of faith in God is trust, which we prove by living out our full acceptance of God’s promises day by day. Furthermore, it is by this trust that we are promised peace: “You will keep in peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
The classic verse regarding trust is Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” This verse sums up the Bible’s teaching on trust. First, it is the Lord in whom we are to trust, not ourselves or our plans, and certainly not the world’s wisdom and devices. We trust in the Lord because He and He alone is truly trustworthy. His Word is trustworthy (Psalm 93:5; 111:7; Titus 1:9), His nature is faithful and true (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 25:10; 145:13; 146:6), and His plans for us are perfect and purposeful (Isaiah 46:10; Jeremiah 29:11). Further, because of God’s nature, we are to trust Him with all our hearts, committing every aspect of our lives to Him in complete confidence. Finally, we are not to trust in ourselves because our understanding is temporal, finite, and tainted by our sin natures. Trusting in ourselves is like walking confidently across a rotten wooden bridge over a yawning chasm thousands of feet deep. Disaster inevitably follows.
Trust in God is a feature of many of the psalms of David. There are 39 references to trust in the Psalms alone, whether referring to trusting in God and His Word, or to not trusting in riches or the things of this world. It is on the basis of this trust that David finds deliverance from all the evil he encounters. Many of David’s psalms describe situations when he was pursued by Saul and his army, as well as his other enemies, and always did the Lord come to his aid. One thing that can be noted about biblical trust is that it always engenders further trust in our God. The man of God never stops trusting in God completely. His faith may be knocked, He may stumble, or He may fall into the foulest of sins, but “though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand” (Psalm 37:24). The man of God knows that, though trials will beset in this life, his trust will not waiver because that trust is based on faith in the promises of God: the promise of eternal joy with the Lord and the promise of an inheritance that “can never perish, spoil and fade” (1 Peter 1:4).