Proverbs 3:5 imparts wisdom to its readers: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” There is a big difference between trusting in the Lord and trusting other persons or things. Our trust is not in angels or people or rituals or methodologies but in the Lord alone. And, as the writer of the proverb points out, our trust is not in our own understanding.
To trust in the Lord with all our heart, we must wholly rely upon God’s promises, wisdom, power, and love to help us in every circumstance. Human understanding is subject to error. God, on the other hand, sees and understands all. He is the One we can lean on and trust. We should trust the Lord with all our heart because human understanding is tainted by sin, limited wisdom, impulsive assumptions, and faulty emotions. We are not always right. Proverbs 14:12 reminds us of this: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (emphasis added). Sin taints our understanding and leads us to destruction (Ephesians 4:17–18). “Our knowledge is partial and incomplete” (1 Corinthians 13:9, NLT). Should we base our understanding on what is partial, sinful, or destructive? Or should we trust in the God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, loving, and has good plans to guide, satisfy, and establish us (see Isaiah 58:11)?
God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and His decisions are never capricious or evil. Psalm 92:15 tells us, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” God is not evil and will not lead us to destruction. Instead, He leads us into paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3). He never lies (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18), and He is faithful to keep His promises (Psalm 89:34). God’s plans are perfect, holy, and righteous, and He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God is worthy of our trust.
Trusting in the Lord begins by believing in Jesus for salvation. When we trust in Him, we acknowledge that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We then get to know God more as we spend time in prayer and Bible study. The more we know God, the more we will love Him. The more we love Him, the more we will trust in Him alone—with all our hearts—for wisdom, for decisions, for everything.
Jeremiah 17:7–8 describes the benefits that come to the person who trusts the Lord with all his heart: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Those who trust in the Lord have hope and need not fear difficulty or calamity. They know who is in control of their lives and that He is fully good and true. Proverbs 3:5 is a wise instruction that ends in a promise: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” What a wonderful thing to trust in God with all your heart and to have Him direct your paths!