I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
The two verses in today’s reading are part of a father’s wise teaching to a child. The phrase “my child” appears three times in Proverbs 3 (vss. 1, 11, 21). If the youth follows this wisdom, they will keep out of trouble and succeed in a good long life. These verses are often committed to memory because they call us to trust in God with all our hearts and not rely solely on our own insight.
“Trust” is the translation of the Hebrew word batah, which means to have the sense of security which comes from being able to rely on and have confidence in someone. It is the Lord whom we trust. “Rely” comes from a verb that means to lean on something or someone for support; related nouns denote “support” or “staff.” “Insight” (more often translated as “understanding”) is usually a positive word in Proverbs, but here it means one’s own limited knowledge or wisdom rather than God’s (see Proverbs 14:12). “Ways” (v. 6a) is from a common Hebrew noun (derek) which often means “road” or “path.” A frequent metaphor in both OT and NT is to use “road” or “way” to mean the way of life we follow; in the book of Acts (as in 9:2; 18:25-26; 24:22), “the Way” was a vivid expression for what we might prosaically call “Christianity”; it’s the path of those who follow Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). As we acknowledge God, God makes straight our paths (Proverbs 3:6b). The same verb for “to make straight” appears in Isaiah 40:3b: “[M]ake straight in the desert a highway for our God” (and see Mark 1:1-4). (HomileticsOnline, Commentary on Proverbs 3)
In his book The Second Half (Zondervan, 1994), Bob Buford tells of the drowning of his investment banker son Ross in the Rio Grande River. After 41 trackers searched for him, and Buford himself hired airplanes, helicopters, boats, trackers with dogs (“everything that money could buy”), Buford walked along a limestone bluff 200 feet above the river, “as frightened as I’ve ever felt.”
“Here’s something you can’t dream your way out of,” I told myself. “Here’s something you can’t think your way out of. Here’s something you can’t buy your way out of. Here’s something you can’t work your way out of ….”
“This is,” Buford thought to himself while walking that river bluff, “something you can only trust your way out of.”
Faith means much more than assent to a set of beliefs. At its heart, faith is synonymous with trust. To have faith in God is to “trust in the Lord with all our hearts.” Perhaps this is time in your life when you’re facing something over which you have no control. The words of Proverbs are for you today: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision,”
Ancient Irish; translated by Mary E Byrne (1905); versed by Eleanor H. Hill (1912)
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
Born of thy love, thy child may I be,
thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.
Be thou my buckler, my sword for the fight.
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tow’r.
Raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise;
thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
Ruler of heaven, my treasure thou art.
True Light of heaven, when vict’ry is won
may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster