Our time in the mountains reminded me of a story about a man named Jack who was walking along a steep cliff one day. He accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon dropped straight down for more than a thousand feet.
He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff. So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear and rescue him.
“HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there?”
He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice. “Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?”
“Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!”
“I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?”
“Yes, but who are you, and where are you?”
“I am the Lord, Jack. I’m everywhere.”
“The Lord? You mean, GOD?”
“I’ll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do.”
“Okay. Let go of the branch.”
“I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go.”
There was a long silence.
Finally Jack yelled, “IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?”
Ok. I know. This is an old, old joke. But it speaks to some important issues relating to our passage this week.
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.
There are 5 important points to learn from the wise man.
(1) Trust God.
We live in a world where there is a lack of trust. Many people don’t trust politicians. Big corporations. Or even preachers and churches. A recent AP poll indicated that there is a general lack of trust among Americans for each other. Nearly 2/3 say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with other people.
Trust has to do with confidence. Conviction. And assurance. When we trust someone we believe in their integrity, rely on their word, and live in hope of their promises.
The famous preacher Dwight L. Moody once said, “Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment. Trust in your friends and they will die and leave you. Trust in money and you may have it taken from you. Trust in your reputation and some slanderous tongue may blast it. But trust in God and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity.”
(2) Give God your whole heart.
The Bible uses the word heart to refer to the entirety of a person. It involves our feelings and emotions. But it is more. It is our will. Our intellect. Our conscience.
Jesus said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37).
“All of your heart” means in totality. Your whole life. Your entire purpose and reason for living is wrapped up in Him.
We understand this commitment, when we take our marriage vows, when we say, “forsaking all others…” That means our whole heart! That’s what God desires.
(3) Give up your human wisdom.
Trusting God with your whole heart finally says, “You’re not smart enough to do this on your own.” Human knowledge is limited. Worldly wisdom is often flawed. Fleshly feelings can be deceptive.
Without God we lack eternal perspective. Our view is dim. And our insight is confined by our narrow range of experience.
May we say with the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” (Isa. 12:2)
(4) Acknowledge God.
Recognize the power of God. Admit the supremacy the God. Defer to the wisdom of God. Receive the goodness of God. Submit to the authority of God. Experience the love of God. And accept the answers of God.
How? In all of your ways. Everyday. In every way.
(5) Follow God’s Path.
Ultimately our trust in God, our acceptance of Him, and our heart-felt commitment will lead us to follow His voice, not ours.
In the words of the song writer, Ernest W. Blandy, “Where He leads me, I will follow. I will go with Him, with Him, all the way.”
Or in the words of author Albert Cliffe, “Let go, and let God!”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman