If you have been in church for any period of time or been around Christians, it is likely you will be familiar with this verse:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
This is one of the catchphrase verses that all Sunday school kids memorize. It’s a verse I catch myself quoting but not really thinking about or really even applying. I mean, stop and think about it…Trust in the Lord. Easier memorized than done, right? How can we know that we trust God? How can we be sure that, regardless of what life flings at us, our trust in God will remain steadfast? What even is trust!?!? How can we trust in God?
I went through a season last year when I was startled by the fact that I wasn’t confident that I really trusted God with all of my heart. I wasn’t sure that I was confident that God had my best interest in mind. If you have found yourself with similar thoughts or doubts, then this is for you. Today I thought we would tackle the idea of trusting in God and dive into a couple of verses about trust.
What is Trust?
I want to start with the definition of “trust.” I want to do this because I think the way we sometimes use and define “trust” is very shallow compared to the picture that scripture paints of trust. The word “trust” is generally associated with our ability to predict the actions of someone else. We know what they're going to do before they do it, and so they are trustworthy. As soon as they do something that we didn’t expect or something that we wouldn’t have done ourselves, it causes us to call into question their trustworthiness.
Trust goes a bit deeper than that thinking. It’s more than me knowing that you’re going to do what I would do in any given situation. The word used in the Bible for trust means “to go quickly for refuge.” Didn’t see that coming, huh? Me neither. The word used in the Bible for trust has a lot to do with security. The definition goes on to also mean - to trust, and to be confident and sure, but then it says “to be secure.”
See, trust is a very deep thing. It’s a refuge. It’s a person you can run to. It’s a person who is a shelter for you. When you are in trouble or you are running late on a deadline, who can you run to and know that you will find help? You trust this person. Who do you turn to when life gets scary? This is the image of trust I want to move forward with.
When the verse says “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” it sounds so cold and command-like, but what it is literally saying is “run quickly to the Lord to find safety and shelter from pursuit, danger or trouble. You don’t have to figure it out on your own or face it alone. Run to God.”
To Trust Him, You Must Know Him
I mentioned earlier that I went through a season when I was concerned about how deep my trust in the Lord really was. It was during that phase when this verse jumped out at me.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
This verse explains everything for me. How do we trust God? How can we know that He is trustworthy?! The verse says that those who know His name put their trust in Him! To trust someone you have to know them. The word “know” here means to be a familiar friend of or to be learned or to comprehend. So to know God, we have to be familiar with Him. We have to learn of Him and have an understanding of who He is.
How can we do this? How can we know Him? Well, I think the verse goes on to tell us how we can know Him. Those who know His name put their trust in Him.
His Names in Scripture
What does your name mean? Do you even know? My name, Andriana, means “manly.” Thanks, Mom. In biblical days, names were a bigger deal than they tend to be now. Your name usually had a significant meaning. You see that all throughout scripture. Sarah named her child Isaac because God had given her laughter. Jacob got his name because he was a trickster. Later he would grow out of that definition and his name would be changed to Israel, which means “God will prevail,” and the nation that God created out of him would share the same name. All of his children are also great examples of names with meaning.
My point is that names are important in the bible. The word “name” in Psalm 9:10 means “a mark or memorial of individuality; honor, authority, character.” It speaks to the renown of a person. A name was a mark of honor, authority and character. All throughout scripture, as people encountered God and really got a chance to learn of Him, they would assign Him a name. It’s like God let them in on another aspect of His character, and as a result a name would just echo out of the person’s spirit.
In Genesis 22, Abraham is commanded to go and offer his cherished and promised son as a sacrifice. Abraham takes his son, all the while believing that God would do what He promised. God said he would make a nation out of his son, and because God said that, Abraham's faith and trust in God did not waver. He is willing to trust God because he knows Him. God then provided another sacrifice. Abraham called the place Jehovah-Jireh, meaning “the Lord will provide.”
In Genesis 16, Hagar runs away and finds herself in a hopeless place. The Lord meets her there and tells her that she will have a son and that she will name him Ishmael because God had heard her. Ishmael means “God will hear.” She then calls God El-Roi, meaning “the God who sees me.”
In Exodus 15, God himself tells the Israelites in the wilderness that He is Jehovah-Rapha, which means “He is the God who heals”!
In Exodus 17, after winning a difficult battle, Moses calls the place where the Israelites won (through the help of the Lord) Jehovah-Nissi, meaning “the Lord is my banner” or “my well-known victory.”
There are tons more names for God throughout scripture. These names point to who He is. Knowing who He is, is how we come to trust in Him.
What is Your History With Him?
All these stories and people throughout scripture knew who God was because they were building a history with Him. What is your history with God? This is important to think back on often. Revelation 12:11 says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. What is your testimony? What has God done for you? Thinking and remembering the things He’s done for you will strengthen your trust in Him. Then when doubts come and circumstances try to distract you, you aren’t shaken because you have a safe place to run.
When I got saved, I was able to look back at my life and see the grace and mercy of God stamped across my entire history. Since I’ve been a Christian, He has brought me through trial after trial. He has healed me countless times. He has restored me and revived me. He loves me through all my faults and failures. He just keeps loving. This is my history with God.
Do you know Him? Maybe a relationship with God is new to you, so you don’t know Him all that well because you haven’t had time to build that history with Him. That is okay, but now is when you start building that foundation of truths. Now is when you dig into scripture and see what others have said of Him. You look up those names of God and where they are in the Bible and you absorb those stories that testify to who God the Father is. You go and dive into the book of John and see who Jesus is.
But if you’ve been at it for a minute, you have a history with Him. What has He done for you? Do you know Him as Jehovah-Jireh? Has he provided for you in some way before? Has he made a way for you when there seemed to be no way? Do you know Him as El-Roi? Has He showed up at just the right time and shown you that He sees you? Has His Word in scripture come alive to you and jumped off the page and set a fire in your soul that gave you the comfort and affirmation you needed in that moment to keep going? Do you know Him as Jehovah-Rapha? Do you know that by the stripes of Christ you were healed? Do you know Him as Jehovah-Nissi? Have you won through Him in obstacles that you on your own were not prepared to overcome?
What is your history with Him? What names does your life speak of Him? Father. Friend. Counselor. Adversary. Healer. Comforter. Life. Make your own list. This is how trust is grown and strengthened. It’s through truth that we trust. What do you know to be true of God?
Why Does This Even Matter?
This matters because of what we discovered the word “trust” means. It’s our place to run to. God is trustworthy. He wants us to run to Him. In this life we need somewhere to run to. A theme verse for Mike’s and my house is Isaiah 26:3, which says,
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
There is a perfect peace that comes when we place our trust in God. There is peace in knowing that we are secure in Him and that no matter what threatens us, we can run to Him and find shelter and safety. We can run to Him and trust Him because His word is true and it boasts of His love and His kindness. We can trust Him because our history with Him confirms what His word says of Him.
He is trustworthy. No matter what happens. He is worthy of our trust.
Thank you guys for taking the time to read this. I hope you found it helpful and encouraging. If you did I hope you will share it with your friends so that we can keep the love going! Make sure you are subscribed to our VIP club to receive more inspiration and encouragement like this straight to your inbox!