(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
“Do you know why the children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in biblical times, men wouldn’t ask for directions.”
They say men don’t like to ask for directions. I did some research as to why this might be. On the website psychcentral.com I found this explanation:
Why can’t men ask for directions when they are lost?…Men prefer to learn by doing, not by being told what to do….Hence, if a man is lost, asking for directions is like admitting defeat. He had to ask for assistance. He couldn’t figure it out for himself. How humiliating!
While women are more open to help and assistance, men trust their own understanding! Yet Proverbs 3:6 and 7 admonish us – men, as well as women – in this way: “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.” Let’s take this Scripture in its parts, starting with the middle:
- Verse 7 – “…lean not on your own understanding….” Why is that? Perhaps because we might say to ourselves, “I think I understand things pretty well. So I can rely on my own directions in life.” Yes, that kind of thinking is quite common! But we are called to a different way, the way of the Lord Jesus Christ! The early New Testament believers in Jesus as their Messiah identified themselves, not as Christians, but as followers of the Way! Why is the way of the Lord Jesus different from our way?
✞ Our way is bent in every way by sin! And sin comes originally from the angel Lucifer’s rebellion against the Most High God! Isaiah 14:12 through 14 is the record of his thinking that led to that rebellion:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [meaning ‘shining star’], son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congre- gation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
✞ Since the temptation and fall of our first parents, sin has been passed unto (into) every human being! (See Romans 5:12). And, as Lucifer thought of him- self as higher than God, so we act as if we are God when we make our own decisions apart from His lead- ing!
✞ We are told, “…lean not on your own understanding….” Other versions of the Bible can give us more insight:
✓ “...not looking to your reason for support.” (Bible in Basic English).
✓ “...you must trust...not your own judgment.”
(Contemporary English Version).
✓ “...lean not upon thy own prudence.”
✓ “...don't depend on your own knowledge.”
✓ “Never rely on what you think you know.”
(Good News Bible).
✞ God, in Isaiah 29:14 and 16 (Good News Bible) tells us, “Those who are wise will turn out to be fools, and all their cleverness will be useless….They turn everything upside down.” How can a person have proper understand- ing when, apart from God and because of sin, everything is perceived upside down? What, then, is right side up?
Right side up is putting God first! James said it this way in chapter 4, verses 13 through 16:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
And so our minds, our hearts, our whole selves must be pushed from upside down to right side up! This is the job of the Holy Spirit within each Christian…if we let Him do the work of building Christ’s character in our lives!
Yes, we are called to a different way, a right side up way, an if the Lord wills way! Jesus modeled that very thing in Luke 22:42. He was about to be crucified and suffer the most ignoble and painful death imaginable! And even more painful to His holy nature, all our sins would be piled upon His sinless self! Jesus became the sinner before God, and the Father poured out His wrath upon sinners and their sins embodied in the person of His Son! He experienced Hell in our place! And the night before in the Garden of Gethsemane, He struggled to the point of sweating blood! Why? Because in His humanity He didn’t want to do it! Jesus prayed, “…saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup [all the sufferimg] from Me, nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ ”
But too often we turn it around. Instead of saying, “…not my will, but Yours, be done…,” we say in one way or another, “…not YOUR will, but MINE be done!” This is putting ones self in the place of God Almighty! And this is blatant idolatry!
So we must “…lean not on…our own understanding…” as we follow Jesus!