Have you ever felt lost in your life, not knowing who or where to turn to for guidance? Think of someone at a fork in the road trying to decide whether to go left or right. Both paths are similar, but only one leads to place that you need to go. The person faced with the choice wouldn’t randomly choose a path to go down, hoping that they made the right decision; they would look at a map to see which path was the right one. This is how it should be with God. If we look to him for advice with everything we do, the right path will be chosen and we get to where we need to go.
Proverbs 3:5-8 reads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.” This verse helps guide us when we are lost, explaining what we need to do to live a life according to God rather than ourselves. Because such a verse is crucial in our walk with Christ, it is important that we understand it. In order to better understand this verse, I have written a summary of the main idea found in them. In Proverbs 3:5-8, Solomon advises his son to solely rely upon the greater understanding of God, as opposed to human’s lesser understanding of life, because such fear and reverence of the Lord will make him healthier, which, in turn, will result in a directed and purposeful life.
In Proverbs 3:5, the figurative language of “trust in the Lord with all your heart” implies to the reader that they must fully rely on God, even in a time where other ideologies, specifically their own, seems better in their own heart.
- Similar to Proverbs 3:5, Proverbs 4:23 advises its readers to guard their heart above all else, because everything one does flows from it. This suggests that the heart is the lens through which people view the world, and the way people see the world influences how they act. Solomon advices his son to trust God with all of his heart because when he does so, God will be the lens through which he views the world, ultimately leading to a desired dependence of God.
- “Trusting in the Lord with all our heart” means that there is a full commitment of ourselves, the soul and the body, to the Lord. We must trust Him not only for the salvation of our souls, but also for direction in our lives.
- Simply put, either you trust in the Lord or you depend upon your own limited wisdom. You don’t depend on your own wisdom. Therefore, you put your trust in the Lord’s greater wisdom.
In Proverbs 3:7, Solomon warns his reader to not boast in their own wisdom and discernment regarding how to live a directed and purposeful life. Solomon, instead, advises his readers to use their discernment to turn away from what is wrong, out of fear, which is synonymous to reverence and obedience, of the Lord.
- Many commentaries explaining or simplifying the Bible parallel with the conclusion we have reached. Believer’s Bible Commentary, written by William MacDonald, states that, “Conceit [in our own abilities and wisdom] puts us on ‘hold’ as far as [God’s] divine guidance [and wisdom] is concerned.” Therefore, when we truly fear the Lord, we will naturally depart from evil. When this occurs, it means that we simply dismiss or give less importance to all systems of trust or wisdom in our lives that are not God.
- Simply put, when you are wise in your own eyes, you refuse to fear the Lord. When you refuse to fear the Lord, you will not readily reproach evil. Therefore, you will not readily reproach evil, when you are wise in your own eyes.
Proverbs 3:8 says that healing for the body and strength for the bones results from the fear, or reverence, of God. The healing mentioned symbolizes physical health and the strength for the bones symbolizes both youth and stability.
- To heal something or someone is to cause it to become healthy or sound again. Therefore, when Solomon says that the reverence of God induces healing, he is implying that there is something to heal. Personal experience can testify that doing something the “hard way” can be physically draining. Solomon is calling his readers to fear and rely on God, which will make their day-to-day actions easier. By doing so, their physical strength will improve.
- Science has proven that the bones making our skeleton are the very structure and framework of a person. They provide a person with stability. The body is significantly weakened whenever harm comes to its bones. Therefore, when Solomon promised his son “strength for your bones” whenever he fears the Lord, he is promising him stability and strength. The most natural way for bones to come to harm is through use; this is why the bones of the elderly are weaker. By promising strength for the bones, Solomon is telling his son that God can and will preserve his youth so that he will have a stable, strong, and long life.
- Believer’s Bible Commentary, written by William MacDonald, states that, “It has been estimated that fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, hatred, guilt, and other emotional stresses account for over 60% of our illnesses.” The important similarity between all of the previously listed things is the fact that they all contribute to the hardships experienced in life. When one fears the Lord, God revokes these emotions felt or the negative impacts they can have on a person’s life. By removing these things, God would also be eliminating a number of illnesses and increasing physical health, which is part of what the bones symbolizes.
- Simply put, if you show reverence towards the Lord by turning away from evil, then God will give you strength and youth. A man fears the Lord and turns away from evil. Therefore, the Lord has provided him with strength and youth.
In a nutshell, Proverbs 3:5-8 is fatherly advice, which was written by the wise king, Solomon. In verses 5 and 6, Solomon advices his son to solely rely upon the greater understanding of God, as opposed to man’s lesser understanding of life. In verses 7 and 8, Solomon explains that his son should follow the advice in verses 5 and 6, because such fear and reverence of the Lord will make him healthier, which, in turn, will result in a directed and purposeful life. After breaking down this verse and thoroughly explaining the meaning behind each verse, I hope to have given each of you a reference to look back at, in order to guide you, not only through rough times in your life, but also to help you in your day-to-day routine.