Read Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 73:23-28
Last week, we began to look at how we can live in a way that honors God, even as we wait to see how His plan will unfold in our lives in answer to our prayers. We looked at Proverbs 3:5 concerning giving our requests to God and leaving them with Him, without trying to figure out the best way for Him to work. These are challenges for us, at least they are for me. We are accustomed to grabbing hold of the reins and taking charge of situations. Yet, the Lord often places us in circumstances that require that we rest in His provision and timing, instead of our own intervention. Rather than presenting us with His long-term plan for our lives, he tells us to walk with Him one day at a time, Matthew 6:34.
Proverbs 3:6-In all of my ways, I am to acknowledge Him. Maybe it is just me, but I don't frequently use the word acknowledge; so, I looked it up. Some synonyms are to value, respect or appreciate. That paints a picture for me. While I watch to see how His plan unfolds in answer to my prayer, I am not to be passive. Instead, I am to live in a way that reveals that I value and appreciate the One Who is listening to my prayers. That means that we who are trusting Him will want to grow in our understanding concerning what pleases Him, Ephesians 5:8-10, not to get our desired answer to prayer, but to show how much our Savior means to us. Perhaps some biblical examples will help here:
1. Joseph-Genesis 39:1-12. The way a man lives when he is far from his family and friends says a great deal about him. Not only was Joseph in a different world from the one in which he was raised, he was there in Egypt because of the betrayal of his own brothers, Genesis 37:18-28. God had given him dreams, Genesis 37:5-11, but the circumstances Joseph encountered surely were much different than his dreams of being honored. Even so, Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him, Genesis 39:2. His master saw this and trusted Joseph with his goods, Genesis 39:3-7. So, this young man was dealing with both unexpected difficulty and unexpected honor when seduction came into his life. Why was Joseph able to walk in a pure manner? The answer is given in the passage. This young man wanted to live in a way that showed that he respected his God. To commit adultery would have been a great sin against Him, Genesis 39:9. It wasn't because the law required the adulterer to be stoned. Joseph lived prior to Moses' receiving the law. Joseph's actions sprang from his relationship with God.
2. David-1 Samuel 25:2-35. When we read this passage concerning David, the king-elect, it has been many years since that long-ago day when Samuel had anointed him. Though David was the last among his brothers to be considered, God had made it clear that he was the one who would sit on the throne, 1 Samuel 16:1-13. He was waiting for God's timing to be realized. Meanwhile, he was fleeing from Saul, often living off the land. In 1 Samuel 25 David was simply asking for what was due him and his men. They had faithfully protected and cared for Nabal's sheep. What should have been given to David and his men was a no-brainer. Instead, the foolish unwarranted reaction of Nabal enraged David, and he was ready to take matters into his own hands. His actions wouldn't have displayed honor to His God. Enter Abigail. A woman with two precious commodities. Food and God's truth. What would David do? Continue on the path he had chosen or listen to what God had to say? He listened to God's truth. He was reminded by Abigail that God would surely fulfill His promise to make him King and that it was important to live in a way that was upright and holy. David acknowledged God above his raw emotions and let go of his rage.
3. Us-1 Peter 2:1-3. We can acknowledge God by valuing what He reveals in His word, and this passage in 1 Peter reminds us how to receive His truth:
Long for it. Whether it is a promise, a command or an attribute of God, the Lord wants us to be nourished and built up by His truth. As we make what we learn a part of our lives, our days will be enriched and God will be glorified, even while we wait to see how God will answer our prayers.
Beware of blockages to receiving God's truth. Like David, sometimes God's Word comes to us when we have wrong or sinful attitudes. We need to get rid of those and let truth replace the lies so we can grow. That requires humility and repentance so we can turn from what isn't pleasing to the Lord and choose His way. What happens as a result of trusting God, not leaning on our own understanding and acknowledging Him?
Proverbs 3:6. He will direct my path. In our passage from Psalm 73:23-28, we see this same truth unveiled in all of its beauty. In the early part of the psalm, we learn about the distress of the author, Asaph. His heart was embittered as he looked around at the prosperity he observed in the lives of the wicked. He was not trusting the Lord. He was leaning on his own understanding, and his focus was not on valuing what God valued. However, everything looked different to Asaph when God's truth nourished him, changing his perspective. Though his circumstances hadn't changed, the psalm ends with the reminder that God would be continually with him. The Lord was his Refuge. The Lord was the One Who would bring him safely into His presence. God would guide him now and forevermore, Psalm 73:23-24. Now that is a promise that is worth the wait, one that each of us who belong to Jesus can claim.