Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You can trust Him!

You'd think after starting this weeks ago that I would've gotten to His character sooner than now.  Remember, I'm assuming that you and I are on the same page and that we consider the Bible to be the holy, inerrant, infallible word of God - basically it is our source of knowledge as explained to us by the Holy Spirit.  That said, the question of trust is a big one for me.

You'll remember in James 4:15 we're told not to assume anything will happen in the future but we should always add the caveat "if its His will."  You'll also remember from "When Harry met Sally" that Harry was so pessimistic that he would read the last page of the book to make sure he got the ending in before he died.  When I lay my heart out before the Lord, when I ask for those things that are nearest and dearest to me as well as the more mundane requests, I always end my prayer with, "but in the end Lord, Your will be done."  Sounds good, but here's where Harry shows up:  if I'm going to stay away from being a white-washed tomb with a heart far away from Him I need to come clean with my reasoning behind the disclaimer.  I don't trust Him to give me what I want, or He won't give it to me when I want it, or since I know He's going to do what He wants anyway my prayer is a fruitless enterprise that just keeps me strung along while He does His thing.  I have it in my mind that His pursuit of His glory is mutually exclusive with my joy and contentment.  Said another way, His pursuit is not merely for His benefit, but necessarily at my expense.

And at the same time His word calls me to put my trust in Him, that there are things in which I put unmerited trust, that there are benefits to trusting Him.  The majority of my musings come from a stroll through Strong's Concordance looking up trust, trusted, trustedst, trustest, trusteth, trusting, and trusty.  All told there are 11 Hebrew words that are translated "trust" or one of the aforementioned variations, and in Greek there are five.  Before I get to those I also want to see what in the world "trust" means in English so off we go to Merriam-Webster.  The first definition resonates with me, "1 a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something."  Assured reliance speaks of a heart at peace and in full confidence that the person in which the trust is placed will deliver.  It does not, in mind at least, speak of a heart that's worried about the outcome of the trusted's actions.

Even more than the noun definitions do I like the verb descriptions:

1 a : to place confidence : depend b : to be confident : hope
2 : to sell or deliver on credittransitive verb 1 a : to commit or place in one's care or keeping : entrust b : to permit to stay or go or to do something without fear or misgiving
2 a : to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of : believe b : to place confidence in : rely on c : to hope or expect confidently s that the problem will be resolved soon
To place confidence, to depend, to hope, to commit or place in [His] keeping; to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of [Him].  Are any of these actions to be taken towards one who is not trustworthy?  Think about, would you sit in a balsa wood chair?  Would you jump from a plane with a torn parachute? Would you ask a blind person to describe the beauty of the rainbow?  Would you ask your toddler to drive you to the store?  Ridiculous questions I know, but you can see the point.  We make judgment calls on a daily basis about in whom we trust.

So now on to Hebrew and Greek.  I beg each of you to take what I'm getting ready to say with a grain of salt.  By that I mean I'm venturing in languages I've not studied and have only rudimentary knowledge based on what Strong's has said.  I'll offer that I'm prayed up and not intentionally misguiding anyone, but please dig into this for yourselves.  I've got links up on the right that should help you from a resource standpoint.

I'm going to split this up into three sections:  1.  Trust to be placed in, 2. Trust not to be placed in, and 3.  Benefits of trusting.  This greatly reduces the overall number of verses to be studied and takes us from the 16 words for trust down to just five, four Hebrew and one Greek.  For ease of reference I'm going to refer to them by their Strong's number and they are as follows:

982 batach baw-takh' a primitive root; properly, to hie for refuge (but not so precipitately as 2620); figuratively, to trust, be confident or sure:--be bold (confident, secure, sure), careless (one, woman), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust
4009 mibtach mib-tawkh' from 982; properly, a refuge, i.e. (objective) security, or (subjective) assurance:--confidence, hope, sure, trust.
2620 chacah khaw-saw' a primitive root; to flee for protection (Compare 982); figuratively, to confide in:--have hope, make refuge, (put) trust.
4268 machaceh makh-as-eh' or machceh {makh-seh'}; from 2620; a shelter (literally or figuratively):--hope, (place of) refuge, shelter, trust.
1679. elpizo el-pid'-zo from 1680; to expect or confide:--(have, thing) hope(-d) (for), trust.
 As 1679 (the only Greek one we're reviewing) comes from 1680 I include it as well for reference:
1680. elpis el-pece' from a primary elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence:--faith, hope.
A further look at numbers...part one will show only three "things" in which to place our trust, while part two will describe six things we tend towards with our trust, and part three gives us 11 benefits to the proper placement of our trust.  Without even looking at the verses yet it would seem that there are a lot of benefits won by well placed trust, yet I will tend to just about anything other than "the three things" to gain those benefits.  If I have been deceived and believed the lie that the straw is crooked, it would make sense that my efforts to straighten that straw are misplaced and misguided giving me the frustrated pose of perpetually failed.  Said another way, if I've been told that God is not trustworthy I will find those things in which to place my trust which I feel are most likely to give me the assurance, contentment, and joy I seek.

Enough for tonight with the follow exception:

In what should I place my trust?

God's Name - Ps 33:21
God's Word - Ps 119:42
Christ - Matt 12:17-21

What are those things that I tend to place my trust but which are destined to fail?

Weapons - Ps 44:6
Wealth - Ps 49:6,7
Leaders - Ps 146:3
Man - Jer 17:5
Works - Jer 48:7
One's Own Righteousness - Ez 33:13

What are the benefits of trusting in God's Name, Word, and His Son?
Joy, Ps 5:11 - Deliverance, Ps 22:4,5 - Triumph, Ps 25:2,3 - God's Goodness, Ps 31:19 - Mercy, Ps 32:10 - Provision, Ps 37:3,5 - Blessedness, Ps 40:4 - Safety, Ps 56:4,11 - Usefulness, Ps 73:28 - Guidance, Pr 3:5,6 - Inheritance, Isa 57:13.

Dear, Father.  Thank you for taking the time to come and meet with us today.  I pray that nothing I've said has in any way misrepresented You or our Your word.  I ask that your Holy Spirit continue to guide us and reveal Your Word to us.  Take the scales away from our eyes of flesh so that the eyes of faith can see You.  Confirm by Your Spirit that You are trustworthy, that all those benefits after which we seek can only be found in You and not in those false gods in which we place our trust daily.  We love You, Father.  In Jesus' name, amen.


  1. I so appreciate all that you laid out here. There is such a great degree of logic and simplicity in what we strive for in trusting who God is. Basically, assuming I know who God is and trust that what I know about Him is true logically that would translate to trusting in the "outcome of the trusted ones actions" (from above). All of this screams to me my need to pursue the still voice of the Holy Spirit to gently lead me to trust and to soften my heart enough to be willing to move forward toward the heart of God. Praise the Lord that scripture does so clearly outline where we are to put our trust. Yet another great entry Tal!!