God’s Word and Trusting Him
How many times have you heard someone say, “Trust God?” Trusting God is a consistent theme in the Psalms, and the Bible, for that matter. We are constantly admonished to trust God when trouble comes. Some people say they trust God, but deep in their hearts, worry is the dominant state. They want to trust God, but they must be honest with themselves and admit they are having trouble doing that.
I am reminded of the movie “The Polar Express,” where the main character (Chris) wanted to believe in Santa Claus, but too much evidence indicates he doesn’t exist. In other words, he wanted to believe, but he had lots of doubts. We find ourselves in the same state of mind and heart regarding trusting God.
In this lesson, I will discuss trusting God and His trustworthiness. I hope you will learn how to gain more confidence in God to trust Him in all aspects of your life. God wants to help us, and He has done so much to provide for us. We, in many cases, simply do not know how to access His provisions. We haven’t learned to trust Him.
Once we learn that God can be trusted and gain confidence in Him, we can begin to live our lives depending on God all the time and in all situations. The goal is to trust God and not worry about a thing!
I encourage you to read Psalm 119 in its entirety.
The first step to trusting God is to know Him. There are two primary ways that we can know God: Through His creation and His word. We can also know God experientially as we abide by His word.
The revelation of God through His creation is known as general revelation. Every person has a general revelation of God through nature, astronomy, cosmology, etc.
The revelation of God through His word is called special revelation. We read the Bible and learn about God, His kingdom, His ways, etc.
We then experience what we know of God by incorporating what we learn about Him into our lives. That experience is the fuel for trusting Him even more later.
Knowing God Through His Creation
General revelation is when we discover some of God’s attributes from the things He created around us. Astronomy reveals the incredible intelligence God must have to make all that we see in the sky. The structure of nature is another source of God’s glory.
Psalm 19:1–4 (NRSV) — The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
We can see the magnificence of God through His creation. For example, thinking of the vastness of the universe gives us a straining idea of powerful and intelligent God must be. We also can witness his splendor by viewing the acts of His creation, such as a beautiful sunset, a picturesque landscape, etc.
Romans 1:20 (NRSV) — Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;
Paul says that the creation reveals the power and divine nature of God. Divine nature in the sense that he is beyond the creation.
I should point out that general revelation does not lead us to salvation or allow us to know God intimately. We can learn about God through His creation, which can lead to the credibility of the Bible, which contains His word.
Knowing God Through His Word
Most importantly, we must know God through His word, which means we must read the Bible. We cannot have reliable confidence in God if we don’t know where to put that trust. We learn God’s ways from the Bible. We also understand what He wants from us, how He wants us to behave, etc.
Understand that even knowing God through His word does not necessarily establish a personal and intimate relationship with Him. Instead, we directly learn more about Him, i.e., He reveals Himself through His word.
Psalm 119:81–83 (NRSV) — My soul languishes for your salvation; I hope in your word. My eyes fail with watching for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
Here the psalmist expresses his troubles and doubts but yet does not forsake God. He continues to hope in God’s word, and he has not neglected (forgotten) them.
Psalm 1:1–3 (NRSV) — Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
We discussed the above passage in lesson one of this series. Delight yourself in God’s word and meditate on it consistently.
- What priority do you give the word of God, and how is it evident in your life?
- What do you do regularly to get to know God better?
- What have you learned about God through nature, astronomy, cosmology, etc.?
- How do you think general revelation gives some credibility to the Bible?
The Importance of God’s Word
Psalm 119:1–3 (NRSV) — Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Happy are those who keep his decrees, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.
The word “happy” in the Scripture passage above could also be rendered as “blessed.” You are blessed when you pursue and live by the Word of God. Righteousness seems to be closely related to knowing and doing God’s word (See Matthew 7:24-27).
See also Ps 128:1-2, Ps 84:12.
Psalm 119:9 (NRSV) — How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
This passage is profound. A young person can keep their way pure by guarding their way by living by the Word of God. That makes sense when you think about it. If you pursue God’s word and actively incorporate it into your life, then you will live a righteous life. Also, consider that Jesus Christ is the Word and the Bible leads us to Him. We are commanded to believe in Jesus Christ and live by the Spirit of God. Therefore, knowing the Word, aligning yourself with Jesus by believing in him for salvation, and living by the Word of God is the life God intends for us.
Psalm 119:49–50 (NRSV) — Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life.
The revelation of this passage is critical. How can you have confidence in or live by the Word of God if you don’t know it? Therefore, knowing the Word of God will provide a beacon of hope when you are in trouble. You can stand on it and know God will do what He promised.
Psalm 119:176 (NRSV) — I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek out your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.
We are not perfect. Doubts sometimes creep into our hearts and mind when we stand on God’s Word. Just like Peter, who walked on water for a little while before doubting, we too may be confident one moment and doubtful the next. We can be honest with ourselves and God and admit that we have gone astray in those situations. God will never leave you, so He will always be there to help you get back on track.
Life in the Word of God
- Deuteronomy 8:3 (NRSV) — He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
- Matthew 4:4 (NRSV) — But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
God specifically taught the Hebrews that they must live by the word of God (His instructions, guidelines, etc.) in addition to food. We feed our bodies with food and our minds with knowledge. However, we tend to neglect the spiritual part of our being. For example, we will spend much time learning to eat right, trying different diets and exercise routines, and more to nurture our bodies. However, we tend to neglect to consume the life that is in the word of God.
The word of God has more than academic value. In other words, we read the word of God not just for knowledge’s sake but for life.
- Would you survive if you fed yourself the Word of God the way you feed yourself food for the body?
- What can you do to feed on the Word of God more?
- How can you gain more from your personal Bible studies?
- What is the difference between studying the Bible academically to know God and studying the Bible to hear from God?
You are familiar with God from reading the Bible. You know more about how He wants you to behave, what lifestyle to follow, and much more. It’s like you went to school, and now you have graduated to practice what you have learned. You must trust God to practice what you have learned from His word. That means that you have to trust Him. First, you trust that what you learned is accurate, and then you act on what the word of God says.
- Psalm 20:7 (NRSV) —Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
- Psalm 146:3 (NRSV) — Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
- Psalm 125:1 (NRSV) — Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
- Psalm 118:8 (NRSV) — It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in mortals.
The Scope of Trust
Consider the following passage, which was a significant revelation for me. It also launched a long pursuit to understand the scope of what it means to trust God.
Jeremiah 17:5 (NRSV) — Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord.
It is not merely a good thing to do to trust God. As we learn more about God from His Word, we understand that He wants us to trust Him. There are blessings to be had when we trust God. As the passage above tells us, it is a curse to trust others instead of God, i.e., turn your heart away from God.
I was taken aback when I first read Jeremiah 17:5. Does that mean that we should not go to doctors when we are sick? After all, you should trust the doctor that operates on you or manages your health. The key to this verse is the last part, namely, Going to the doctor for health issues is no different from going to a mechanic for car issues or a financial advisor for financial matters.
Trusting God does not mean ostracizing everyone else. Trusting God is independent of relying on others to help. If trusting God meant isolating ourselves, then we could never receive help from others and would, therefore, need to wait for a miracle every time we needed something.
The Bible teaches us to use the counsel of others (the godly). Therefore, other people will provide help. The thing that I learned was God sent those people. Time and time again, we read about people that God sent to help others. Below are some examples.
- Elisha and the widow’s oil – 2 Kings 4:1-7
- Elisha and the Shunammite Woman’s son – 2 Kings 4:8-37
- Moses – The Hebrews trusted Moses to lead them out of Egypt because they believed that God sent Him.
- Samuel – Samuel was a great prophet and judge. If trusting God meant indifference to others, then Samuel or any other prophet would not have been needed.
The point I’m attempting to make is that God uses people to carry out His will and help people. Therefore, trusting God means that we will rely on others too. However, we realize that God is ultimately where our trust lies behind the deliverance, salvation, provision, or whatever.
So, when we pray to God for something, we may find that people will come to our rescue. Those people are vessels or resources that God uses to help us.
Consider the following passage of Scripture, which is one of my favorite passages.
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NRSV) — Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Genuine trust is in one’s heart. We can easily convince ourselves of something intellectually or logically, i.e., in our heads. However, we live by what is in our hearts (See Matthew 6:21, 12:33-35). Sometimes trusting God transcends our understanding. In most cases, however, trusting God is contrary to the negative outcome we have developed in our minds, i.e., it is contrary to worrying about the situation.
- How often have you put your trust in others without genuinely seeking God’s counsel?
- How often have you put your trust in others without genuinely seeking God’s counsel?
- How do you reconcile genuinely trusting God and at the same time relying on others for help?
We need to know God, and not just academically. We must build an intimate and personal relationship with Him so that our knowledge of Him goes beyond book knowledge. We can see some of the attributes of God through His creation. We can learn a lot about God through His Word.
Knowing the Word of God, i.e., the Bible is not enough. We must live it. We build more trust in God when we live according to His Word and, therefore, gain more experience with Him. That experience leads to more confidence later, and so on.
Pursue God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, through Bible study, fellowship, prayer, and practicing what you have learned. Learn to trust God by acknowledging Him in all areas of your life and treating Him as if He is with you all the time to help you—He is.