Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Blessings are regarded as means of happiness. A blessing is divine when it is appropriated to God. Critical study of scriptures will reveal that God promised alot of blessings to believers in Christ and many Christians mount up faith to claim the blessings. However, blessings don’t stand alone. They stand with Principles. It is definitely futile to seek blessings without observing the Principles. Our faith should be anchored upon our fulfilment of the basic Principle that is required to obtain such blessing. The first ten verses of Proverbs chapter three highlight some divine blessings and the principles that stands as catalyst to synthesize them. We shall examine the foundation of these principles, then focus on the principles and blessings that follows thereafter.
The basic foundation of the Principles is trust in the LORD as noted in verse5. It is not possible to trust is someone or something that you do not have knowledge of. Therefore, a good knowledge of the LORD is required as a starting point in seeking for the blessings. The LORD in this passage represents Yehôvâh according to the Hebrew. This means the reference is to Jehovah (Yahweh) who is “the existing one”. He is self Existing or eternal. The old testament acknowledge Yahweh as the God of the Hebrew Nation. Of course His superiority can not be compared with the gods of other nations. His all powerfulness and all knowledgeable is demonstrated in the scriptures. To show that He is not limited by time, such power and knowledge is still being demonstrated in this present time. When the writer of Proverbs state categorically that you must trust in Yahweh with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, he is drawing your attention to His Power and Knowledge. Trust as used in verse5 is translated from the Hebrew bâṭach and it demands complete confidence and boldness, to stand secure in Him whom you have placed your trust. Our understanding is very limited and therefore cannot support us. It is Paramount to at this point examine yourself to realise if you really know this God enough, have you really demonstrated complete trust in Him and how much of your limited understanding has controlled your life before now?
You cannot trust God base on someone else’s knowledge, you must have a personal knowledge, hence you need to develop a personal relationship with God to be able to trust Him completely. If you don’t know God for yourself, at a point doubt may come in and it become easy to give in to deceit from either friends or false teachers. The inclination to run back to your limited understanding of life will be high. To explain this further, life may be enjoyable at some point with all things going well. Job experienced that in the earlier part of his life. At that point it is easy to shout hallelujah and praise God in Church. But then can you still trust in God when the burdens of the storm of life come your way? Some bacteria and protist form spores during harsh weather conditions. They form a tick, resistance particle to be able to survive harsh and unfavorable conditions. When life is harsh, can you still trust God when He demand that you move out of your fame and pride to go into a process of “sporolation” so as to spend time in fasting, praying and other religious activities to build up your faith so you can come out stronger and better suited to face the challenge with divine wisdom obtained from your secret place of meeting with God. Some will ignore God, depend on their limited understanding and let the situation crash them down, loss of faith and backsliding becomes the order of the day. Little wonder when Prophet Hosea says God’s people perish for lack of knowledge. One can correctly say it is impossible to trust God without knowing Him. I believe this should serve as a positive catalyst to make you crave to have a divine encounter with God that will impact you with His knowledge. Every believer in Christ should grow daily in the knowledge of God then your trust in Him will be unshakable.
1. Obtaining the blessing of long life and peace (vs1&2) : Certainly everyone want to live long. If you ever had an encounter with a dying man you will realise that giving up life is a painful thing, there is always that struggle to stay alive. But Jesus gave up his life willingly knowing that in doing so, a greater purpose will be fulfilled for the love of humanity. The simple key to the blessing of long life and peace is the Principle of keeping in mind God’s teaching always. Here you can recollect Hosea4:6, God’s people being destroyed for scarcity of knowledge. Proverbs 3 is presented as advise given to a son by his father. The father can ascribe huge importance to his laws and teachings, one can not think or talk less of God’s laws and teachings. The Hebrew word tôrâh is used here translated as law. The law represent God’s directions, instructions and principles. God’s intention is long life for all generation but generational sin made God reduce it. Man’s inclination was always drawn towards sin and to keep indulging in sin for a very long time when God is working on a rescue plan will be counter productive. Long life is for those who will be willing to practice the Principle of keeping God’s teaching and instructions in mind and practicing it obediently. Bear in mind that Jesus summarized the law with love for God and fellow humans. Recall also that Jesus is named “the Prince of Peace”. If you can therefore study God’s words, open your heart to hear Him talk to you, keep the teaching in your heart, practice love sincerely, you have nothing to fear about dying without fulfilling God’s purpose. The blessing of long life and peace will be yours.
2. Obtaining the blessing of divine favour and good understanding (vs3&4) : favour is obtained from the Hebrew “chên”. This word stand also for grace, elegance, charm and acceptance. The world system is full of injustice and unfairness. People who by virtue of their endowment and qualifications should obtained something but due to competition, they become unfavoured. An ecosystem is made up of organisms that survives the battle for survival of the fittest, but the world system as it is has become unbalanced because the fittest is no more favoured why the unfit handles critical positions. To get your rightful place in life, one need divine favour. Such favour that can alter the permutations of man, favour that is accompanied with charm and elegance that will give you your rightful acceptability. The simple Principle for obtaining this is to practice mercy and truthfulness. Another product of this Principle is good understanding. This is having insight and good sense. God gave Solomon the opportunity to make a choice of anything and he went for wisdom, a demonstration of insight and good sense. You have the ability to see beyond surfaces when making choices, it becomes almost impossible for you to be deceived. The key is the practice of mercy and truthfulness.
Other synonyms of mercy as obtained from the Hebrew “chêsêd” are goodness, kindness and faithfulness. This also require piety towards God. Truthfulness require you being reliable not just because few people think you are reliable but you sincerely are reliable. The instruction is to bind mercy and truth round your neck and write them on the table of your heart, every instance be ready to show mercy, speak the truth and never forget them. The implication of this is that you must be an individual of integrity to obtain the blessings of divine favour and good understanding.
3. Obtaining the blessing of divine direction (vs6) : what a privilege to have the omniscience Yahweh directing the paths for you to follow. The words of Psalms 23:1-4 explains what it means for God to direct your path:
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not lack. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
The Principle is to acknowledge God in all your ways. By your “way” (Hebrew; Derek), it refers to your manner, habits and course of life. To acknowledge God mean you have to recognise and fear God in all your activities of life. You may not be seeing Him physically but you have to consider His omnipresent nature. The need to appreciate God no matter the circumstances will come to play and also to be honest in all your dealings. The mindset of Holiness and consecration to God have to take the stage in all your dealings. When God leads, satisfaction will always be the outcome.
4. Obtaining the blessing of divine healing and strength (vs7&8) : the navel (umbilical cord) is figuratively use to refer to the center of strength. The scriptures says it is health (or medicine) to your navel (center of strength) fear the LORD and depart from evil. Genuine fear of God will make one depart from evil. The Principle of obtaining healing and strength is to fear God and depart from evil. Disease is an abnormal condition in the body system. Healing here is beyond health to just the body system. This is restoration. Areas of life wherein one have dwelt in anomaly, when you fear God and depart from evil, there is healing and restoration. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin which transports oxygen to the entire body. These red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, when you fear God and depart from evil, even your bone marrow receives strength and health. Note that a major part of this Principle is humility (be not wise in your own eyes). Humility is needed by someone who have dwelt long in sin and wickedness. The pride enjoyed from evil and wickedness must be deflated. Even to face the consequences of such wickedness of the past will require humility. To obtain restoration, health and strength, humble yourself, fear God and depart from sin.
5. Obtaining the blessings of divine increase and fruitfulness (vs9&10) : productivity is a blessing from God. Our labour need to be blessed with increase. The Principle of obtaining this blessing is to honour God with your resources. It is very important to acknowledge God as the source of everything that you have. He is not asking for all but just to honour him with part of it. This is where the Principle of being blessed when you give is highlighted. The statement “givers never lack” cannot be overemphasized. Giving is a show of love, indeed God blesses you to bless others. Obviously when God blesses you, the best you can give to Him directly is your thanks. It is also vital to use part of the blessing to affect others positively, this can be in the form of taking a portion (tithe) to the church, giving offerings and donations. However, all blessings may not be monetary, it can be that you are in a position of influence, use it to help believers. You may be blessed with wisdom, think about counseling others even Hannah released her blessing (the child Samuel) for God’s service. If you must obtain divine increase and fruitfulness, the Principle is to honour God with your resources.
So much have been said in outlining the Principles of obtaining some divine blessings. All are anchored on knowing God and putting your trust completely on Him. Our prayers should not primarily be on the blessings but in developing the Principles which in themselves are the source of the blessings.
1. Help me to know you more LORD.
2. Help my faith that I may trust in you completely O Lord.
3. Help me Lord to understand and practice the Principles behind obtaining the promises of the scriptures.