Bible Lesson 123

WHAT IT MEANS TO “TRUST” Jeremiah 17:5-8

Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the lord, And who hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

“GOD IS NOT TRYING TO TAKE YOU OUT OF YOUR TROUBLES, HE IS TRYING TO TEACH YOU HOW TO ACT IN THEM.” E.J. HUEGEL

In this lesson, we want to ask God to show us what it means to trust Him. I’m sure we all have our ideas of what it means to trust; but what does it mean to trust God. Webster’s dictionary tells us that trust means “a firm belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability, justice, etc. of another person or thing.”

That is pretty good for our purposes of examining our trust in the Lord; and to make it even more clear, I will use what is purported to be an actual example that happened at Niagara Falls, here in America. We all should know about that great fall of water that originates from Lake Erie, it is 167 feet tall and has been the place of many who were foolish enough to attempt to go over it.

The story goes that a high-wire artist strung a cable across the fall and attracted a crowd of people to watch his death-defying act of rolling a wheelbarrow across those roaring falls. The high-wire artist rolled his wheelbarrow slowly across the falls and then back to the other side where the crowd had gathered. He asks one man, “Do you believe that I can do that again? The man answered without hesitation, Yes, I do! Then the man said to him, “We’ll get into the wheelbarrow.” Naturally, the man refused to get into the wheelbarrow, even though he had said that he believed or trusted that the man could do it.

Many times, and unfortunately most of the time, we who say that we believe or trust God, do not always get into his wheelbarrow. Even the big fisherman, Peter, said that he trusted Christ, but when the chips were down, Peter denied, that he knew Him,(John 18:25-27). That was not the first time that Peter had in effect denied Christ, because as you well remember Peter had asked Christ to bid him come to Him on the water, but Peter took his focus off of Christ and when He did, he began to sink beneath the water,(Matthew 14:223-33).

Peter wanted to go to Jesus and Jesus bade him come, and as long as Peter trusted Christ, everything in the world was beneath his feet, and he began to walk toward Christ; however, when his trust began to ebb, Peter began to sink beneath the waves. Peter confessed and cried out to the Savior to save him, and Christ heard and saved him. Peter knew immediately that he was going down in the water and so it was a natural reaction for Peter to call out for help.

We are normally so dead to the presence of Christ that we simply work out things to the best of our ability, which at times turns into a catastrophe. When we read and study the Word of God, the Bible, we find lack of faith and trust, were in evidence in many places, for instance, in the disciples that could not heal the epileptic that had been brought for healing, ( Matthew 17:14-21).

To trust means to completely and fully rely upon a person or thing, and that would mean getting into the wheelbarrow of God. Do we do that in every situation, or do we just do that when we run out of self and dependence upon self’ I’ll be honest with you: in writing this lesson, I have had to examine myself and my trust for God and I find that I have some repenting to do. We here in America have just gone through a mid-term election, and I found that I began to worry about certain races and whether or not our country could survive unless it went a certain way.

In thinking about that God spoke to my heart and caused me to understand that the only part I had in that election was my vote and that the outcome would be up to Him. I am sure that there are other areas where my trust has not been as strong as it should be but I will work to clear that up in my life and perhaps you should in yours also. We are guilty of really believing that our trust is one hundred percent in Christ, and we do so in most cases but there are times when we see something personal so close and dear to us that we begin to worry and worry always points to lack of trust. Our dear Lord, Jesus Christ, left heaven and came to the earth and took upon Himself the form and flesh of mankind, knowing that even though He was God in the flesh, that He would go to the cross and die.

In His humanness, he learned how we would feel about things that happen to us, and yet, He trusted the Father. In Psalms 16:1 we find the testimony of the Savior before the cross and it was, “Preserve Me, O God, for in You I put my trust.” The Son, speaks to His Father and simply says, as He commits Himself to the horror of the cross’.preserve Me, O God, for in you I put my trust! Have you ever prayed that prayer or made that commitment to God’ That should be our prayer for every morning prayer. Preserve me, O God, for I am nothing without you and your protection. That has become my prayer and I claim it for any who will pray it. Instead of fearing and worrying about the elections this year, I will commit it all to God who is Sovereign and pray, preserve me, O God, for in you I put my trust. Why do you suppose we sometimes want to become overly concerned about things’ I know that there are myriads of things that taken individually, look so important to us; but what we have to remember is that there is nothing that can change in any degree our connection to God through Christ. God speaks to us through the writer of Romans and says that we can “Know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

For whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” That is the outline for all of God’s children, those whom God has granted rebirth, and created “In Christ” and is conforming into the image Christ. Romans chapter eight goes on in verses 31-35 to assure us that God is for us and no one or nothing can stand against us since God gave up His own Son so that we could benefit in all things. God asks us “Who can bring a charge against us, who can condemn us, or who can separate us from the love of Christ.” The answer is a resounding ‘ nobody! We do not always know what the outcome of every situation will be but we know who is in charge and we know that He is for us so whatever happens, it will work out to our benefit, perhaps not right away but in the end, it will work to our benefit. The key to having that assurance is to trust in Him and believe that He will preserve us to the end. Proverbs 3:6 reminds us “In all your ways acknowledge (Trust) Him, and He will direct your paths.”

On occasions, we tend to be too self-sufficient, and we begin to trust ourselves instead of God, and that always ends up with our being lost in a fog because we see only what is, while God sees the beginning, the middle, and the end of every situation. Not only that but God has already determined and is working out the solution to every problem. I know that Luke 14:26-33, is not too popular with church people in our day but that does not change the fact that God put it there to help us understand what it takes to really and truly trust Him. What Jesus Christ preached there in Luke 14, was that only those who love Christ enough, and does not bear their cross (die to self), has not counted the cost of following Christ and accepted it without hesitation and are willing to give up our most precious sins and possessions, could not be His disciples, (Luke 14:26-33). Again, let me repeat that if you are trusting God as you should trust Him, you are in His wheelbarrow and if He wants to roll you across Niagara falls on a shoestring, you are trusting Him who never fails.

We have been using the example of the high-wire artist who rolled a wheelbarrow across Niagara Falls on a cable, and then asked someone if they trusted or thought he could do it. When someone said they believed, or trusted that he could, he said “get in the wheelbarrow. We know for sure that nobody took him up on that deal, and the reason that they didn’t was that they were afraid. Fear is a subject that true Christians must deal with before they will ever have the assurance of their salvation. Psalms 2:11 indicates that the child of God should, “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” Now, what would that mean’ It means that those who know and understand just how great and powerful and Gracious our God is known that as Thomas Watson said back in the 1600s, “The fear of God promotes spiritual joy; it is the morning star which ushers in the sunlight of comfort. Walking in the fear of God and the comfort of the Holy Ghost. God mingles joy with fear, that fear may not be slavish.”

True religion, is a compound of many virtues and emotions, including both fear of God and rejoicing in His love. It has become very chic in our rapid-fire, loose and lite religion for preachers to admonish their congregation not to fear God, instead, they say just love God; but that is an error because the Bible tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Now, I would ask you to think back to a time before you were reborn by God, that was a time when you did not fear God. You may like to think that you did or you may even say that you feared God, but that is not the truth. You may have feared death or hell, but that is not God, that is the devil’s habitat, and the reason that did not fear God is that you were not one of His children, instead, you were a child of the devil, (John 8:42-45). Those who come to know the Creator, sustainer, and savior of men, understand that what stands between the saved and the lost is Jesus Christ who paid the sin debt for those who would believe or trust. Only those who have been washed in the blood, put to death on the cross with Christ, raised a new creature and walking that newness are protected by the Work of Christ, (Romans 5:1-5; Romans 6:1-4; Romans 8:1-4). These fear God: but rejoice in His love; because they know that God is the Judge but that they are safe in Jesus Christ. All others are in opposition to God because they want to be gods themselves, and they cannot abide by the restraints of godliness.

We must trust God for everything in our lives because we must understand that we cannot add one inch to their height, they cannot keep their hair from falling out, and they surely cannot live one minute past that appointed time that God set down in His plan for their death (Hebrews 9:27). That is the reason that we must trust God and not be afraid, just as Isaiah said in Isaiah 12:2. Isaiah said in that scripture, “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my Salvation.” This is the mantra of the truly saved person. This is our morning prayer and our evening thanksgiving, for we are greatly blessed because our God is Jehovah. We must understand what is being said there in Isaiah 12:2, and we must it as it is written. We dare not think or say, I will not trust, yet I will not be afraid, because God has said it specifically that we are first to trust and then we will not have to be afraid. We cannot, on the other hand, say “I will be afraid but not trust”. Trust is the first step toward God, and once we have, so to speak, get into God’s wheelbarrow, then and only then can we have that peace with God that allows us to say that we will not fear. People who play games with the inerrant word of God are people who are tempted to want to be their god. They always reserve certain areas in their lives for the flesh and these become off-limits to God. I do not understand how anyone can think that way but it is a fact because I have had people who outright admitted it to me, that there were certain precious sins, certain desires, certain authorities in their lives that they would hold for themselves. As a result of that kind of attitude, these people never really trust God. Perhaps they are like countries are with certain critical treaties that they negotiate with other countries, they say that they trust but they insist upon verification. They insist upon retaining the right to oversee certain areas that they have granted in the treaty. That is not trusting!

Some would ask, well, why do we have to trust God in everything, why can’t we just accomplish much of our lives without trusting God’ That’s a good question but the answer is even better than the question; because if we are not trusting God in every moment to guide us and keep us, then we are bound to end up on the wrong path. Oh, yes, there are many paths out there but only one leads to eternal life in heaven, and that is the Lord’s path that is laid out in His Word the Bible, lighted by the light of Christ and secured by God Himself. Those who have studied God’s Word, the Bible, and have understood true salvation have to know that salvation has one purpose and that is to produce a new creature that will obey God. Obedience is required of every Christian. Understand how it is not something that we could do or would do before we were saved, but it is what we will do if we are saved. Obedience requires trust, and trust always surrenders our all to the life of Christ. Isn’t it wonderful that we who truly know Christ, can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

If we know Christ in salvation, it is He who lives in us daily and gives our life the proper direction, tone, and outcome that Christ would have us to have, proving that we truly trust Him. Jesus lives in us and we live in Him, and our daily lives show that we trust Him completely. You may ask, well, doesn’t that make us robots of some sort’ Absolutely not! That makes us what God created man to be and that was one who would respect and honor God’s commands, live a life of peaceful and joyful content, and spend every day with God as we walk the way He would have us to walk. Philippians 2:13 reminds us that if we are truly saved, “It is God that works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure”. Now, does that mean that the Christians just “Let’s go and lets God” as he goes about his own life’s ways, whether good or bad. We do in a sense, let go and let God, but it is God guiding and our responding to what we know God would have us do as we live our daily lives. The true Christ is not, as you have heard me say or read from me, simply a sinner with his brains kicked out! The true Christ is one with God through Christ. In the new birth, we are created by God, as a new creature ‘In Christ. That occurs when the sinner repudiates his old life and casts himself on Jesus Christ and His Cross as sufficient for his salvation. We let go of self and then God takes over by the New Birth’that birth from above, (John 3:3,5; Ephesians 2:10).

In that new birth, we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God; and the Spirit of God drives us in the direction with the purpose of God in our lives. Salvation is by Grace through Faith and the Bible tells us that Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. That speaks of having a knowledge of God and Christ and the gospel. For the truly saved person, the Bible becomes the bread of life and leads us to the living bread, Jesus Christ. We can never take God at His Word until we know the Word of God, and I don’t mean a favorite verse that promises us something that we like, I mean every truly saved person will have an organized theology, to some degree.

Yes, the Christian, and I mean every Christian has the battle to fight, and how we take up that battle is all-important to us. By that I mean, we do not have to fight the battle, but we must believe that Christ fought the battle and we have to live in that victory. If we pout and fume and fuss whenever things don’t go like we want them to go, we are not honoring God, because we are not trusting God to put us in positions that we do not like. God has a perfect plan, an eternal plan for his children, and even when we are called to suffer for one thing or another, we are doing so because God has it in His perfect plan. There is an old Hymn that says it well, and it goes “Trust and obeys, for there was no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” If we always remind ourselves that we are not trusting in a set of rules or laws; but we are trusting in the living God. First Timothy 4:9-10 tells us “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” Let me explain what that last phrase mean (especially of those who believe) means. It is not teaching universalism; because we know that all men will not be saved. What that means is that God saves (physically) some and that is temporary, and means that even some lost men will be saved from danger or the like while they live, but only the elect will be Spiritually and eternally saved.

How can we trust in someone that we have little or no knowledge of or someone that we know only in some perchance way’ We cannot or at least we would not be smart to think that we could. Now there are people by the multiplied millions that worship lesser gods, some made of stone and some of the wood or even plastic. These lesser gods are not alive, though they may have eyes, they see not, and ears, they hear not, hands, but handle not feet, but they do not move. Now, I ask you what can this kind of god do for a man or woman who is alive and has all of the problems that come with living in an ever-changing world’ The answer is evident, they can do nothing! Our God lives, and is present with us and is controlling all that happens in His world. He is the one who spoke the heavens and earth into being, the one who scooped up dirt and formed a man and breathed life into his nostrils. Our God supports the whole universe by the power of his mighty arm, He rules and over-rules in nature, providence, and grace; and He is the only true God.

We cannot sit or bow before any other God and have our petitions heard and answered, He (The living God) can do whatever He has said that He would do and He has assured us that He has predestined all those who are His children to have what they need when they need it. He did not say that we would have all that we wanted, although we do on occasion seem to have even more than we think or ask. This living God, Jehovah, is the hope of eternal life in heaven and there is no other that can promise that. Any lesser god, can and will assure you of hell for eternity because they exist only in the minds of those who reject the true and living God. Every one of us has a day appointed for our death and after a death we will stand judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Our living God is never too busy to answer our call, He never needs sleep or rest, He never takes a day off and he never fails to answer our prayers. We do not ever have to fear any man, but Jesus Christ warns us to fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, (Matthew 10:28).

We make note of His power over all things and hence we fear Him, but because of the gift of life in His Son Jesus Christ, we can rejoice as we serve Him, knowing that we are under the blood and protection of His Son Jesus Christ. Do you trust the Lord every day and every moment of the day’ Are you comfortable and happy in His wheelbarrow’ I pray that you do and that you are. With that in mind may I invite you to “Whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God”, as you trust and serve Him.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob