By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Have you ever noticed the relationship between “trusting in God” and “trusting in yourself” through the Bible? Throughout Scripture, it appears it is almost impossible to trust in yourself and to trust in God at the same time.
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV): In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
This is evident throughout the Bible, but it is a main theme in the Old Testament. God provided numerous signs, wonders, and prophets/prophetesses to show the people His way. However, the Hebrews continually relied on their own level of trust and comfort to make decisions. When Moses traveled up the mountain to receive God’s word, the Hebrews grew impatient and created the golden calf (Exodus 32). When God told the Hebrews, they did not need an earthly king, they harassed Samuel and ignored his warnings until they received an earthly king (1 Samuel 8). Even throughout the book of Judges, there was an all-too-clear cycle: disobey God’s word, receive punishment for their disobedience, repent and ask for deliverance, God provides them a deliverer (judge), deliverer (judge) dies, Hebrews disobey God’s word, and so on it went.
Romans 10:17 (ESV): So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
It is not that we cannot plan our course, nor is it that having goals is bad. The issue comes when we are not allowing God to establish our steps. When we make plans outside of God’s will, we are only taking our needs and wants into account. We are putting our trust in ourselves and what we believe will suit us best.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV): So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
As a result of them having more faith in themselves than they did in God, the Hebrews relied too much on what they could see. They wanted to see their relationship with God, so they build a golden calf. They wanted to see their ruler, so they begged for a king. They needed to see a representative from God, so they disobeyed His word whenever a judge died. The human desire to build faith by sight is not new. We find it difficult to grasp that someone can understand Jesus without “seeing Him”, so we create images in hopes to help build their faith. However, the apostle Paul says that it not faith at all. He also says there is more than enough “invisible” attributes in nature to understand God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). This foundation is understandable at all ages, and then it becomes an exercise of building on that foundation by studying the Bible. God continues to give us all we need to bring someone to repentance. Trust in God and His will, see what He has already provided and know that is enough for all to be saved.