|Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.|
For many this verse is a memory verse they have memorized and maybe even have given a devotion on. If you have ever spent any time in the church you have surely heard a message or two from this passage. So why in the world am I writing a devotion on it this morning? I have found that often when I read this verse the emphasis is on the first sentence, while the second sentence—that of acknowledging Him and allowing Him to direct us—gets glossed over. I read it recently and the word “acknowledge” jumped out at me, because I had never “really” thought about what that really means.
See, while the technical definition of the word has not really changed, the way our society uses it, has. The way we view it today is to “give a nod” to someone or simply recognize their presence. If you are walking down the street and you see someone you’ve met before, you’ll often acknowledge them with a nod or wave, as if to say “hey there, I see you”.
So, by today’s standards, “in all your ways acknowledge Him” is basically the equivalent of professional athletes wearing a cross around their neck as they vehemently argue with the umpire after a called third strike, meaningless.
The trouble is that these understandings of the word render the verse in Proverbs very distant and cold when the meaning is much more powerful. The word translated “acknowledge” in this verse means “to know His ways inside and out AND to recognize that He is the ultimate arbiter of our lives.” This is certainly more intense than the way we typically think of acknowledgement.
You see, acknowledging God is not a surface tip of the hat, but rather a turning over of one’s own life goals, plans and desires to the one who knows everything the future holds. There’s just no way around the fact that acknowledgement of God is active, rather than passive. Most people will wear a cross necklace or give God a shout-out when something goes right and believe they are obeying the command in Proverbs 3, yet their actions and thoughts are not even being run through that old phrase “what would Jesus do.”
Acknowledging God does not mean just turning to Him in times of crisis, or publicly during worship. This is truly in ALL your ways: public and private, religious, and secular. It is knowing what His Word says forwards and backwards and living a life that reflects the fact that God is directing it.
The next phrase purposely builds on this foundation when it says, “and he shall direct thy paths.” You see, as we truly “acknowledge God” in ALL our ways, plans, thoughts, and actions God gives us an amazing promise that He will direct our paths (make them straight and even pleasant/prosperous)! What a wonderful thought.
You see when God’s Word says “in all thy ways Acknowledge Him” it does not mean “acknowledge Him” like Bryce Harper acknowledges his 3rd base coach, before he ignores that sign and does whatever he wants anyway.
No, acknowledging God is when I Seek His Face, Know His Ways, Trust His Power, and Submit to His Plan knowing He not only wants what is best for my life, but desires that I HAVE it!
May we all “acknowledge God in all our ways” today and forever that He might fulfill his promise of directing our paths as we navigate this life for His glory!
Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.