Trust in Jehovah!
“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart.”—PROVERBS 3:5.
1. How did Proverbs 3:5 impress a young man, and with what long-term result?
A LONGTIME missionary writes: “‘TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART; AND LEAN NOT UNTO THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING.’ Those words from the Bible, framed and hanging on a wall in a home I was visiting, captured my attention. For the rest of that day I pondered over them. Could I, I asked myself, trust God with all my heart?” This person was then 21 years of age. At 90 years of age and still serving faithfully as an elder in Perth, Australia, he can look back on a life enriched with the fruitage of wholehearted trust in Jehovah, including 26 rigorous years of pioneering new missionary fields in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (now Myanmar), Malaya, Thailand, India, and Pakistan.*
2. What confidence should Proverbs 3:5 build in us?
2 “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart”—these words of Proverbs 3:5, as rendered by the New World Translation, should motivate all of us to continue devoting our lives wholeheartedly to Jehovah, confident that he can strengthen our faith, even to the point of overcoming mountainlike obstacles. (Matthew 17:20) Let us now examine Proverbs 3:5 in its context.
3. (a) What encouragement is to be found in the first nine chapters of Proverbs? (b) Why should we give close attention to Proverbs 3:1, 2?
3 The opening nine chapters of the Bible book of Proverbs glow with fatherly instruction, wise counsel from Jehovah for all who look forward to enjoying sonship in the heavens or “the glorious freedom of the children of God” on a paradise earth. (Romans 8:18-21, 23) Here is wise counsel that may be used by parents in raising sons and daughters. Outstanding is the advice of Proverbs chapter 3, which commences with the caution: “My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe.” As the last days of Satan’s wicked world move toward their finale, may we pay ever closer attention to Jehovah’s reminders. The way may have seemed long, but the promise to all who endure is that “length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you”—eternal life in Jehovah’s new system.—Proverbs 3:1, 2.
4 A happy relationship between father and son can be most precious. Our Creator, Jehovah God, arranged for it to be that way. Christ Jesus said of his own intimate relationship with Jehovah: “The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father has affection for the Son and shows him all the things he himself does.” (John 5:19, 20) Jehovah purposed that a similar intimacy should exist between himself and all of his family on earth, as well as between human fathers and their children.
5 A trusting family relationship was encouraged in ancient Israel. Jehovah counseled fathers there: “You must apply these words of mine to your heart and your soul and bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they must serve as a frontlet band between your eyes. You must also teach them to your sons, so as to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. And you must write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates, in order that your days and the days of your sons may be many on the soil that Jehovah swore to your forefathers to give to them, as the days of the heavens over the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21) The inspired Word of our Grand Instructor, Jehovah God, can indeed serve to link him intimately with parents and their children, as well as with all others serving him in the Christian congregation.—Isaiah 30:20, 21.
6. How may we find favor with God and man?
6 Wise fatherly advice for God’s people, old and young, continues in verses 3 and 4 of Proverbs chapter 3: “May loving-kindness and trueness themselves not leave you. Tie them about your throat. Write them upon the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and good insight in the eyes of God and of earthling man.” Jehovah God himself excels in displaying loving-kindness and trueness. As Psalm 25:10 states, “all the paths of Jehovah are loving-kindness and trueness.” In imitation of Jehovah, we should treasure these qualities and their protective power, valuing them as we would a priceless necklace and engraving them indelibly on our heart. Fervently, then, we can pray: “O Jehovah, . . . let your loving-kindness and your trueness themselves constantly safeguard me.”—Psalm 40:11.
An Abiding Trust
7. In what ways has Jehovah shown his trustworthiness?
7 Trust is defined by Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Jehovah’s character is firmly anchored in his loving-kindness. And we can have complete confidence in his ability to do what he has promised, for his very name, Jehovah, identifies him as the great Purposer. (Exodus 3:14; 6:2-8) As Creator, he is the Fountain of strength and dynamic energy. (Isaiah 40:26, 29) He is the epitome of truth, for “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18) Hence, we are encouraged to place implicit trust in Jehovah, our God, the great Source of all truth, who has the almighty power to protect his trusting ones and to bring all of his grand purposes to glorious success.—Psalm 91:1, 2; Isaiah 55:8-11.
8, 9. Why is trust sadly lacking in the world, and how do Jehovah’s people provide a contrast?
8 In the degraded world around us, trust is sadly lacking. Instead, we find greed and corruption everywhere. The front cover of the May 1993 issue of the magazine World Press Review was emblazoned with the message: “THE CORRUPTION BOOM—Dirty Money in the New World Order. The corruption industry extends from Brazil to Germany, from the United States to Argentina, from Spain to Peru, from Italy to Mexico, from the Vatican to Russia.” Based as it is on hatred, greed, and distrust, man’s so-called new world order reaps nothing but escalating miseries for mankind.
9 In contrast with political nations, Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy to be “the nation whose God is Jehovah.” They alone can truthfully say, “In God we trust.” Each one of them can cry out joyfully: “In union with God I shall praise his word. . . . In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid.”—Psalm 33:12; 56:4, 11.
10. What has strengthened many young Christians to keep integrity?
10 In an Asian land where thousands of young Witnesses have suffered severe beatings and imprisonments, trust in Jehovah has enabled the great majority to endure. One night in prison, a young Witness who had undergone horrible tortures felt he could take no more. But another youth came stealthily to him through the shadows. He whispered: “Don’t give up; I compromised and have not had any peace of mind since then.” The first youth renewed his resolve to stand firm. We can have complete trust in Jehovah that he will help us overcome any and every effort by Satan to erode our integrity.—Jeremiah 7:3-7; 17:1-8; 38:6-13, 15-17.
11. How are we stimulated to trust in Jehovah?
11 The first commandment reads in part: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart.” (Mark 12:30) As we meditate on God’s Word, the grand truths that we are learning sink deep down into our heart so that we are motivated to spend our all in the service of our wonderful God, the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. It is with a heart brimming with appreciation for him—for all that he has taught us, has done for us, and will yet do for us—that we are stimulated to trust implicitly in his salvation.—Isaiah 12:2.
12. Over the years, how have many Christians shown their trust in Jehovah?
12 This trust can be cultivated over the years. A humble Witness of Jehovah who served faithfully for over 50 years at the Watch Tower Society’s Brooklyn headquarters, commencing in April 1927, wrote: “At the close of that month I received an allowance of $5.00 enclosed in an envelope with a beautiful card featuring the Bible text at Proverbs 3:5, 6 . . . There was every reason to trust Jehovah, for at headquarters I soon came to appreciate that Jehovah had a ‘faithful and discreet slave’ faithfully caring for all the Kingdom interests here on the earth.—Matthew 24:45-47.”* This Christian’s heart was set, not on love of money, but on gaining “a never-failing treasure in the heavens.” Similarly at this day, the thousands that serve at the Watch Tower Society’s Bethel homes around the earth do so under a type of legal vow of poverty. They trust in Jehovah to provide their everyday needs.—Luke 12:29-31, 33, 34.
Lean Upon Jehovah
13, 14. (a) Where only may mature advice be found? (b) What must be avoided in order to survive persecution?
13 Our heavenly Father admonishes us: “Do not lean upon your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) Worldly counselors and psychologists can never hope to approach the wisdom and understanding that Jehovah displays. “His understanding is beyond recounting.” (Psalm 147:5) Rather than lean on the wisdom of prominent men of the world or on our own uninformed emotions, let us look to Jehovah, his Word, and the elders in the Christian congregation for mature advice.—Psalm 55:22; 1 Corinthians 2:5.
14 Human wisdom or pride of station will get us nowhere in the fast-approaching day of severe trial. (Isaiah 29:14; 1 Corinthians 2:14) In Japan during World War II, a capable but proud shepherd of God’s people chose to lean upon his own understanding. Under pressure he turned apostate, and most of the flock also folded under persecution. A loyal Japanese sister, who courageously survived terrible treatment in filthy prison cells, commented: “Those who remained faithful had no special abilities and were inconspicuous. Surely all of us must always trust in Jehovah with all our heart.”*
15. What godly quality is essential if we are to please Jehovah?
15 Trusting in Jehovah, rather than our own understanding, involves humility. How important this quality is for all who want to please Jehovah! Why, even our God, though Sovereign Lord of all the universe, displays humility in his dealings with his intelligent creation. We can be thankful for that. “He is condescending to look on heaven and earth, raising up the lowly one from the very dust.” (Psalm 113:6, 7) Out of his great mercy, he forgives us our frailties on the basis of his greatest gift to mankind, the precious ransom sacrifice of his beloved Son, Christ Jesus. How grateful we should be for this undeserved kindness!
16. How may brothers reach out for privileges in the congregation?
16 Jesus himself reminds us: “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) In humility, baptized brothers should reach out for responsibilities in the Christian congregation. Yet, overseers should regard their appointment, not as a status symbol, but as the opportunity to perform a work, humbly, appreciatively, eagerly, as did Jesus, who said: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.”—John 5:17; 1 Peter 5:2, 3.
17. What should all of us appreciate, leading to what activity?
17 May we always humbly and prayerfully appreciate that we are no more than dust in Jehovah’s sight. How glad we can be, then, that “the loving-kindness of Jehovah is from time indefinite even to time indefinite toward those fearing him, and his righteousness to the sons of sons”! (Psalm 103:14, 17) All of us should therefore be keen students of God’s Word. The time spent in personal and family study, and in congregation meetings, should be among our most precious hours each week. In this way we build up “knowledge of the Most Holy One.” That is “what understanding is.”—Proverbs 9:10.
“In All Your Ways . . .”
18, 19. How may we apply Proverbs 3:6 in our lives, and with what result?
18 Pointing us to Jehovah, the divine Source of understanding, Proverbs 3:6 next states: “In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” Taking notice of Jehovah involves keeping close to him in prayer. Wherever we may be and no matter what situation may arise, we have immediate access to him in prayer. As we go about our daily tasks, as we prepare for field service, as we go from house to house proclaiming his Kingdom, our constant prayer can be that he will bless our activity. Thus, we can have the inestimable privilege and joy of ‘walking with God,’ confident that he will ‘make our paths straight,’ as he did for God-fearing Enoch, Noah, and faithful Israelites, such as Joshua and Daniel.—Genesis 5:22; 6:9; Deuteronomy 8:6; Joshua 22:5; Daniel 6:23; see also James 4:8, 10.
19 When we make our petitions known to Jehovah, we can be confident that ‘the peace of God that excels all thought will guard our hearts and our mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:7) This peace of God, reflected in a joyful countenance, can recommend our message to householders that we meet during our preaching work. (Colossians 4:5, 6) It can also encourage those who may be afflicted by the stresses or injustices so common in today’s world, as the following account shows.*
20, 21. (a) During the Nazi terror, how did the integrity of Jehovah’s Witnesses encourage others? (b) What resolve should the voice of Jehovah awaken in us?
20 Max Liebster, a natural Jew who by a seeming miracle survived the Holocaust, described his journey to a Nazi extermination camp in these words: “We were locked in carriages that were transformed into many tiny cells for two persons. Kicked into one of them, I faced a prisoner whose eyes reflected serenity. He was there because of his respect for God’s law, choosing prison and possible death rather than shed the blood of other people. He was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His children had been taken away from him, and his wife had been executed. He was expecting to share her fate. The 14-day journey brought an answer to my prayers, for it was during this very journey to death that I found the hope of everlasting life.”
21 After experiencing the Auschwitz “lions’ den,” as he termed it, and being baptized, this brother married one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who herself had been imprisoned and whose father had suffered in the concentration camp at Dachau. While her father was there, he heard that his wife and young daughter had also been arrested. He described his reaction: “I was deeply worried. Then one day while I was queuing up for a shower, I heard a voice quoting Proverbs 3:5, 6 . . . It echoed like a voice coming down from the heavens. It was just what I needed to recover my balance.” Actually, the voice was that of another prisoner quoting this text, but the incident emphasizes what power God’s Word can exert on us. (Hebrews 4:12) May Jehovah’s voice speak powerfully to us today through the words of our 1994 yeartext: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart”!
See the article “Trusting Jehovah With All My Heart,” as told by Claude S. Goodman, The Watchtower, December 15, 1973, pages 760-5.
See the article “Determined to Praise Jehovah,” as told by Harry Peterson, The Watchtower, July 15, 1968, pages 437-40.
See the article “Jehovah Does Not Forsake His Servants,” as told by Matsue Ishii, The Watchtower, May 1, 1988, pages 21-5.
See also the article “Deliverance! Proving Ourselves Grateful,” as told by Max Liebster, The Watchtower, October 1, 1978, pages 20-4.
□ What kind of counsel is presented in Proverbs?
□ How does trust in Jehovah benefit us?
□ What is involved in leaning on Jehovah?
□ Why should we take notice of Jehovah in all our ways?
□ How does Jehovah make our paths straight?
[Pictures on page 15]
The joyful Kingdom message makes its appeal to people of honest heart