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Lean on Me

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding."
Proverbs 3:5.


This is one of the more well-known passages in Proverbs. It's oft-quoted, but is it oft-believed? Notice the call of the Christian in this verse: to trust in the Lord with all of the heart. Not some of it. All. The heart is used here as an all-inclusive term for the affections. So in a sense it echoes passages like Deuteronomy 6:5, where we are told to love the Lord our God with all our heart. Indeed, if we love Him we will trust Him.

What does this trust look like? We get some insight in the second half of the Proverb that tells us not to "lean on" our own understanding. This word for "lean" is used elsewhere in the OT, oftentimes referring to dying or weak people in need of something for stability (Judges 16:26, 2 Sam 1:6). To lean on something is to receive support from its steadiness when we are weak and wobbly. This is an external picture of what it means to trust inwardly with our hearts. When we trust in God, we lean our failing and faint hearts up against His and therefore are established. As one old hymn puts it, "I could not do without thee, I cannot stand alone, I have no strength or goodness, no wisdom of my own; but thou, beloved Savior, art all in all to me, and weakness will be power if leaning hard on thee." Do you lean on the Lord? Do you trust in Him with all your heart?

Jonathan Cruse