Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
God in everything requires the heart, the undivided heart. In the text is one great secret of the Divine life, the principle on which it rests, the food by which it is fed. It is to be taken from all worldly dependencies and securities, and resting in the consciousness of being one with God, in holy fellowship, in perpetual nourishment and support. Men commonly fail in the practical outworking of their trust, in their daily employment, and experience and walk. Earthly instruments are too much sought and relied upon independently of God.
I. THE AFFECTIONS MAY BE, AND OFTEN ARE, VIOLENTLY EXCITED AND WORKED UPON, AND YET NOT BROUGHT TO A HOLY SUBJECTION UNTO GOD. There may be, with much religious warmth and sentiment, no small remnant of the evil temper and ungoverned will; even in humility itself an arrogant and self-righteous display, as if the sinner were more humble than his neighbour, as if he had a merit in God's sight on account of his numerous and extravagant lamentations. Great numbers are held in a chain of error under the notion of a spiritual superiority; they are really full of a miserable conceit.
II. MANY BELIEVE ALL THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE, AND CLAIM FOR THEMSELVES A PECULIAR SOUNDNESS AND PURITY OF FAITH, IN WHOM THAT FAITH IS BUT A SPECULATIVE MATTER, AND NOT AN OPERATIVE PRINCIPLE. Men deceive themselves with notions of faith, and take up with that which is not real, which has no life in it. That which is trusted to as principle is so received as to be no principle at all; is a mere assent of the understanding, and not a conviction working in the heart. Nothing can be right and true, no tenet, no belief, which does not incorporate us with God, and bring us into subjection to Him.
III. THE ORDINANCES AND MEANS OF GRACE MAY BE UTTERLY INEFFECTUAL. Prayer is unavailing if unaccompanied with any trust, any abiding trust, in God. All our means and talents are given for active, diligent employment. Faith is to be continually remaining as a vital energy in the breast, as the monitor and guide, as the comfort and support, of all true believers, whatever they do, wherever they go. It produces not only a leaning upon Divine grace on particular occasions of meditation or devotion, but an unfailing regard to God's providential wisdom and goodness and government in daily life. God is in everything, above all, through all, in all. To those who wholly trust in God, not leaning to their own understanding, but ready in all things to obey His will and Word, the Lord will be a perpetual guide. There is a mystic intercourse, an invisible superintendence, a secret agency, a leading hand, always near and always employed for the safety and well-being of those who commit themselves implicitly and faithfully to the Lord's holy keeping.
(J. Slade, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.