The challenge to Trust God

 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

 

Trust is defined as the confident expectation of something. To be able to trust is someone means you have to be willing to let your guard down and feel confident that person will not let you down. However, this type of trust does not always come easy. To illustrate this I want to read you the story that the writer shared about himself that wrote this Bible study.

Like the little girl many of have trouble trusting people these days and as parents we instill this idea into our childrenís head. Donít trust strangers, TV, what you read etc.

 

Even as adults we have trouble trusting in others because a handshake doesnít mean much any more and many have problems keeping secrets.

 

What are some other reasons we have trouble trusting in people today?

Postmodernism- there is no absolute truth.

 

Do you think these concerns have made it more difficult to trust in God?

As Christian parents, we have to be on guard for our children sake.

 

If we want to be able to have peace in our lives we must learn to trust in God and the Bible is full of examples of Godly men and women who learned to put all their trust in Him.

 

One great example comes from King Jehoshaphat. He was the king of the Southern Kingdom and he was the son of King Asa. Overall King Asa was good king who did his best to be pleasing to God and he apparently passed on these values to his son. Not much is recorded about King Jehoshaphat in the book of kings, but we learn a lot about him in the book of 2 Chronicles 17-20.

 

As soon as Jehoshaphat became king, his first priority was to have the law read to his people and he wanted them to understand and live by it. No one is perfect and Jehoshaphat proves that because he made an alliance with the evil king Ahab by allowing his son to marry Ahabís daughter.

 

Because of the alliance he had made with Ahab, Jehu the prophet came to Jehoshaphat and spoke 2 things against him 2 Chr. 19:1-3.

 

1. He was guilty of helping the wicked which of course is referring to King Ahab as he was at that time the most wicked king that had ever lived.

2. He was guilty of helping those who hated God. Again this is a reference to Ahab and all of Israel because the entire northern kingdom was engaging in worshiping false Godís and living in sin.

 

Jehu also praised him for how he had been pleasing to God when he became king by tearing down the high places in Judah and how he had prepared his heart to seek God. Now if we ever hope to be able to trust in God, you must first prepare your heart to seek God. After He received this message, he got busy again restoring his people back to Godís Word.

 

As Jehoshaphat was working on reforming his people we find out in chapter 20 that his enemies have joined forces and they are attacking him and he realizes that he cannot stand against them alone so he must rely upon God and he prays a beautiful prayer calling on God for His help.

2 Chronicles 20:1 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat.2 Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, "A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar" (which is En Gedi).3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.

 

We see 4 things happening to Jehoshaphat. 1. He was afraid of his enemy. 2. He set out to seek the Lord. 3. He called for a fast. 4 Everyone came together to petition the Lord in prayer. I really like this because Jehoshaphat and his people recognized that they needed the help of God. Their enemy was to strong and His first defense was to go to God and trust that He would help him in his time of need.

 

We can learn a great lesson from this because many times people have tendency to trust in themselves more than they trust in God. When troubles enter their life they will do everything in their own power to take care of it before they even consider going to God in prayer and asking him for help. As Christians this should not be the case. Our first line of defense when trouble enters into our life should be seeking the Lordís help. We should not wait until we have gotten to the end of our rope and then cry out to God. When we do this we, do not have the trust in God that we should. The more we learn to depend on God, the closer we will grow toward him and realize how much we need him in our lives.

 

What examples can you think of where people trust in themselves instead of God?

 

Now let take a look at Jehoshaphat great prayer.

2 Chronicles 20:5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,6 and said: "O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?7 "Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?8 "And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying,9 'If disaster comes upon us -- sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine -- we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.'10 "And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir -- whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them --11 "here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.12 "O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD.

 

As you can see Jehoshaphat was pouring his heart out to God and reminding him how powerful he is and how weak they are. He wanted God guidance because he did not know what to do and he reminds him that these people who are attacking them are the same ones he didnít allow the children of Israel to destroy earlier and now they are rewarding his mercy by attacking his people now. All these people were joined together in agreement with this prayer to God for help.

 

I want you to notice verse 12 again because it is important,

 

12 "O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

 

Jehoshaphat and his people knew that they could not defeat their enemy on their own so they did the right thing. They put their complete trust in God and turned their problems over to Him.

 

This is the attitude that we must learn to have. If we would learn to involve God more in life by sharing with Him our problems and our heartaches, we would discover that our problems will become easier to handle and we will not feel alone because God will be there for us because He loves us and is concerned about us. So, the next time you find yourself not knowing what to do to turn your eyes toward God and pray to Him and trust Him.

 

Next, we find out that God answer their prayer and gives them a message.

 

2 Chronicles 20:14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.15 And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.16 'Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.17 'You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD.19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with voices loud and high.

 

So after they prayed to God, He responded through this prophet telling they have nothing to fear because this battle belongs to the Lord. In fact, they learn that they donít even have to fight in it. However, they are instructed to stand before their enemy and to watch God bring their enemy down.

When they heard this great message from God they did not doubt it and their fear of their enemy disappeared because they were confident in what God said. To show how much trust they had in God they praised Him with their voices raised.

 

Why do think that God wanted them to watch Him make their enemy fall? Do you think God needs an audience? No, God knew that when they saw His power that it would help build their faith and increase their trust in Him. Also, God wants us to face our enemies with confidence even when He is helping us because He was us to continue to move forward.

 

Perhaps one of the reasons that we struggle with trusting in God is because we donít sit back and reflect at what God has done for us and is doing for us.

 

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God;

 

Sometimes we need stop everything that we are doing and do this. The way that we can do this is by thinking about all that God has created for us and how much love He has for us. We think about various people in the Bible and how God was always there for them and how He always keeps His promises should increase our trust in Him. When we think about how He gave His only begotten Son for us when we did not deserve it, again it should remind us that we mean that much to God. Finally, when we look back at our life and the prayers that we prayed that God answered, it should cause us to praise God and have the same confidence that these Jews had that day.

 

2 Chronicles 20:20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper."21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever."22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much.26 And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the LORD; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah until this day.

 

Stories like these in the OT that give us hope today because they show without a doubt that when we pray God listens and he responds. When he says he is going to do something he does what he says every single time. This story confirms that we can believe with our whole hearts that the promises that are made to us under the new covenant are absolutely true and we should be like Judah who praised and worshipped God for what He was going to do and we should also be just as thankful for what He has already done for us and what He is doing for us today.

 

We can see how much trust Judah had in God because when they went before their enemy they did not put their strongest soldiers in the front. Instead they put their singers out front and they sang praises to God.

 

Their trust paid off because God caused all their enemies to turn on themselves and not one had escaped and you can tell there must have been a great number of these men for it to take 3 whole days for the people of Judah to collect all the spoils these people had with them.

 

Once again, on the 4th day the people rejoiced in this wonderful thing he had done to protect them and especially since they didnít even have to fight in the battle at all.

 

2 Chronicles 20:27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies.28 So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the LORD.29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.30 Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.††

 

As they made there way back home they continued on being very thankful for what God had done for them and the other kingdoms heard about how God had delivered them that day and because of this they had peace all around.

 

So, as we can see that Jehoshaphat and his people are great examples of putting their complete trust in God.

 

How can you and I learn to have this level of trust in the Lord? Well, we have already talked about this some, but I want to suggest to you that there at least 2 methods that will help us to learn to trust in God.

 

1. Observe our experiences. This means that we need to sit and think about all the blessing we have received in our lifetime. Notice what David says about this:

 

Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.

 

If you and I were to sit down and start trying list all the wonderful things that God has provided for us and done for, I donít think that we could every list them all because God has done so much for us.

 

If you have been here for the previous 2 nights then you have learned 2 things that will help add to your observed experiences.

 

First, we must open our eyes and see how God is working all around us.

Second, we must spend time with God by reading His Word, studying His promises and how has worked in the lives of those in Bible that trusted Him.

 

We must also do like Jehoshaphat and stand still and take time out everyday to pray to God and reflect on all that He has done for us.

 

2. Alter our expectations. Some lose faith in God because they have in their mind how things should turn out and when they donít they become disappointed and in some cases fall away. However, we need to remember the Word s of,

 

Isaiah 55:8 " For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.

 

This means that what we think should happen and what God does are not going to be the same and we must understand this and realize that God is in control and that He knows what is best.

 

In the example prayer that Jesus gave to disciples He told them that they should pray, Give us this day our daily bread Mat. 6:11. Does this mean that God is going to provide food for us with no effort on our part. No. But, if we move forward with our faith and work at getting that food, we can know that God will help us to be successful in what we do.

 

Now some people pray to God for riches, but God has never promised to make us rich physically, but He does make us rich spiritually because when we are in Christ and we are living faithfully we have all the spiritual blessings that are found in Christ Eph. 1:3. Jesus has made this possible for us as Paul says in,

 

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

 

It should give us great comfort that God is looking out for us and that He will provide for us and if we have enough trust in Him then we should worry about things so much. Jesus tells us why,

 

 

Matthew 6:25 " Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 ∂ "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

Jesus is teaching us that our priority should be to God and His kingdom. When we can trust God enough to put Him first in our life, then everything else will fall into place. Again, it may not work out like we hoped, which is why must alter our expectation and realize that God knows what is best for us. As Paul said,

 

Romans 8:28 ††And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

Again this does not mean that everything in our life is going wonderful, it simply means that God is working in the background and He take those difficult moments in our life and ultimately make something good of it when we love Him and trust Him.

 

A great example of this comes from the story of Joseph. We should all be familiar with this story. Josephsí brother could not stand him because their father loved him more and showed him favoritism. One day they decide to kill him, but instead they sold him into slavery. Then his brother told their father that he was killed by a wild animal. So, even though Joseph was a faithful man of God, he had to endure many hardships and live as slave, but God still blessed him wherever he went.

 

At Potiphars house everything was going good until his wife tried to sleep with Joseph, but he would have nothing to do with it, but of course she accused him of attacking her and so husband had him thrown into prison and even there Joseph was put in charge and finally we know that ends up interpreting the Pharaohs dream and ends up being put in 2nd command. When the 7 years of famine begin, his brothers were in trouble food wise so they had to go to Egypt to buy grain or they would starve to death.

 

Once again Joseph saw his brothers and Joseph wanted to teach them a lesson so he accused them of being spies and made one of them stay behind and he wanted them to bring Benjamin back with them and they did. He did all this so he could see his youngest brother and he was going to have arranged to make him look a like thief and make them leave Benjamin with them, but Judah pleaded for this not to happen. This caused Joseph to have compassion and revealed to them who He was. Joseph learned a great lesson from the hardships and success of his life and he shared this wisdom with his brothers.

 

Genesis 50:18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are your servants."19 Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?20 "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.21 "Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

 

This great example of God can make things work together for the good. So do not ever expect that your life is going to be trouble free as a Christian because it not and some Christians may even have to endure sufferings, But no matter what you have to deal in this life we need to take the words of Paul to heart.

 

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 

No matter how bad things get for us we can still have hope and trust that if we endure our hardships, we will have a home in heaven.

 

Hebrews 11, gives has been called the hall of faith because it numerous examples of those that trusted in God and stood firm in the faith. Sometimes their faithfulness gave the great results beyond their expectations. For example,

 

Hebrews 11:32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

 

Each of these men had great faith and trust and God and they accomplished great things they could have never done on their own. Sometimes we may have great things happen in our life like this, but notice the next few verses

 

Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented --38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

 

Here we have some people that were faithful and they trusted in God but bad things happened to them and I am sure they had something else in mind instead of being tortured and killed, but even in circumstances like this we must learn to keep our faith and trust because even if our earthly life ends on a rotten note, we can still rejoice in the reward we receive that will last for an eternity. We need to remember the words of Jesus.

 

Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

Also we should allow the words of

 

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."6 So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

 

Use 1Kings 17: 8-16 if needed.

 

So, how great is your faith? Are willing to start trusting God more and making Him your first line of defense or are you still struggling with trusting yourself or others more than God? Well, I hope this lesson has shown how important is that we,

 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

 

(This VBS lesson was adapted from ďCastaway BayĒ Adult manual Lesson 3)