God’s Promises • Devotion #2: Read the Fine Print
Debbie Kerr | Office Administrator
”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).
When I was a young girl, I remember times my dad would tell me that we might do something fun, such as go to the zoo, circus, or amusement park on Saturday. Saturday would come, and I would be super excited only to discover that there were no plans to go to any of those places. I remember saying to my dad in my whiniest voice, “but you promised.” My dad would gently say, “I didn’t promise, I said, maybe.” You see, my dad did not lie to me or mean to break a promise, he had good intentions, but the circumstances or conditions changed. Maybe the car broke down and the money that we would spend on a family outing had to go to pay for repairs, or someone was sick and the money went to pay the doctor. I began to mistrust or doubt when I heard of a fun idea, but as I grew older and gained understanding, I realized that promises are based on conditions. My dad wanted to give us good things but was not always able because of other factors. Let’s face it, sometimes as parents we do break our promises to our children. It is probably best not to make promises, because as humans we cannot see the future. I love the saying, “make your plans in pencil, but give God the pen!”
On the other hand, when God makes a promise, and the appropriate conditions are met, we can always count on Him to deliver. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us good gifts, but the promises He has given us in His Word have conditions attached. One of my favorite verses with a promise is Proverbs 3:5-6. This passage is many people’s life verses and often quoted, but I wonder if it is accurately understood and applied.
“Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart.” To trust Him means we believe He only wants the very best for us because He knows the beginning to the end. It might make perfect sense to us at the present, but only He knows the future. Our trust in the Lord, Abba (Daddy) Father has to be greater than our natural desires. We have to know that His love is so much greater than our earthly father who also desires to give us good gifts. It reminds me of the song “Good, Good Father.” He loves us so much, and He is perfect in all of His ways. He alone is trustworthy!
￼”Lean not on our own understanding.” This means we need to seek wisdom and counsel from His Word and from godly people that we trust and respect. We cannot trust our own reasoning power when are emotionally attached to an idea or desire. We also need to pray for wisdom. James 1: 5 says, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him.” His plan is best even if it seems like the last thing we want.
“In all our ways acknowledge Him.” We acknowledge Him by giving Him the preeminence in our lives. We do this by making Him number one; He is Lord over our lives, our desires, dreams, and relationships. We trust Him so much that we know that nothing else will satisfy us, and no one else will cut it for us. When He becomes everything to us, God will not withhold His plan for us when we look to Him for answers. Jeremiah 29: 13 says that God will be found when we search for Him with all our heart. It is when we manipulate, rationalize, or justify our circumstances; we can be assured that we are headed into a storm. It is as if we are saying to God, “I am going to make my plans or follow my own path, but I want You to bless it.” Do you see how backward that is? What we should be praying is, “I surrender to Your plan knowing that You will bless me abundantly for trusting You.” We cannot expect God to fulfill His promise of directing our path if we do not do our part.
In my early 20s I talked myself into a situation that I wanted so badly that I ignored Godly wisdom and advice. That was not my nature; it was actually very uncharacteristic for me. The result was devastating, and I entered the six hardest years of my life. The suffering endured by myself and the ones closest to me was brutal, all because I leaned on my own understanding. My foolish thinking hurt many people. No man is an island; there will always be a ripple effect. I repented and sought forgiveness from the ones that were hurt by my foolishness. The beauty of God’s amazing grace is that He does not leave us in the mess we have made. He lovingly restored my life and blessed it beyond what I deserved. I still continue to experience the promise of Romans 8:28 that “God will work ALL things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose.” I am thankful He does not give up on us when we make mistakes and miss the mark. His grace and love will always be extravagant when we run back to Him and acknowledge His preeminence in our lives. God redeems and restores according to His promises. There is always hope In Jesus!