Sunday, November 20, 2016

Think on These Things

Martha Wainright

Gladstone, Missouri

“It is better to trust in the LORD than
to put confidence in man” – Psalm 118:8.

In verse five of this psalm David says he called upon the Lord in distress and the Lord answered. Verse six records, “the LORD is on my side.” Then in verse seven David declares, “the Lord taketh my part.” These statements lead up to the profound declaration of verse eight. We can read between the lines of these verses, and we can also tell by reading about the life of David that he had many occasions that necessitated his dependence on the Lord. He had many disappointments, experienced numerous broken confidences, and it is evident he despaired of life even to the point of revealing some of his inner-most feelings. Psalm 22:6, “But I am a worm, and no man…” (Even in this low point in his life, the Lord was faithfully using him as he was prophesying about the suffering of Christ).

We never cease to learn, as did David, that we never come to the “bottom” in experience of learning to depend on the Lord. Let us look at the word confidence for a moment. Actually, the word is close in leaning to the word “trust;” but the word “trust” has a deeper meaning. Notice to whom these words confidence and trust are related.

In Psalm 118, the word confidence is associated with mankind, and that confidence can be broken again and again. Of course, there is a certain confidence we have to have in people to live in this world -confidence that others will obey the laws of the society where we live, such as stopping at stop signs, etc. These laws (confidences) are broken constantly; therefore, causing us to be wary even when driving a car.

However, we are really not considering this area of confidences. We are thinking, as David was, of relationships, a more personal use of the meaning of the word confidence. The Apostle Paul instructs us to have “no confidence in the flesh” – Philippians 3:3. That in our flesh is “no good thing” – Romans 7:18. So it stands to reason that if we put confidence in mankind, and that includes our self, that we are going to be disappointed and disillusioned.

These experiences can leave us confused and perplexed about the value of any relationship. Our confidence can be imperfect in relation to friends, relatives, people we work with, other saints, and any other human being with whom we have contact. And, indeed, we become disappointed with ourselves. This is a pretty dismal picture, isn’t it? I’m sure each reader can think of times of feeling betrayed due to a confidence in a relationship that was broken. You know the feeling. In fact, the very ways of mankind can be frustratingly disappointing. If we put confidence in the myriad of advertisements (through the various media), we are  in for a disappointment.

There is a better way – to trust the Lord. God’s ways are perfect, and His relationship and His dealings with His children are perfect. “God is love” – I John 4:8. This last statement is important because it cushions the blows of life. Even when we are trusting the Lord, everything won’t be perfect, because we live in an imperfect world. But we identify with the new creation, and we can trust the Lord to ultimately work all things for our good. Man cannot promise this. Therefore, we can see that it is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in men.

Does this mean, then, that we can have no faith in each other? I think not. When our trust is in God, He gives us the faith to trust one another, knowing that even in our relationship with one another the Lord wants to be LORD. We come to the place of not expecting perfection from others. We expect it of God; we can have complete trust in His divinity. The Holy Spirit leads us down this path of righteousness “for His name’s sake.” The more we learn to trust the Lord, the more confidence we have in Him and in His will for our lives.

Perhaps you have been broken in spirit by lack of confidence in anything, any one and even in yourself. Then you (and I), like David, can call on the Lord in times of distress and believe that He is on our side and will take our side against the enemy of defeat. We can put our trust in the Lord and be strengthened in the inner man by the words of Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who, (or what), can be against us?” The very circumstances of life that may bring us to despair are useful in that they can also bring us to the place of trust in the Lord. Think on these things.