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Proverbs (Part 027) - Pro 3:4-5

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4. Pro 3:4 - "So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man."

A. In addition to a long, peaceful life (Pro 3:2), there is yet another blessing in store for the man who remembers God's law and keeps His commandments (Pro 3:1) and binds mercy and truth about his neck (Pro 3:3): he will find favour and good understanding in the eyes of both God and his fellowman.

B. So shalt thou find favour...in the sight of God and man.
i. Favour n. - 1. a. Propitious or friendly regard, goodwill, esp. on the part of a superior or a multitude. to find favour in the eyes of (orig. a Hebraism): to gain the goodwill of.
a. Inserting the definition into the verse, we see that the man who keeps God's word and is known for his mercifulness and honesty will find friendly regard and goodwill from men.
b. He will be praised by heathen and Christian alike, having "a good report of them which are without" (1Ti 3:7) and a "good report of all men, and of the truth itself" (3Jo 1:12).
c. The young Samuel experienced this, for it was said of him that he "grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men" (1Sa 2:26).
ii. The Son of God is the preeminent example of a man who lived the first three verses of Proverbs 3, and in turn experienced the promised blessing of verse four.
a. The scripture declares that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (Joh 1:17) who is "full of grace and truth" (Joh 1:14).
b. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that as a child Jesus, being the embodiment of mercy and truth, "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luk 2:52).
iii. Another example of the fulfillment of Pro 3:4 was the early Christians in the Jerusalem church.
a. They were full of mercy, so much so that they "sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need" (Act 2:45).
b. As a result, they had "favour with all the people," and also had favour with God, which is evident from the fact that He "added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Act 2:47).

C. And good understanding in the sight of God and man.
i. Not only will keeping God's commandments and exhibiting mercy and truth (Pro 3:1-3) ensure that a man will find favour with God and man, but it will also guarantee that he will find good understanding in their sight.
ii. Understanding comes from the word of God (Pro 2:6), and it is acquired through knowing Him (Pro 9:10).
iii. When we study the scriptures, we show ourselves approved unto God (2Ti 2:15).
iv. When we meditate upon them, our profiting will appear to all (1Ti 4:15).
v. Thus, we find "good understanding in the sight of God and man" (Pro 3:4).
vi. Gaining understanding, we then find further favour with God and man, as it is written, "good understanding giveth favour" (Pro 13:15).

5. Pro 3:5 - "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

A. This may well be one of the most widely known and oft quoted verses in the book of Proverbs.

B. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart.
i. Trust v. - To have faith or confidence; to place reliance; to confide.
a. The LORD "knoweth all things" (1Jo 3:20) and "his understanding is infinite" (Psa 147:5).
b. Therefore "all [his] commandments are truth" (Psa 119:151).
c. To place our full faith and confidence in the omnipotent, omniscient God rather than in our own exceedingly limited understanding should go without saying, but such is not the case due to our fallen nature.
ii. We must trust in God with all of our heart.
a. The heart is the seat of our emotions (Pro 15:13).
b. The heart is also the source of our thoughts and intents (Heb 4:12).
c. Therefore, we must be faithful to God with all of our intellect, will, and emotions.
d. We must love God with all our heart (Mat 22:37).
e. We must believe in Jesus with all our heart (Act 8:37).
f. Half-hearted trust is not pleasing to God (Psa 12:2; Jam 1:5-8).
(i) When it comes to trusting in God, burn your bridges and have no backup plan.
(ii) Put your hand to the plow and never look back (Luk 9:62).
g. This means that there should not be any area of life that we should not trust God in.
(i) This means trusting that God is right about everything He says in His word (Rom 3:4).
(ii) This also means trusting that God will do what He has promised, such as taking care of us and providing for our needs (Mat 6:25-34; Php 4:19).

C. And lean not unto thine own understanding.
i. Man's understanding and the word of God are often at odds with each other (1Co 1:19-20, 25).
a. Man by nature chooses the wisdom of the so-called wise over the counsel of "God only wise" (Rom 16:27).
b. Thus the reason for Solomon's exhortation to trust in God and not in our own ideas, for our "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1Co 2:5).
ii. Both rich men and fools alike are wise in their own conceit (Pro 28:11; Pro 26:5).
a. There is little hope for either of them (Pro 26:12).
b. The former think too much of their wealth and attainments; the latter don't think enough.
c. God pronounces a woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes (Isa 5:21).
d. Both types of men need to heed the LORD's warning and "be not wise in [their] own eyes" (Pro 3:7), trusting in Him with all their hearts and not in their own understanding.
iii. All of a man's ways are right in his own eyes (Pro 21:2).
a. Using his own understanding, a man will make what he thinks is a sound decision.
b. His ways are "clean in his own eyes" (Pro 16:2).
c. By all reasoning, it seems right, but "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Pro 16:25).
d. Uzza relied on his own understanding and did what seemed like the right thing when he placed his hand on the ark of the covenant to keep it from falling to the ground as David moved it on an ox cart (2Sa 6:6).
(i) If he would have trusted in the LORD with all his heart and not leaned on his own understanding by leaning on the ark, he would not have died that day (2Sa 6:7).
(ii) There was a way that seemed right unto Uzza, but the end thereof was the way of death.
iv. Maybe the situation is not life or death.
a. What if, for instance, Christians wisely desire a spouse of like-faith and they have waited on the LORD to provide one for a long time?
b. There is a tendency among us to become weak in faith and stop trusting God with all of our heart and begin to lean on our own understanding.
c. They may reason that there just aren't any godly, truth-loving, single Christians out there, and since they aren't getting any younger, they decide to marry an unbeliever.
d. In such a case, not trusting fully in God to provide their godly desire, but rather leaning unto their own understanding resulted in missing out on a lifelong blessing of a marriage wherein two walk together through life agreed (Amo 3:3).
v. So the next time that you begin to doubt God and His word and think that you have a better way, remember to "trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Pro 3:5).