1. In our lesson we are concentrating on a special blessing mentioned in Proverbs 3:5-6 that is very reassuring -- "the Lord will direct our paths." 2. We are assured that the Lord will direct our paths if we will comply with the conditions given in these passages: a. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart." b. "Lean not unto thine own understanding." c. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him." 3. These conditions are both positive and negative. 4. Before we can comply with the positive conditions we must take care of the negative part; therefore, we will consider it first.
I. IN ORDER FOR THE LORD TO DIRECT OUR PATHS, WE MUST NOT LEAN UNTO OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING
A. The Bible deals with this principle many times. 1. (Proverbs 3:7a) "Be not wise in thine own eyes." 2. (Romans 12:16b) "Be not wise in your own conceits." B. The Bible also tells us why we must not lean unto our own understanding: 1. because man's ways result in death (Proverbs 14:12) 2. because what seems right to us may not please the Lord (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2) 3. because it is foolish to trust in our own hearts (Proverbs 28:26a) 4. because man cannot direct his own steps (Jeremiah 10:23). C. The Scriptures teach us: 1. that we must not lean unto our own understanding 2. why we must not lean unto our own understanding.
II. THE SCRIPTURES GIVE AN ALTERNATIVE
A. Rather than lean unto our own understanding, the Bible says: 1. "trust in the Lord with all thine heart" 2. "in all thy ways acknowledge him." B. In other words, we are to depend completely upon God. 1. When we make any plans, when we make any decisions, and when we endeavor to do anything, we must seek counsel from God. 2. This involves: a. searching His word to see what it has to say (Psalm 119:105) b. talking to God through prayer, asking Him for wisdom (James 1:5). 3. The Lord will direct our paths if we follow these instructions.
III. THESE PRINCIPLES ARE ILLUSTRATED IN THE BIBLE
A. Naaman shows us how dangerous it is to lean unto our own understanding. 1. 2 Kings 5:1-12 a. Naaman heard that there was a Jewish prophet who could cure his leprosy. b. He went to the prophet, and he was told what to do (vs.10). c. Unfortunately, he had already made up in his mind what Elisha was going to do (vs.11-12). d. Naaman's problem was that he leaned unto his own understanding. e. It was not until after he stopped leaning unto his own understanding that he was cleansed of his leprosy. 2. (2 Kings 5:13-14) When he finally did what he was told to do he was cleansed. B. Paul allowed the Lord to direct his path. 1. (Acts 16:6-12) Instead of following his own desires, Paul followed the directions revealed to him [Lydia was converted with her household]. 2. (Acts 16:22-24) There were some unpleasant things that occurred, but Paul continued to allow God to direct his paths [the jailer was converted with his household]. C. The greatest example of all of one who allowed God to direct His paths was Jesus (John 12:23, 27-28).
1. Let us: a. trust in the Lord with all our hearts b. not lean unto our own understanding c. acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. 2. If we will comply with these conditions, the Lord will direct our paths.