Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 22:17-19


In Deuteronomy 8, Moses was preaching to Israel, commanding obedience to God and pointing out the Lord’s past lessons and blessings. In verse 3 he said, “And (God) humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by EVERY word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.” When he said, “every word” how specific do you think he was? Was he thinking of every single noun, pronoun, verb and adjective, or was he speaking only of principles and ideas? When Christ quoted Moses, was HE referring to every individual word or was it only to principles? Matthew 4:4 – Jesus “answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Later Solomon will say, EVERY word of God is pure.” Did he mean that each individual word spoken by God is pure? I believe that he did.

We are obligated to think of every syllable of God’s Word as important. And that is one reason why I look at the original languages of the Bible, comparing the nuances of those words. I believe that God has preserved His Word so that we can read His will in the Authorized Bible of 1611. But light can be shed on our ever evolving English by reaching back to the original Hebrew and Greek.

For example, is there a difference between the verbs “to trust” and “to believe”?

Solomon said in verse 17 “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy TRUST may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.” If I substitute “faith” or “belief” into verse 19, doesn’t it change the meaning? “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. That you may believe in the Lord, or that thy faith may be in the LORD…”

Usually, within my lazy mind, I blend these two – “believe” and “trust” – into one idea. But is that accurate in either Hebrew or English? Webster begins his definition of believeby saying that it is “to have a firm persuasion of something.” Specifically, he says that “to believe sometimes expresses a mere assent of the understanding to the truths of the gospel.” Going back to Bro. Fulton’s message Sunday, I believe that the sun will soon go down over Post Falls. Whether that is literally true or not is not important, but I believe it nevertheless. But just because I believe the sun will go down, that doesn’t mean I will turn on the headlights of my car to drive home. I might believe something, but it might not have any effect on my life. I might believe that it will rain tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean I will carry an umbrella.

To “trust” is definitely related to “believe,” but it adds just a bit more punch. To “trust” is to believe and then to respond in some way. To believe that Jesus died on the cross as a vicarious sacrifice is important. But it is pointless until I trust my soul to the Saviour, relying on the fact that it was for me He died. I suppose that in my weakness I will always muddle those two words, but every once in a while, I need to separate and emphasize the difference between them.

There are basically five Hebrew words translated “trust.”

Most of them highlight the fact that it is more than just credence or a persuasion. For example, the “trust” of verse 19 speaks of confidence – something more than acceptance of a fact. “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. That thy (confidence) may be in the LORD…” Proverbs 14:26 – “In the fear of the LORD is strong CONFIDENCE: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” “Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust” – his confidence Psalm 40:4 .

Doesn’t Solomon’s next statement suggest this confidence? “Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” “You may have confidence in the counsels of knowledge of God; they are words of certainty and truth.” “Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them” – you can take that to the bank. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Again, this is guaranteed by the God in whom you can TRUST – in whom you may have confidence.

One of the major Hebrew words translated “trust” speaks more specifically of “refuge.” II Samuel 22:2-3 – “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I TRUST: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” Later in verse 31 David said, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust (take refuge) in him.” And in Psalm 2 he said, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” More than mere understanding and faith, these verses speak of taking shelter in the Lord.

With a different word David said, “It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD…” Psalm 73:28. But that same Hebrew word is used in Psalms 61 and 62 – O Lord, “thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Let’s not talk about God as our refuge and shelter; let’s run into Him and hide from the enemy.

One Hebrew word implies trust in the sense of leaning one’s weight on the Lord. David used this word when he said, “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.” I will not slide, because I am resting – trusting – in He who is absolutely stable. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” – I will lean upon Him.

In Psalm 22 David used an interesting word. “All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying, He TRUSTED on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” The word translated “trusted” in this verse means “to roll over onto.” John expressed his trust in Christ when he leaned his head upon the Lord’s chest. Joshua 5:9 – “The LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.” David rolled onto the Lord all his problems and his confidence, and the Lord was sufficient to carry them.

Why should we trust the Lord?

Because, as I just said, He is sufficient to bear the weight. Earlier in speaking about the words of God and the Word of God, I quoted Proverbs 30:5. “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Every statement about God’s omnipotence and sovereignty are true and pure, “He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Every promise of the Lord is faithful and true, “He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

In Spurgeon’s devotion yesterday, his scripture was Isaiah 54:4 “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed.” His first statement was that we shall not be ashamed when our faith is in Jehovah. No matter how hard we lean upon the Lord He is strong enough to hold us up. It doesn’t matter how illogical to the world, some promise of God is thought to be, we will never be made to be ashamed because it failed – the Lord never fails. When we trust in the Lord, hiding in the rock that is higher than ourselves, we shall be eternally protected.