In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:6
This wisdom imparted in this verse reminds us that in following Christ there is no divide between secular and holy. God demands that all aspects of our lives be submitted to Him. Anything less would be idolatry.
The first four words tell us that Christianity is not just for Sundays and Christmas. In all of our ways we are to acknowledge Him. The emphasis being that in everything we think, say or do, God should be the motivating force.
The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” (yada) is the common word for “to know” or “to recognise” and in context implies a recognition that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). When we understand that God is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives, it is only logical that lives that honour Him.
Implicit within the call to “acknowledge” God is the notion of honouring God with our lives. Paul phrases this creaturely duty to our Creator in terms of presenting our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1).
The second half of this passage sets up a covenant between man and his maker. If man acknowledges that he is but a vessel of God created for the purposes and pleasure of his creator (2 Timothy 2:21) then God will “make straight” his paths.
Isaiah 45:9 presents the antithesis to this passage, depicting the rebellious creature questioning God’s purpose in creating him. Rather than the blessing promised to those who acknowledge God, woe is proscribed to the one “who strives with him who formed him”.
Whilst there are many passages in Scripture like Proverbs 3:6 promising abundant blessing to those who “acknowledge” the LORD (Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 1:19,Psalms 1:1, John 10:10,James 4:2,Mark 10:29-30, John 14:14), there are also verses that promise tribulation to those who love God. These verses and the fact that we can all think of Godly men who have experienced hardship in this life can often lead to confusion among sincere followers of our LORD.
Since the Bible is the inerrant, Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) it contains no contradictions. The solution to the apparent contradiction between the verses that promise blessings to those who love God and those that promise hardship, is to be found in perspective.
Those who hate God seek to discredit His Holy Word by alleging contradictions because they cannot understand the mind of God. To them the material word is all there is. Material blessings like wealth and earthy prosperity are all they understand (Romans 8:7, Romans 12:2, Romans 8:7, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Matthew 7:6).
There is a great chasm (Luke 16:25) between the carnal mind of the enemies of God and the mind of those led by God’s Spirit. Christians are sojourners in this world, our “Kingdom is not of this earth” (John 18:36).
We are “God’s elect, strangers in the world” (1 Peter1:2) who know we cannot keep the “deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19) acquired in this present age. Our blessings our heavenly blessings that “moth and rust” cannot destroy (Matthew 6:19).
“Heavenly” does not necessarily mean ethereal but rather future, not of this present age (Romans 8:15-26). Our blessings are the blessings of the Kingdom of God not for this present worldly kingdom of Satan (Galatians 1:3-5, 1 John 5:19, John 12:31).
Whilst the promise of blessing to those who love God refers to “eternal” blessings it is still true that as a general rule, those who follow the principles of living that God has set out in His word are likely to receive earthly blessings as well.
It is only logical that God – our Creator, would be the best guide in how we his creatures should live.
As we meditate on this verse may we always remember that “all our ways” in this present age are nothing more than the LORD preparing our souls for an eternity with Him.