As mentioned earlier, as part of this sense that God has something for me to learn, I’ve working on Psalm 25: 4-5 and some accompanying references. One of them is Proverbs 3: 5-7:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And do not rely on your own insights.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will direct your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes:
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.”
I’ve known these verses – have known them for years, in fact. But lying in bed this morning, I was suddenly caught by the word “acknowledge.”
There are two general senses in which most people use acknowledge. The first sense – the sense most often used – is that of making reference to something or guiding attention to it – for example, in a speeches such as “I’d like to acknowledge my parents for helping do this” or “We acknowledge the university for allowing the use of these prints.
But if you pick up your Strong’s Concise Concordance KJV (I’m sure you all have yours right there on the shelf) you’ll find something a bit different.
If you go to “acknowledge” (go ahead, do it) you’ll find that it appears only 12 times. In those uses, there are two types: one when used when talking about men (Deuteronomy 21:17, “But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife…”; Deuteronomy 33:9 “But he did not acknowledge his brethren…”) and those used when talking about God.
When talking about God or in reference to God, the sense changes away from a mere knowing or nodding of the head to a recognition of an authority or situation:
Psalm 51:3 “For I acknowledge my transgression…”
Isaiah 33:13: “And you who are near, acknowledge my might.”
Jeremiah 14:20 “We acknowledge, O LORD, our transgression”
How does this apply? Because for years I’ve always interpreted things the first way: that to acknowledge God was to make reference to Him in my life and in my decisions. But that’s really not what God wants: He doesn’t want to be another philosophy I consult or idea I consider or even first among equals (Read in 1st and 2nd Kings about how God views worshipping Himself plus anything), he wants to be sovereign over my life. He wants me to acknowledge His authority over all that I do – that in all my ways, His ways (as brought out in His book) are the ones that take precedence over all others, even my own.
This is a hard thought for me to process. It changes deeply how I consider things and how I act. It’s not if something seems right to me, even morally – it’s what God says about it.
I say this as if it were a hard thing – but look at the promise given by the writer Solomon: “And He shall direct your paths.” Can you imagine anything more trustworthy, more guaranteed, than having the sovereign omnipotent omnipresent Lord of the Universe walking with you, directing you in the ways that are best to go? Romans 8:28 says “We know that everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose”. To know that even in bad times, when things seem grim, that we are not there of our own bad decisions or failures but because God is walking with us, guiding us?
But if I want the promise, I must accept the condition: can I, on a minute by minute basis, acknowledge God in all I do by acting and believing and behaving as He says, not what I say? Or will I, like I have done too often in the past, merely continue to view Him as one of another things I have to consult when I go about my daily life? One leads to a morass of decisions made merely on human wisdom, the other to a life guiding by the God of the Universe Himself.