Do not depend on your own understanding. - Proverbs 3:5b (NLT)
It was a beautiful afternoon and Barney was wandering around his back yard with his head bowed low. “I don’t understand.” he kept muttering to himself, “I just don’t understand.” “What don’t you understand?” came a familiar voice. It was Tracy’s. “Harold!” Barney answered.. “Does anybody ever understand Harold?” Tracy said back.
“Just when you think you have some one figured out,” Barney told Tracy, “you find out you don’t.” “Tell me about it.” Stella said as she joined into the conversation, “Harold hasn’t been himself and Mom and Dad are getting worried about him” “It can’t be that bad can it?” Tracy asked.
“Well,” Barney started to say, “You know how much Harold likes to play ball?” “Yeah,” Tracy nodded, “For the past week,” Barney continued, “Harold has refused to play ball with me, in fact he won’t even say hi to me any more.” “So, he doesn’t want to play ball.” said Tracy, “That’s not that bad.”
“That might not be,” Stella injected, “But Harold’s hardly eaten in over a week.” “Mr. Garbage Disposal not eating?” Barney said in shock. “Yeah,” Stella continued, “All he does is sit around and stare at, at, at... Muffy’s dog house.” “Wow,” Tracy responded, “That’s not how things were suppose to happen.”
“I was sure that if Muffy was gone,” Barney told the girls, “Everything would be back to normal and Harold would have more time to play ball.” “Muffy doesn’t chew on my toys anymore and Harold doesn’t pick on me.” Stella added, “ But Harold doesn’t, doesn’t, doesn’t do anything. He won’t even help me with my math and won’t even go to church.”
“I guess I miss the way things were too,” Tracy added, “Since we lost Muffy in the woods, I’ve had more work to do on the farm.” “What do you mean?” Stella asked. “Harold, and Muffy used to help me chase all the cows back to the barn.’ Tracy told her, “Now I have to do it by myself and it takes twice as long.”
“I hate to say this,” Stella said sadly, “But I think we need to find Muffy.” “Before things get worse,” added Barney. “Let’s go,” said Tracy and they all took off to find Muffy.
How often do we think we have everything figured out but in the end we only make things worse, we rely on our own understanding and really mess things up? Proverbs 3:5 says Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. (NLT) How many problems could we avoid if we would only heed that advice.
Getting back or taking matters into our own hands because we think we know better may seem sweet but seldom if ever is it as we shall see.
In 2 Samuel 18 we have the story of a man who thought he knew better and took things into his own hands. It didn't make things better and in the end it cost him his life. The man's name was Joab and he served under King David.
In the previous chapter, David's son Absalom had led a rebellion and took the throne from his father. As result David had to flee and as we pick up the story David is dividing up his troops. He put 1/3 of them under Joab, 1/3 under Abishai and 1/3 under Ittai. He then gave command to the leaders to treat Absalom gently.
The battle did not go well for Absalom and before long he was the one that needed to flee. Shortly after meeting up with David's troops, Absalom's donkey went under a large oak tree and he got his head caught in the branches where he was later found by one of Joab's men.
Remembering King David's charge, the man who found Absalom, refused to harm him and that angered Joab. Not wasting any time, Joab grabbed three spears, found Absalom and thrust the spears through his heart. Some of Joab's men than finished him off, threw the body in a pit in the forest and covered it with stones.
Upon hearing of his son's death David did not celebrate even though the battle had been won. But mourned and lamented, wishing that he might have died in his place. Years later, after the reign of the kingdom had been turned over to Solomon, Joab was brought to justice for his rebellion against the king's command.
To think we know better than God and to take matters into our own hands can be more trouble than it's worth. The kids in Pupperville tried to fix things by getting even with Muffy, Joab tried to fix things by getting even with Absalom, We try to fix things by getting even with....
Here's some of what God's word has to say on the matter.
- Proverbs 20:22 - Don’t say, “I’ll pay you back for the wrong you did.“ Wait for the LORD, and he will make things right. (NCV)
- Romans 12:19 - Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." (MSG)
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 - See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else. (NLT)
There are of course many more verses that talk of taking things in to our own hands and trusting that we know best and the problems that can pursue but we'll never need to worry about that, right?
Here's Something To Ponder
- Have you ever thought you knew better than God?
- Have you ever refused to take matters into your own hands because you knew God would take care of things?