Trust in the Lord and Do Good

"I wish my husband, who does know the Lord, would take more of a leadership role in our family Bible readings," a mother of several small children confided to us. Instead of nagging her husband about it, she turned to God in prayer, putting her trust in Him. Some time later she began having difficulty with her eyesight, indeed for several months could not read at all. This necessitated her husband doing the reading of Scripture. As the Lord graciously restored her eyesight, her husband continued to read and actively lead the family Bible studies.

Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, David wrote: "Trust in the Lord" "and do good." The two clauses are related. Doing what is right is a natural consequence of trusting God. David’s life demonstrates several examples of this.

Trusting God causes us to do what is right because it Produces Courage. The young shepherd stared up at a formidable sight: a giant of a man towering over nine feet in height, his bronze helmet glinting in the sun. His protective scale armor was some 125 pounds in weight. He was well able to hurl his javelin a compelling distance or for closer battle could use his spear, the head of which alone weighed 15 pounds. For hand to hand combat a huge sword hung ready. The entire army of Israel was terrified. The country boy from Judea saw things differently, "This fellow’s defying the armies of the living God!"

David sums up the odds: "You’ve got a sword, a spear and a javelin." Impressive. "But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts." No contest... and David actually runs out to meet him. Within minutes, the giant lies dead. With a little time warp, imagine a sword, spear and javelin pitted against a tank equipped with a 105 mm gun. No contest! Or a tank versus a Stealth Bomber carrying an A-bomb. No contest! How about a Stealth bomber with A-bomb versus Almighty God who made heaven and earth. Absolutely no contest, for it is the finite versus the Infinite. David’s appreciation of who God is, very logically, gave him courage. (1 Samuel 17)

Thousands of years before Romans 8:31 was written, David knew the truth of "If God be for us, who can be against us." God said to Joshua, "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee." (Joshua 1:9) With courage, he did great things for God. Hebrews 11:32-33: "Time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness." Trust in the Lord and do good. He is the same God today! Trusting in the Lord gives us courage to do what is right.

Secondly, Trusting God causes us to do what is right because it Precludes Revenge. King Saul with admiration had seen David defeat Goliath and had promoted him to a high rank in the army. Admiration, however, changed to jealousy as he saw in David a threat to his monarchy. Jealousy spawned blind rage, broken promises, unwarranted demotions, and finally numerous attempts on David’s life. (1 Samuel chapters 16-20)

In a dramatic turn of events, David found himself standing over the sleeping form of the man who had treated him so unjustly, King Saul himself. Consider the thoughts that could have flooded David’s mind as he stood there sword in hand: he had already been anointed of God to be the next king; he was popular with the people and, more importantly, with the army; he was tired of living a fugitive’s life and here was a direct short cut to the throne. As David stands over his unconscious enemy, his lieutenant eagerly offers to do the job. David refuses to harm Saul, saying, "As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die" (1 Sam. 26:9-10) "Dearly beloved," Romans 12:19 tells us, "avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." The ultimate example of not being vengeful is our Lord Himself, who "when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." (1 Peter 2:23) Trust in the Lord and do good. Trusting God precludes revenge.

Thirdly, Trusting God causes us to do what is right because it Prevents Worry. David was human, just as we are. After this latest instance of God’s miraculous protection from the murderous hand of Saul, David has a lapse of faith. "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul:" David says, "there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines." (1 Samuel 27:1) The man who by trusting God had taken down the Philistine giant; now allows overwhelming anxiety to actually take him to the Philistines for safety. It was during this lapse that David married Maacah the daughter of Talmai a heathen king. And it was from this union that Absalom was born. Surrender to worry cost David dearly. In our lives also, not trusting God by giving in to worry, can have far-reaching consequences.

Note that it was after a great victory from God that David allowed worry to overpower him. Elijah too had this experience. In a life and death showdown against 400 prophets of Baal, God miraculously intervened and sent fire from the sky. (1 Kings 18) Queen Jezebel dispatched a message to him: "By this time tomorrow, you’ll be dead!" Elijah dropped everything and ran for his life, from northern Israel to the very southern tip (1 Kings 19). Beware of letting down our guard after times of great spiritual triumph, when wearily we look at circumstances rather than God.

In fairness to David we should note that typically when stressed he cast himself on God. It was during a time of major distress that he wrote Psalm 56. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee... In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me... In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." Trusting God precludes sinning against God through worry. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God." (John 14:1)

Fourthly, Trusting God causes us to do what is right because it Procures Joy. 1 Chronicles 13 records David’s ill-advised attempt to return the Ark of God to Jerusalem on an oxcart. David knew better. God had clearly directed how it should be carried: "The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord." (Deut. 10:8) After Uzza was slain, David wised up, trusting God that He meant exactly what He said (1 Chron. 15:2). The result was joy (verse 25).

In Psalm 5:11, David wrote "Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice." Psalm 31:6-7, "I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy." David learned, as we must, that God’s wisdom is infinitely greater than ours and when we trust Him and obey what He has told us in His Word, the result is joy. Trusting God procures joy.

Finally, Trusting God causes us to do what is right because trusting the Lord Jesus Christ Provides Salvation. In fact before we can do anything that is righteous in God’s eyes, we must first trust His Son as Savior, because "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6) Trust in the Lord and do good. The order is important: Trust the Lord then good works follow. Eph. 2:8, 10, "By grace are ye saved through faith...we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Some get this turned around: "Do the best you can, then trust that you’ll get to heaven." Salvation is totally through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross. Thank God that this is so, for we could never do enough good works to take us to Heaven. 1 John 5:12 is very succinct: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Since salvation is totally the work of God there is total confidence for the future. "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid." (Isaiah 12:2) The one who accepts Christ as Savior, is a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17) and the natural result is good works. Trusting God causes us to do what is right because it provides salvation.

Trust in the Lord and do good. A living example of the truth of this statement is a sister in the Lord who is currently going through multiple and very severe trials. She writes, "I keep a ‘Book of Encouragement’—a daily list of all the the ways the Lord graciously ministers to me, through His Word and His people. It is nearly impossible to be down-hearted as I see His hand of love, His assurance of His presence and constant reminders of His faithfulness. That He loves us is never in question—He forever sealed that at the cross. So we wait daily for strength and guidance knowing that He is a good God, and wanting only to bring Him honor in all this."

Trust in the Lord and do good.