The idea of trusting something or someone involves security or lack of concern – you are safe. Etymologists suggest that the background meaning in the Semitic languages is falling down or lying down or even knocking down. This action transitions when in safety to lying down, maybe resting. Another theory is that the background is in words meaning ‘plump, taught, firm, tight’ as in a heavily pregnant mare or a watermelon so you have an idea of swelling or growing which is possible when one feel and is secure. So in the Old Testament the people of God are called to be secure in God rather than in things that provide false security.
So a wander through the psalms tells us …
Offer right sacrifices and put your trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:5)
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)
Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. (Psalm 22:9) [Maybe this verse had more the idea of the baby growing – swelling – as well as learning trust?]
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. (Psalm 25:2)
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God”. (Psalm 31:14)
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. (Psalm 37:3)
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalm 37:5)
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! (Psalm 40:4)
For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me. (Psalm 44:6)
Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? (Psalm 49:5,6)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8)
Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. (Psalm 62:10)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. (Psalm 118:8,9)
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
I dare say there are similar sentiments in many religions. ‘Trust God’ wouldn’t be an uncommon message – in fact, if I was starting my own religion, I’d certainly be telling people the same – trust God!
But where does our peace and security come from? How can we live each day in a responsible way and not become caught up with the idea that this life is all we’ve got? Those are big ques-tions. And there are all sorts of answers around in the supermarket of religions.
The verses from the psalms are only a comfort and a challenge – they would be a terrible burden otherwise – when they point to a God who acts – is active – who loves us so much in the person of his Son, Jesus. Jesus’ death and resurrection for us are a constant faithfulness to us – that mercy and grace – will not be withdrawn and it leads people to do the apparently stupid thing of trusting this God as we seek each day to walk in Jesus’ footsteps carrying a cross. — GS