Day 32

You Can Trust God

Wisdom Proverbs 3:21-35
New Testament Matthew 21:19-32
Old Testament Job 23:10-12


During World War II, in the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, ‘I can’t see you!’ The father called to the silhouette of his son, ‘But I can see you. Jump!’ The boy jumped, because he trusted his father. In other words, he loved him, he believed in him, he trusted him and he had confidence in him.

‘Faith’, in the Bible, is primarily about putting our trust in a person. In that sense it is more akin to love. All loving relationships involve some element of trust. Faith is trust in God that transforms all your other relationships.


Proverbs 3:21-35

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
  preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
  an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
   and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
   when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
   or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
   and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
   when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbour,
   ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’–
   when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbour,
   who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason –
   when they have done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the violent
   or choose any of their ways.

32 For the Lord detests the perverse
   but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
   but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
   but shows favour to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honour,
   but fools get only shame.


Be confident in the Lord

Are you a confident person? If so, where does that confidence come from? Does it come from what you do or what you possess? Does it come from your education, looks, sporting ability or some other skill you have? Does it come from what other people think about you?

There is nothing wrong with these things. Be confident, but ultimately your confidence should come from ‘the Lord’. It is possible to have none of the other things and still be confident.

The writer of Proverbs says, ‘The Lord shall be your confidence’ (v.26a, AMP). The object of your faith is a person, ‘the Lord’. God is the one person you can totally trust in everything. This ‘confident trust’ (v.23, AMP) transforms the way you live your life. It gives you:

  1. Wisdom

The fool is ‘self-confident’ (v.35, AMP). But those who are confident in the Lord are wise: ‘Preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you’ (v.21). Wisdom, good judgment and discernment come from walking closely with God.

  1. Peace

Success at work, wealth and fame are of little value if you do not have peace. Peace comes from a right relationship with God. There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience: ‘When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster’ (vv.24–25a). Whatever happens, you can trust that God is with you and in control.

  1. Goodness

‘Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person’ (v.27, MSG). Take every opportunity to do good; if you have the ability to help someone, do not delay (v.28).

  1. Love

‘Do not contrive or dig up or cultivate evil against your neighbour, who dwells trustingly and confidently beside you’ (v.29, AMP). Trust in God leads to a love for your neighbour.

  1. Intimacy

‘The Lord… takes the upright into his confidence’ (v.32). When the Lord is our confidence, he takes us into his confidence. This is a wonderful image of what intimacy with God looks like: ‘His confidential communion and secret counsel’ (v.32a, AMP).

  1. Humility

God ‘gives grace to the humble’ (v.34b). If your confidence comes from trusting the Lord you will have no cause for pride. God promises to give you grace, blessing and honour (vv.33–35).


Lord, help me to live the life of faith – walking closely with you and putting my trust and confidence in you.

New Testament

Matthew 21:19-32

19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you this authority?’

24 Jesus replied, ‘I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?’

They discussed it among themselves and said, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will ask, “Then why didn’t you believe him?” 26 But if we say, “Of human origin”– we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’

27 So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’

Then he said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28...There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.


Believe in Jesus

Jesus says, ‘If you have faith and do not doubt… it will be done’ (v.21). The answer is to ‘believe… believe… believe’ (vv.22,25,32). This is the one word that holds together the three otherwise seemingly disparate passages.

  1. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death

Jesus says, ‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’ (v.22). ‘If you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles… Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God’ (vv.21–22, MSG).

Try it today. Ask, believe, and then trust God.

  1. Demonstrate your faith by your actions

The fig tree does not do what it is supposed to do – bear fruit (vv.18–20). The second son in the parable does not do what he is supposed to do – obey his father’s instructions (vv.28–31). Similarly, the religious leaders do not do what they are supposed to do – believe in Jesus (vv.23–27).

Rather than put their faith in Jesus, they question Jesus’ authority and ask him, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? ... And who gave you this authority?’ (v.23). Jesus answers with a question about the origin of John’s baptism, which shows that the religious leaders have also failed to trust John the Baptist. They discuss between themselves, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will ask, “Then why didn’t you believe him?”’ (v.25).

The religious leaders’ faith is all about ideas and discussions, and so they miss the person that faith is all about: Jesus.

  1. Enter the kingdom of God by faith

Jesus contrasts the religious leaders who do not believe with the tax collectors and prostitutes who ‘repent and believe’ (v.32).

The tax collectors and those involved in prostitution were seen as the lowest of the low, and yet Jesus said that because many of them had believed in him, they were entering the kingdom of God first.

Have you noticed how often seemingly ‘upright’ people seem uninterested in Jesus? They simply do not see any need. On the other hand, I have often been astonished by the openness and spiritual hunger of those in prison and ex-offenders. It is through going into the prisons that I have realised why Jesus loved to spend his time with the marginalised. They are the ones who are often most responsive to Jesus.

No one is beyond hope. Even if the past has been full of wrongdoing, nothing you have thought or said or done puts you beyond the reach of entering the kingdom of God. Like the first son in the parable, all that is needed is a change of heart and mind and to do what the father says (v.29). Only repent and believe in Jesus.


Lord, thank you that you say: ‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’ (v.22). Lord, today I ask…

Old Testament

Job 23:10-12

10 But he knows the way that I take;
  when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
  I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
  I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.


Keep trusting when tested

Job learnt to trust God even though he did not understand what was going on in his life. Faith involves trusting God even when you don’t have all the answers.

Faith is often tested when we go through difficult times. Again, there is a striking contrast between Job and his friends. Eliphaz falsely accuses Job of mistreating the poor, the hungry and widows. He says, ‘This is why’ (22:10) Job was suffering. It must have been so galling for him to be falsely accused in this way. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Eliphaz’s theology was simplistic and defective: ‘Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you’ (v.21). But life is more complex than that.

By contrast, Job was struggling with the real world of often inexplicable, innocent suffering. Yet he was full of faith in the midst of ‘groaning’ (23:2). Everything had gone wrong in Job’s life. God seemed miles away (‘If only I knew where to find him’, v.3a).

Sometimes nothing seems to make sense in our lives. God may be using our circumstances to test us. Choose to trust him anyway.

Job said, ‘When he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold’ (v.10b). Gold was refined and tested by heating it and skimming off the dross over and over again until the reflection of the goldsmith could be seen in it. In the midst of his terrible suffering, Job trusted that God would use it all for good and he would emerge purer and holier. Somehow, he managed to cling on to God:

‘My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread’ (vv.11–12).

As we look at Job’s life, we see that strength grows through struggles, courage develops in challenges and wisdom matures from wounds. When God tested Job, his faith emerged as pure gold.


Lord, in those difficult times when I seem to be in the refiner’s fire, help me to put my faith and trust in you and to ‘come forth as gold’ (v.10b). Help me every day to live a life of trust and confidence in you.

Pippa adds

When I read the Bible, I’m usually looking for some encouraging verses. I often skim over ones like ‘the fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt’ (Job 24:9). But it is a tragedy that this is still happening today. Children are being ‘snatched’ and sold into brothels. Children, women, and men are ending up in slavery. I now feel that in whatever way I can, I must try to stand up and fight against this terrible injustice.

Thought for the Day

There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.



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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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