Many people don’t realize how important it is to trust YHVH. Did you know that not trusting YHVH will lead you to apostasy? However, so many people choose to put their trust in people; mere creations, blessed with half-truths. They will follow them to the ends of the earth, just because they think these people have all truth revealed to them. We shall look deeper into the consequences of putting our trust in man instead of in YHVH. We shall also search the Scripture to understand when we err in this. In a future article, we will focus on how to apply what we have learned here, as well as a personal testimony.
In order to gain understanding, we need to know what trust is. What does it mean to trust?
What is trust?
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Before we continue, we need to look at the difference between faith and trust. The word faith is in most cases used as a noun, it is something we have. Trust, on the other hand, is mostly used as a verb, it is something we do! Simply said, trust is the action we take based on our faith. We may think we have faith, but how do we act when we are tested. Does our faith stand the test? We shall go into more detail in the following article.
The Greek word “pisteos” is translated as faith in the above quoted scripture. This is according to the Louw, Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.
πιστεύωb: ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ ‘if anyone should cause one of these little ones to turn away from his faith in me’ Mt 18:6; ἐπίστευσεν δὲ Ἀβραὰμ τῷ θεῷ ‘Abraham trusted in God’ Ro 4:3; ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ’ αὐτῷ οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ ‘whoever believes in him will not be disappointed’ 1 Pe 2:6.
πίστιςb: ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ ‘you have faith in God’ Mk 11:22; ἤκουσεν αὐτοῦ περὶ τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν πίστεως ‘he listened to him (as he talked) about faith in Christ Jesus’ Ac 24:24; ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται ‘he who is righteous because of his faith shall live’ Ro 1:17; ἀκούσαντες τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ‘we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus’ Col 1:4.
In rendering πιστεύωb and πίστιςb it would be wrong to select a term which would mean merely ‘reliance’ or ‘dependency’ or even ‘confidence,’ for there should also be a significant measure of ‘belief,’ since real trust, confidence, and reliance can only be placed in someone who is believed to have the qualities attributed to such a person.1
In the Tanakh, we find the Hebrew word “batah” translated as trust. The Hebrew word “Emunah” with the root “aman” is also used, but that yields the notion of fidelity or faithfulness.
1052 בָּטוּחַ (bā·ṭûaḥ): adj. [BDB: qal ptcp.pass.masc. of 1053]; ≡ Str 982; TWOT 233—LN 31.82–31.101 confident, trusting, i.e., pertaining to placing reliance or belief in a person or object (Ps 112:7; Isa 26:3+)
בּטח (bṭḥ) or I. בטח (bṭḥ): see 1053
בּטח (bṭḥ) or II. בטח (bṭḥ): see 1054
1053 I. בָּטַח (bā·ṭǎḥ): v.; ≡ Str 982; TWOT 233—LN 31.82–31.101 (qal) trust, rely on, put confidence in, i.e., believe in a person or object to the point of reliance upon (2Ki 18:5); (hif) lead to believe, make trust (2Ki 18:30; Ps 22:10[EB 9]; Isa 36:15; Jer 28:15; 29:31+), note: (qal pass.) (Ps 112:7; Isa 26:3+), see 10522
To trust in YHVH is to be secure in Him, to hope in His deliverance. This is how it is explained in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
In Hebrew, bāṭaḥ expresses that sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. It is significant that the LXX never translates this word with πιστευω “believe in” but with ελπιζω “to hope,” in the positive sense “to rely on God” or πειφομαι “to be persuaded,” for the negative notion for relying on what turns out to be deceptive. This would seem to indicate that bāṭaḥ does not connote that full-orbed intellectual and volitional response to revelation which is involved in “faith,” rather stressing the feeling of being safe or secure. Likewise, all the derivatives have the same meaning “to feel secure,” “be unconcerned.”3
Who do you trust?
While we cannot force YHVH’s will in any way, by trusting in Him, we are given the instruction not to put our assurance in anything or anyone else. Our security should be in YHVH only. Trusting something or someone else will end in disgrace, shame and destruction. We will go into more detail later.
In general, the OT contrasts the validity of that sense of confidence which comes from reliance upon God with the folly of any other kind of security. It is made plain that all such trust will end in disgrace and shame (Ps 31:14 [H 15], see bôš), whereas those whose hope is in God alone
- will be delivered from their enemies (Ps 22:4 [H 5]);
- their prayers will be answered (I Chr 5:20);
- they will walk in straight paths (Prov 3:5);
- will be given joy and gladness (Ps 16:9; 33:21);
- will know inner peace and absence of fear (Ps 4:8 [H 9]; Isa 26:3); etc. Hence, the repeated admonition to trust in the Lord (Prov 16:20; Isa 30:15; Jer 17:7).3
We only have two choices; we can choose to trust in YHVH or not to trust in Him, but in ourselves or people. The latter leading to disgrace, shame and possibly apostasy. YHVH instructs us to trust in Him, not in man.
Do not trust in man
5 Thus says YHVH, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from YHVH. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH And whose trust is YHVH. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
Contemplate verse 8; he who trusts in YHVH will be like a tree planted by water. There is another reference in Scripture where the righteous is described as a tree in almost the exact same words.
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of YHVH, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
In Psalm 1 the one who delights in the law of YHVH and who meditates in His law is described as a tree planted by water. Looking at the rest of the passage in Jeremiah, we can conclude the following:
We are to trust in YHVH and be obedient to His instructions. We are to use His Word for guidance, not man’s!
There are, at least, two passages from the book of Isaiah that shows us what YHVH will do, if we choose to trust in the plans of man. In both passages, we see YHVH instructing what He requires, where after He continues to describe what will happen if man decides to follow his own plan.
15 For thus YHVH Elohim, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing, 16 And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses,” Therefore you shall flee! “And we will ride on swift horses,” Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift. 17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one man; You will flee at the threat of five, Until you are left as a flag on a mountain top And as a signal on a hill.
10 Who is among you that fears YHVH, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of YHVH and rely on his Elohim. 11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire, Who encircle yourselves with firebrands, Walk in the light of your fire And among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand: You will lie down in torment.
Both times YHVH told them to trust Him, but both times they decided to follow their own plans. In the second reference, the darkness points to difficulty, but they chose to make their own light. Those who choose to follow man or their own plans will surely be destroyed by those very plans they made to save themselves. These are hard words, especially for us humans, who always want to be in control. We want to feel secure in ourselves, making our own plans to get through difficult times. When we are not in control, we feel insecure, but YHVH wants us to put our security in Him. It pleases Him when we do…
6 And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to Elohim, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out.
Those who do not trust in YHVH, will fall away
Except for wanting to please YHVH, there is another important reason for trusting in YHVH. The author of Hebrews gave a stern warning! He also compares not trusting, with having an evil heart.
12 Watch out, brothers, so that there will not be in any one of you an evil heart lacking trust, which could lead you to apostatize from the living Elohim!
The Greek word “apostenai” was translated as apostatize, here is some more light on the word.
34.26 παραπίπτω; ἐκπίπτωc; ἀποστρέφομαιb; ἀφίσταμαιb (and 2nd aorist active): to abandon a former relationship or association, or to dissociate (a type of reversal of beginning to associate)—‘to fall away, to forsake, to turn away.’
παραπίπτω: παραπεσόντας, πάλιν ἀνακαινίζειν εἰς μετάνοιαν ‘once they fall away, (it is impossible) to bring them back to repent again’ He 6:6.
ἐκπίπτωc: τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε ‘you have turned away from the grace (of God)’ Ga 5:4. Note, however, that the underlying structure of the expression τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε really involves ‘turning away from God who has shown grace.’ For another interpretation of ἐκπίπτω in Ga 5:4, see 90.72.
ἀποστρέφομαιb: πολὺ μᾶλλον ἡμεῖς οἱ τὸν ἀπ’ οὐρανῶν ἀποστρεφόμενοι ‘how much less (shall) we (escape) if we turn away from the one (who speaks) from heaven’ He 12:25.
ἀφίσταμαιb: ἐν τῷ ἀποστῆναι ἀπὸ θεοῦ ζῶντος ‘that he will turn away from the living God’ He 3:12.1
He goes further in telling us what would happen to those who fall away…
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of Elohim and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of Elohim and put Him to open shame.
What happens if we don’t trust YHVH? We either make our own plans or follow after someone who we think knows what to do. We have seen earlier what YHVH thinks of this.
“See to it that no one misleads you”
The times we live in are changing and are becoming increasingly difficult, especially for believers. Many believe that we are close to the second coming of Y’shua, due to their interpretation of Scripture. These people have many followers, who go after them blindly. We have already seen a few false end-time dates passing by and with it, its consequences; people whose faith was destroyed. Some have even committed suicide. It is like the story of the boy who cried wolf!
What did Y’shua say when He was asked when these things would take place? He said “see to it that no one misleads you”(Matt 24:4)
Take heed of this warning! Study YHVH’s Word and listen to Him speaking to you. Focus on living righteously, not on knowing when the end would be. If we have a strong relationship with Him, He will lead us.
We are at liberty to choose our own shepherd. Who do you choose?
3 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Are we following the voice of strangers?
False teachers destroy the faith of believers
These strangers or false teachers destroy people’s faith. Do you think those who followed Harold Camping, who “prophesied” the end of the world twice, still has any faith left? Some would surely have fallen away.
It will be the same with those within the Messianic movement who follow false prophets. These false teachers will destroy their faith, and they will fall into apostasy. Not only, that, but they destroy the credibility of the movement as well, it gives it a cult status. Many people will be led astray, and many who are searching will reject the truth when they hear it. They will do research and see all these missed dates that were set, and they will reject the truth because of this.
If we choose to follow these “strangers,” it will only be a matter of time before our faith is destroyed. We see, in the epistle of Timothy, how men who have gone astray can upset the faith of some.
2 Timothy 2:17–18
17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
The word upset means to overturn or destroy
False teachers, are not false teachers by their own desire. They are convinced that they are sharing truth. However, we must always remember that they are people, just like you and me, who can also be deceived in some areas. We are therefor to study the Scripture for ourselves and have our own relationship with YHVH. We cannot piggy-back on theirs.
We have said this before, and will probably say it again, please be aware of this. Be like the Bereans, do your own study of the Scriptures and verify everything you learn from others.
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (375–376). New York: United Bible Societies.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Oswalt, J. N. (1999). 233 בָּטַח. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (101). Chicago: Moody Press.
Tags: apostasy, belief, commandements, deceived, deception, end times, faith, false prophets, False Teachers, instructions, Law, obedience, obedience follows repentance, relationship, Tanakh, trust, Y'Shua, Yhvh
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