1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson on Faith and Trust.

 

I am going to take a one week intermission in our study of the book of Daniel in order to teach a lesson on two subjects that should be of very much interest to every Christian. 

 

I first taught this lesson to this class in March of 1998 and if you heard it that long ago it is stored in the farthest reaches of your mind and Iím sure it could use some refreshment.  

 

This lesson concerns two very important words to the Christian, the words faith and trust. 

 

Some may think of these words as being very similar in meaning but there are also some unique differences in the words which we ought to learn.

 

When I taught this lesson over ten years ago it was centered around the wonderful and very familiar verses in Proverbs 3:5,6, that instruct us to:

 

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

The word trust appears in the Old Testament 107 times while in the New Testament it appears 27 times. 

 

The word faith appears in the Old Testament only 2 times but in the New Testament it appears 245 times. 

 

The books of John, II and III John do not use the word faith. 

 

In fact John only uses the word faith once in his writings in the book of 1 John 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

 

The word "faith" occurs in the book of Romans, 34 times while in the book of Hebrews it occurs 31 times, 20 times in Galatians and 18 times in 1st Timothy. 

 

The book of Galatians with 20 occurrences uses the word faith at the highest rate per chapter (3.33) with 1st Timothy next (3.0), Hebrews next (2.38) and Romans next (2.22).

 

The word trust is most used in the Psalms, 50 times, next in Isaiah, 17 times, Jeremiah, 9 times and in the New Testament it is used most in 2 Corinthians, 7 times, however it is used at the highest rate per chapter in 1 Tim, being used 4 times in 6 chapters.

 

Many times we use the words faith and trust interchangeably but there are distinctions in the words that we should know.

 

Heb 11:1 says:  Now faith is the substance (the foundation upon which hope is built) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 

The word faith as used in this verse is the english translation of the greek word pistis.

 

It means persuasion.

 

It means credence or certainty or moral conviction of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher. 

 

Websterís 1828 dictionary says that faith is the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another resting on his authority and veracity without other evidence. 

 

In theology faith is the assent of the mind to the truth of what God has revealed. 

 

Paul expressed his faith when in 2 Tim 1:12 he said this: For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

 

Paul's hope was built upon a settled conviction or persuasion of things not yet actual but certain to become so. 

 

He could sing My hope is built (faith) on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

 

For he knew whom he believed. 

 

Faith is built upon knowing in whom you believe. 

 

A person lives a life for God and his testimony is such that others know him to be a person who will conduct himself according to the word of God. 

 

They have an assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by his testimony and they relate to him in the future because of that testimony. 

 

They act in accordance with their faith in him.

 

They exhibit faith in him, this is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

 

Matthew Henry in his commentary states it this way:

 

It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first‑fruits and foretastes of them.

Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good.

 

What is trust then?  Is trust and faith identical? 

 

The word trust as used in Proverbs 3:5 is from the Hebrew word  batach, baw‑takh'. 

 

It means to flee for refuge, to be confident or sure: to be bold in fleeing.

 

Another word translated trust many times in the Old Testament is from the Hebrew word chacah, khaw‑saw' which means to flee for protection, to make refuge.

 

Trust then is an action word. 

 

It is a word which indicates movement to a place of safety from a place of danger. 

 

Note the defining word flee.

 

Trust then indicates an urgency of action. 

 

Something must be done and it must be done now. 

 

It is a recognition that refuge is needed. 

 

It is a recognition that protection must be sought. 

 

It is not something to be put off, for time is wasting and danger is increasing as the time presses on. 

 

Action is required!

 

Isn't this ever true in life as time marches on and you are not saved? 

 

Don't the ones who go through life without Jesus Christ continually head toward the abyss? 

 

Didn't Jesus say that the danger from plucking your right eye out or cutting your right hand off was less danger then your whole body being cast into hell?

 

Flee from danger to a place of safety and faith tells you where to find that refuge.

 

Trust reveals that refuge and protection must be sought. 

 

So this is where faith comes in. 

 

Faith reveals from where that refuge and protection is to come.

 

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. 

 

But is the Lord the place of refuge and protection?

 

I know that I am supposed to trust for I am in danger. 

 

But am I sure that I am supposed to trust in the Lord.

 

That is what faith does. 

 

By faith I am convinced that the Lord is the place of refuge and protection. 

 

My mind assents to this.

 

Faith then is the engine that causes the movement of trust.

 

The Old Testament scriptures exhibit occasion after occasion of this kind of trust and it is always described as escape from places of danger to a place of refuge.

 

David spoke of this trust in 2 Sam 22:2,3,  And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

 

Psa 9:9,10,  The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

 

Psa 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

 

Psa 62:7,8  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

 

Psa 91:2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

 

My Bridge Story Ė In 1960, in my first engineering job out of college I was hired by Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago for the position of a railroad bridge designer.  

 

I did not begin to design bridges the first day I arrived because I did not know how to design a railroad bridge. 

 

You ask, What did you learn in college if you didnít know how to design a railroad bridge. 

 

Well I learned the same things that all college students are to learn, simply the tools of the trade.  Didn't know much!

 

After college is when you learn the application of the tools of the trade and most times you learn those on the job. 

 

So those first few months I was assigned portions of designs so I could learn the components of bridge building and eventually by these experiences learn to design a complete bridge. 

 

The time came when I was given a complete bridge design and I applied the things I learned in college and on the job. 

 

My boss exercised little faith in me, knowing of course that experienced bridge designers would check my work. 

 

I worked hard on that bridge knowing that I was being carefully watched and if I wanted to design greater bridges I must perform well in little bridges.

 

The bridge was eventually built somewhere in Louisiana.

 

And the highlight of my bridge design career was when the grizzled old bridge builder foreman called the office and complimented the design, telling my boss that all components had fit very well and he was proud of the finished product. 

 

This was not a normal thing for a grizzled old bridge builder foreman to be passing out compliments especially to young engineers.

 

But this was extremely good for me because I was now building a track record and my boss could count on me to do a good job for him.  

 

This bridge foreman communicated his faith in the bridge he had built and I had designed. 

 

He knew good bridges when he saw one and he said he saw one in this bridge. 

 

But what would my boss have said if the grizzled old bridge builder had said this was a good bridge but he did not want to take a locomotive with all its heavy cars across this bridge? 

 

Would his faith be accepted as faith?  Of course not. 

 

What shows that his faith in this bridge is true faith? 

 

Why it is his willingness to cross the bridge with the heaviest load the railroad permitted and to know that that bridge would do its job. 

 

That action shows true faith. 

 

Having faith in the bridge designer, the bridge builders and the bridge materials will lead to faith in the bridge. 

 

But unless that faith leads you to be on the first and heaviest train to cross that bridge that faith is not faith. 

 

For true faith leads to trusting. 

 

You may say that you have faith but if that faith does not lead to trusting you might as well throw out that kind of faith. 

 

If the train never crosses the bridge you might as well dismantle the bridge and sell it for scrap! 

 

The bridge is useless!

 

If your faith never leads you to that place of refuge that the Lord provides, that faith is vain.

 

So the Proverbs father of chapter wants his son to exhibit true faith that leads to trusting. 

 

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

Notice what is taking place here. 

 

God acknowledges that you are on a path. 

 

Movement on that path is taking place here. 

 

God wants you to know that trust is taking place here for it is natural to move to a place of safety and protection. 

 

It is natural to trust.

 

But God is entering the picture. 

 

He says that it is natural to trust in your own understanding as you seek a place of refuge. 

 

But he cautions that your own understanding will not bring you to a safe place of refuge. 

 

The bridges that you choose are faulty bridges, bridges without foundation.

 

You do not have a complete understanding nor will you ever have a complete understanding of the bridges of life.

 

So he invites you to join him on his bridge.

 

He invites you to exercise faith in him and that faith will move you to acknowledge him as the one whose path or bridge is truly a refuge and a place of protection.

 

But what is the danger that He is concerned about? 

 

Why is it important to trust, to flee to a place of refuge?

 

Note verse 6:  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

What is the cause of God's concern? 

 

Well, it is your ways that concern him. 

 

Your ways must then be a place of danger, your ways must be a place that you must flee from. 

 

What are ways anyway?  The word ways in this proverb speak of a trodden down road, a well traveled path.  Ways mean a course of life or mode of action, your manner of doing anything, your habits.

 

Your manner of thinking or behavior,

Your manner of practice,

Your plan of life and conduct,

Your course, your process of things.

 

It is that which you mean when you say, WELL THAT'S THE WAY I AM!

 

You mean that God infers that my ways are dangerous to me? 

 

Yes, that is what he infers. 

 

Do not the habits or ways of the natural man lead to eternal damnation in hell?

 

By telling us to trust in the Lord he means to tell us that our ways are places of danger. 

 

He desires for us to flee our ways and to find in him a place of refuge, a place of protection.

 

If you get stuck on the exclamation of "WELL THAT'S THE WAY I AM!" that will get you a one way ticket to hell. 

 

That way is not acceptable to God!  God desires that you flee your ways and consult the Lord about your ways. 

 

He wants you to not lean to your ways as truth but to know that your ways will lead you to evil and sin.