“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”
If ever there were a single verse of Scripture that summarized the general responsibility of the Christian life, this could be it. We are to “Trust in the LORD, and do good.” We are to live by faith and do that which we know to do. We are always to rely upon God, trusting in Him entirely, yet never ceasing to obey His commands and principles.
Daniel B. Towner was present in a testimony service in 1886 when a man, reportedly knowing little of the great doctrines of the Bible, stood to speak. He finished his testimony by saying, “I’m not quite sure-but I’m going to trust and I’m going to obey.” Mr. Towner wrote down the man’s words and shared them with John Sammis. The result was one of the most beloved hymns of all time, “Trust and Obey.” This is great advice for the youngest child of God and also for the most mature saint.
There are two duties in this text, each with equal importance, both faith and obedience. As with many such verses, there is also a clear progression. Although obedience is critical, everything begins with faith. In the matter of salvation, one can never work his way to Heaven. We are born again when we “Trust in the LORD.” That regenerating work will manifest itself in the desire and ability to “do good.” There is also a clear balance for godly living in this profound and inspired statement. It presents the absolute necessity of both faith and obedience. Of course, faith is not passive; but living faith will result in obedience to Christ. At the same time, the effort to “do good” is not in conflict with faith, or a replacement for it.
In the Christian life, faith and works complement each other. We have all witnessed the imbalance of those who claim to be relying on God, and yet they are unwilling to obey the commands of the Word of God. We have also known those who were zealously committed to doing what they perceived to be right, but without the essential presence of faith and dependence upon God. You have probably heard the familiar saying which embodies this principle, “Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as though everything depends on you.” The remainder of this text promises great blessing for those who will “Trust in the LORD, and do good.”