It is hard to speak of trust in a world filled with deception. It is hard to trust when you have been misled and taken advantage of. Life experiences often drive us to put up walls and to hold back our trust. On a daily basis, we find things we cannot trust, but deep inside we want to trust. What is trust? Psalm 112 describes a person who has an amazing relationship with God and one of the facets of this relationship is trust.

מִשְּׁמוּעָה רָעָה לֹא יִירָא נָכוֹן לִבּוֹ בָּטֻחַ בַּיהוה
(mishmuah raah lo yira nachon libo batach bAdonai)
He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast,
trusting in the LORD. (Psalm 112:7 NASB).

No one enjoys receiving bad news (evil tidings), yet we all do sooner or later. The bad news comes to us in many varieties: a debilitating illness, a severe injury, the loss of a loved one, rejection, betrayal, etc.  How we react to bad news affects our lives profoundly. The man described in this Psalm, “does not fear” לֹא יִירָא (lo yira), “his heart is steadfast” נָכוֹן לִבּוֹ (nachon libo) and, “he trusts in YHWH” בָּטֻחַ בַּיהוה (batuach bAdonai). The Hebrew verb בָּטַח (batach), often translated as “trust,” expresses an idea of hope, reliance, and confidence. In fact, the contemporary Hebrew noun בִּטָּחוֹן (bitachon) is used to describe for the office of national security (משרד הבטחון) in modern Hebrew.

The rabbis often teach that our spiritual “reliance” on God בִּטָּחוֹן (bitachon) is not necessarily based on our past life experiences. Rather, like one’s faith, this “confidence” בִּטָּחוֹן (bitachon) shapes our experience and reality moving forward. Relying on God and His goodness, His involvement in our lives, and His protection when we receive “bad news” is what gives a person the ability to trust and move on. In Judaism, the story of the Binding of Isaac (which displays Abraham’s ultimate trust in God) is so central that it is literally read every morning before an observant Jew embarks on his day. Whether a person is a Jew, a Christian, both, or somewhere in between, one’s trust is an amazing attitude, a behavior of confidence, and an unshaken sense of security that can only come from knowing God and what He is like intimately.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing this!!! I truly love the Hebrew noun meaning. Knowing I have ‘national security’ has certainly helped me tremendously! God Bless you! Shalom!

  2. When you trust in the Lord, everything falls into place. We have His wonderful plan recorded for our benefit to show why He created us and our future place in His Kingdom. We see a marvelous drama unfold with creation, the fall of mankind and his continual downward spiral with a constant hope of a savior who was promised in the beginning, who was written about by Moses and the prophets, and who finally arrived after the intermission (400 years of silence after Malachi). We see prophecies fulfilled to help us trust that all will happen as He said.

  3. Why don’t we have living prophets today? They were had among the Israelites, why not now? We need a true prophet today to know what the word of God is in our day? Are you a living prophet today? Could God speak to a prophet today? Thanks!

    • Dear Dale, I personally believe God can give people prophetic messages. Hashem has not changed. I do not believe in self-proclaimed prophets though. There may be people who are prophets (just like in the Bible) but are they willing to submit themselves and their messages to the authority of community (leaders and elders) as the ancient prophets did? Torah says that a prophet who utters words in God’s name that turn out to be false is to be stoned to death. If people who presume to be modern-day prophets are willing to be accountable as the Torah requires then we

  4. Tell me what it was that Abraham knew from God’s command to offer Isaac as a burnt offering and how he was able to know it. Perhaps then I will consider looking into your offer. Just guarding my own heart here. Nothing more…

  5. Thanks Prof.Shir for your article. I am blessed. Please do me a favor. Is there any difference between trust and faith in hebrew thought? Thanks..Shalom

  6. trust seeks confirmation in truth: if you care about it. Faith resides consistent, a constant source to energize or propel, the substance, some say substantiating of things unseen. there was a tightrope walker who stretched a cable across Niagara falls. He had an empty barrel and a balancing stick. He walked over to a crowd that had formed to watch the activity and asked a man, ‘Do you believe I can walk on that barrel, on that cable, balancing it and cross all the way to the other side?’ The man said, ‘Yes, I believe you can. ‘The tightrope walker said ‘Good, get in the barrel.’ Belief, trust, faith, it’s all at work there.

  7. Thank you Professor. These are the type of issues we really need to talk about! To me trust means more about leaning, as mentioned earlier. It has something to do with a heart commitment. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and HE will direct your paths. We absolutely need to know how to trust Him because we have to learn to live without unconsciously following the ways of the world, which involves trying to be in control… The word of God is so powerful. I love the explanations you add from the HEBREW. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

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