When you trust someone, you are relying upon their integrity, strength, and ability. When you depend on someone, you are relying upon that person for whatever support you need. Dependence is based upon trust - without trust, you don't feel confident your dependence is rightly placed. So, wherever we place our trust, we will place our dependence. This is important for us to realize because I think we might just place our trust in things and individuals who are less than reliable - even if that "someone" is the one we seem to look at in the mirror most frequently!
Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way. Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the Lord and stay away from evil. If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body. (Proverbs 3:5-8 ERV)
Our passage assures us of the outcomes of rightly placed trust. When trust is squarely placed in the one who is totally reliable - whose integrity cannot vary, nor commitment falter - there is no need to question our dependence upon that individual either. Our trust must be squarely in the Lord - anything less will present us with lapses in integrity, strength, and ability. The idea of dependence may come as a little bit of a struggle for some who want to live live "independent" of anyone else's control or without reliance upon anyone for something in their lives. When we have grown up disappointed by those we have put our trust in, I can understand how we might develop this sense of "counting on no one"!
The problem with thinking about our dependence upon God in the same we think about our dependence upon an individual here on this earth is this whole idea of fallibility. Humans are fallible - God is not. Dependence in something other than God will definitely bring less than accurate and reliable results. Having looked high and low in the scriptures and walking this life out with Jesus right next to me for over 45 years now, I am confident when I say this - no one measures up to the reliability I need in my life like he does!
The instruction to us is twofold: 1) Put your trust in the right place; and 2) Lean into him as you make your daily decisions and go about your daily business. We make "religion" all about the church attendance, rule-keeping, and the like. God's plan was never in the rules, but in the relationship. This is why he brings us to the place of trust - for relationship begins with trust. When we are open enough to let another get close the inner "us", we begin to develop a "synthesizing" of characteristics until we begin to almost sense what the other will do.
God's instructions are plain to those who will walk close enough to let him inside their protected inner man - because his heartbeat will give a rhythm to our steps. I don't think about the beating of my own heart until I feel it pounding in my chest from the effort of heavy exertion. I am traveling this week, enjoying the great outdoors, and hiking trails in enjoyment of what God has created. As I stand high upon the mountain top and look down into those valleys below, my heartbeat is a little more rapid than usual. I am at about 7000-9000 feet above sea level and when you live at sea level, this change in altitude does a number on your body! So, my heart is working to keep up with the exertion it is being placed under.
The truth is, sometimes I feel the intensity of "heartbeat" when I am changing my position where it comes to living a little more closely to the "altitude" God wants me to be at in this life here on this earth. It isn't about my physical location, but the elevation of heart and spirit he wants to create within me. As I draw closer to him, I find my dependence upon him becomes a little easier - because I see he has nothing but good intention toward me. From the moment he provided breath for my body, to the second he breathed his Spirit into my sinful soul, he has been intent on helping me to develop a deeply-seated trust in his "good will" toward me. The same is true for each of you - humans having disappointed you with their lack of integrity - he beckons to you to trust his. You can draw near into the security of his care, not worrying what he will do with your heart, for he has created that heart and he knows each and every beat of it like it was his own. Just sayin!