When Adam and Eve first met with trouble in the Garden of Eden, they merely assumed that they had a handle on things, and continued with what they thought was right (Gen 3:6), and subsequently doomed the whole human race in sin. Then, when they realised what trouble they were in, they again turned to themselves, isolating themselves from God (Gen 3:8). If it wasn’t for God seeking them out (Gen 3:9), they would never have heard the promise of the head-crushing deliverer (Gen 3:15)!

When David sinned against God, he first kept quiet about it all, but his guilt made him feel even worse (Ps 32:3-4). It is only when he confessed his sins by acknowledging them to God in prayer (Ps 32:5) that he experienced God as His source of safety (Ps 32:7). David knew how stubborn sin makes us (Ps 32:9) and therefore instructs us (Ps 32:8) to run to the LORD in time of trouble before any joy will again fill our hearts (Ps 32:10-11).

Compounding a life-time of sin, the one thief on the cross resorted to boastful mockery when he realised how much trouble his behaviour had gotten him into (Luk 23:39). But, the other criminal, in a last-minute realisation of the true trouble that he was in, turned to Jesus, confessing his own guilt, and pleading for mercy with his eyes fixed on eternity (Luk 23:40-42). He was promised fellowship with God that very day (Luk 23:43).

Many more stories can be told from the Scriptures of resorting to self in times of trouble, or of running away from God because of trouble, or of running towards God in time of trouble. Proverbs 3:7 rebukes self and ungodliness as the recourse for life, and points us firmly to return promptly to our faith in God. Then there is again a bright future of restoration and worship (Pro 3:8-9).

Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD,
and turn away from evil

Proverbs 3:7