Jeremiah is clearly outline the choice we have regarding out faith and trust in God, and the results of the choice we make. I want to focus on verses 7-8 which are in direct contrast to verses 5-6.
17:5-6 – Cursed is the man -or in this case- the woman who trusts in herself or mere flesh. There is no deep source of strength or provision because she chooses to trust in, rely on and cling to her own abilities as the source of strength. (Oh, foolish girl!)
When we cling to the power and provision of this world, when we put our confidence in and rely on our own strength – we are literally turning aside from our need of God. And we are like bush in the wasteland… a tumbleweed. We will be parched, needy and victim to circumstances.
but the one who trusts in the LORD- She is…
- like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream
- has no fear when the heart or drought come, when circumstances are difficult
- her leaves will still be green and our lives will bear fruit
We are blessed when we trust in God. when we place out confidence in Him.
One summer walking around the lake in our neighbor in the midst of a August drought …sun had scorched most of the grass on the banks; the flowers drooped in dire need of water. Even the water level of the lake was low. But there was one tree that flourished. Green leaves provided shade, as its branches were strong and raised in defiance to the relentless sun and heat. and as I stopped for a short break I noticed the gangly roots that wound down to the water’s edge. The source of life and sustenance for this tree wasn’t the rain, or lack thereof, but came from the deep roots providing nourishment from another source.
Being blessed doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulties: the Psalm says “when the heat comes… not if”
But the woman who trusts in God is not afraid, overcome, defeated by drought and scorching heat that drain her energy, resources and hope. No, instead of relying on her own strength and trusting in her abilities and resources, she chooses to trust in God and be confident in Him. And thus she is equipped with deep roots wound down and fully anchored in His Truth. Deep in the earth, unseen on the surface…
She knows the Truth and regardless of what is seen on the surface. Her life is buried, hid in Christ and the true source of her strength, comfort and peace is unseen with physical eyes. Her trust is in God. She pulls her pull nourishment and strength from the Lord, deep in her soul.
We can do the same. When we choose to Trust in Him, our strength, limitations, and circumstances are inconsequential in the outcome. We look to the Lover of her soul with whom we have spent time developing a relationship. We know Gods heart toward us and have personally experienced His love.
We trust in God God, expectant for the blessing of being cared for, provided and carried by Him. This trust results in blessing as God sustains us- we are rooted and grounded in Him (Ephesians 3:17) – able to bloom with green leaves and bear fruit – to live with joy and, meaning and purpose when the heat and struggles come.
When have you experienced Gods sustaining presence in times of drought and difficulty?
When you have relied on your own strength, abilities and resources, what has happened?
How have you invested in your relationship with Him, getting to intimately know the Lover of your soul?
What steps can you take to grow deeper roots in Christ as you choose to trust in Him?
Think about these literal meaning of these Hebrew words and see how they expand your understanding of these verses:
- flesh (basar) – man, mankind, people,
- strength (zeroa) –literally in this verse (his own arm) power, might, help, forces,
- heart (leb)- mind, attention, will, inner most part
- departs (sur) – let go of, removes, avoids, turn aside, swerve (I like this translation as I think I swerve away from God more than defiantly turn my back and yet here they have the same impact on my life.)
- blessed (barak)- bless, benefit, prospered by God, abundance
- trust (batach) – have confidence in, are secure in, rely on
- hope (mibtach)- confidence, security, refuge, assurance
Read Ephesian 3:14-21 often called a prayer for spiritual strength.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1:1-6; Luke 16:19-31
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about ½ hour a day)
Read on Day 16: Luke 19-end