Wednesday, August 14

Who you gonna trust?

Scripture: Jeremiah 16-17, Psalm 96, John 16

Jeremiah 17:5–8 

5 This is what the Lord says: 

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, 

who draws strength from mere flesh 

and whose heart turns away from the Lord. 

6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; 

they will not see prosperity when it comes. 

They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, 

in a salt land where no one lives. 

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, 

whose confidence is in him. 

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water 

that sends out its roots by the stream. 

It does not fear when heat comes; 

its leaves are always green. 

It has no worries in a year of drought 

and never fails to bear fruit.”

Observation

In this prophetic vignette, the Lord contrasts the person who trusts in himself (or others) and the one who trusts the Lord.  Israel was constantly turning away from God, trusting in themselves and their own schemes and strength or in political alliances rather than trusting the Lord.  Hence, this word: one is cursed, the other blessed.

Cursed is the one who turns away from the Lord and trusts himself.  He is a like a bush in a desert, barren and dry, and will not see prosperity. It doesn’t end well for the person who “trusts in man.”

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.  He is like a tree planted by the stream, and has no fear of the heat or drought.  His leaves are always green and he is always fruitful.  It ends well for the person who “trusts in the Lord.”

Application

Trusting in the Lord, not man, doesn’t mean that we have no initiative or do nothing for ourselves.  One of the key premises in our work among the poor is that you never do for someone what they can (and should) do for themselves.  This is dishonoring and disempowering.  In the same way, when God asks us to trust Him, I don’t believe He expects us to do nothing and let Him do everything.  That would be consigning us to perpetual infancy.  There are many things God clearly expects us to do.

But as we do what He told us, we trust Him over ourselves.  We trust that His wisdom is better than ours, that His power is greater than ours, that His ways are higher than ours—and we follow happily.  We live with grateful dependence on Him.  

Trusting the Lord has several powerful consequences.  

First, you have no fear or worry.  No fear of the heat; no worries in a drought.  Drought and heat can’t harm you—you are planted by the water.  

Second, your leaves are always green—you are constantly filled with new life.  You are well-watered and provided for.

Third, you are always fruitful.  This calls to mind John 15 (yesterday)—if we stay connected to Jesus, we’ll bear much fruit.  

Proverbs 3:5–6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Today, watch for opportunities to trust the Lord—times to lean on Him and submit to Him.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You today, and recognize opportunities in my schedule to do that well.