Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 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.
Our Verse of the Day is a timely reminder about trusting the Lord and placing our confidence in Him!
The Lord tells us, through the Prophet Jeremiah, that blessing and cursing are determined by where; or rather, in whom we place our trust. The ones who trust in themselves … in their abilities as humans or the abilities of other people … whose hearts are not turned toward God … will not be blessed but left desolate. But the ones who trust in God … who place their full confidence (faith) in Him … will be blessed. They will be as a tree planted by the water and kept alive and bear fruit! Let’s look at the didactic metaphors used in the larger passage:
Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NIV)
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. 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. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. 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.”
In the context of the incessant tribulations sweeping our world, we need to keep historical experience and perspective in mind. World-wide pandemics and pestilences have plagued humans over the millennia of human history. Famines, droughts, swarms of locust, earthquakes, powerful weather systems, etc. have occurred; and it is probable they will continue to do so. History is filled with wars, violence, and other human conflicts ever since Cain and Abel. But God has always taken care of those who trust Him. His care does not mean we will be free of hardship or suffering. But we can be confident that WHEN the heat of trials and difficulties comes, we will be watered. We will be refreshed. He is Jehovah-Jireh … the God who provides!
Further, we need to remember that God will work through every circumstance in our lives to grow our faith in Him … to help us become more rooted in His Word, more transformed in our thinking, and more fruitful in our lives. His desire is to conform us to the image of His Son. Considered what Paul affirmed in this regard:
Romans 8:28-32 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
What we can see in this passage is the unfailing love and promises of God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Whatever happens in the days ahead, we KNOW that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him … for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose. We do not have to be afraid; rather we can believe Him at His Word. As with Joshua, I believe we too can hear the voice of God saying: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Cf. Joshua 1:9) As Paul asked, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And further along, Paul will ask: “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” And his conclusion? Our conclusion? “No, in ALL these things (everything we WILL endure in life) we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Cf. Romans 8:33-39)
Note that our troubles and trials will not only be the physical realities of hardship and suffering that will test us; there will be spiritual challenges and battles in the midst of this tribulation as well. Satan will use any occasion and attempt to use it to disrupt our faith … plant seeds of doubt … and entice us to question the love of God. But thanks be to God, we have Jesus! Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Cf. John 16:33) “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? ONLY the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (Cf. 1 John 5:4-5)
Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Here, Paul emphasizes the power of the Spirit of God to produce perseverance and to expose the real war … the real battle that is going on. I believe what is happening in our natural world is a reflection of what is going on in the heavenly realms … the Kingdom of Light at war with the kingdom of darkness. Yes, in the natural we can see enemies and threats to our physical lives; but I pray that more believers will now begin to see with spiritual eyes that we are fighting another adversary of our minds and hearts … the spiritual forces of evil in this world. And so, we need to be equipped! We need to be strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power. All of the spiritual armor serves its purpose to protect us … to defend us from the assault; but do not overlook that we have an OFFENSIVE spiritual weapon. That weapon is the sword of the Spirit … which is the Word of God (Truth). (Cf. Ephesians 6:14-17)
My friends, as we persevere in faith in these times of uncertainty and upheaval, we need to encourage one another and build one another up … just as you are doing. (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:11) We need to encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of us may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Cf. Hebrews 3:13) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but encouraging each another, and more so as you see the Day approaching. (Cf. Hebrews 10:24-25) Yes, it is vital that we stay connected and continue to care for one another….
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24