In God We Trust.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
In who or what do you place your trust? This is an important question to God. And it’s one He knows the answer to, even if we don’t. God knew that the people of Judah were no longer trusting in Him. They were trusting in other gods, other nations, their own strength, their king, and the military might of their army. But they were NOT trusting in God. And God told them what would happen for failing to trust Him. “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:5 NLT). These individuals would be like stunted shrubs in the desert with no hope for the future. They would be barren, lifeless shrubs attempting to survive in harsh, drought conditions. No fruit. No life. Ho hope.
But God says that those who trust in Him – who put their hope and confidence in Him – will experience a completely different outcome. They will be like a tree that sits on the bank of a river flowing with life-giving water. They will grow and prosper. They will develop deep roots that reach down into the soil. So even if the times of drought come and the river dries up, they will still be able to survive and thrive because their roots will have access to an invisible source of nourishment. Their leaves will stay green and they will continue to produce fruit. This passage does not promise a lack of trouble or trials for those who trust in the Lord. It promises that those who place their trust in God will discover a source of strength and sustenance they didn’t even know was there – even in the midst of struggles. They will find themselves producing fruit even in the most difficult of times. Because God is doing it in them and through them. He is the source of their fruitfulness. This is not a gut-it-up, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps message. This is not telling us to work up our confidence or muster up some trust. The Hebrew word for trust carries the idea of confidence in something or someone else. It is a dependence or security found in the trustworthiness of another. It is less about my ability to trust than the other person’s trustworthiness. I rest in and place my confidence in God, because He is fully trustworthy. The tree in God’s analogy does not work at trusting in the water source, it simply takes advantage of it. It rests in it. And grows accordingly.
This passage reminds me of one of the prayers of Paul found in his letter to the Colossian church. Listen to what he says. “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy…” (Colossians 1:9-11 NLT). What does Paul say is the key to living fruitful lives? It is the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from knowing God’s will. It is resting in and trusting in God’s will for our lives as revealed in His Word and disclosed through the indwelling Holy Spirit. As I seek and obey God’s will, I will see fruit produced in my life – not by me, but by the Spirit of God. I will find myself growing spiritually and I will know that only God could have produced that growth, not me. As a result, I will grow to know Him better and better. And I will find strength in His power that gives me the power to endure and the patience I need to continue to trust Him. And this will produce in me a joy that rejoices even in the midst of trials.
It all begins when I place my trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Because of what He has done, I can do what God has called me to do. I can live the life He has called me to live. I can rest in His provision and not in my own strength. I don’t have to rely on human strength. Because it will fail me every time. But God never fails. He never runs dry. He never leaves me high and dry. I can trust Him.
Father, I want to learn to trust You more and more. I want to have a growing knowledge of Your will. I want to have spiritual wisdom and understanding so that my life will always honor and please You. I want my life to produce every kind of good fruit. But I know that none of that is possible in my own flesh. It must all come from You. And it was all made possible by You through Your Son’s death on the cross. May I learn to rest in that fact more and more every day. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men