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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
February 9, 2001

Thus says the Lord:
Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals
   and make mere flesh their strength,
   whose hearts turn away from the Lord.
They shall be like a shrub in the desert,
   and shall not see when relief comes.
They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness,
   in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
   whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
   sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
   and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
   and it does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NRSV*)

In whom or what do you put your trust? In this passage, we are warned against putting our trust in other people or our own strength, and told to put our trust in the Lord. This is a theme you can find in many places in scripture.

It would be a mistake to see this as preaching a "prosperity gospel" in which belief in God translates into material well-being and popularity. The prophet Jeremiah himself was hated and persecuted. This passage speaks of our inward circumstances, not our outward circumstances.

This is metaphorical. Notice the uses of "like a" indicating this. No matter in whom or what we put our trust, we may find times of drought and trouble. The issue here is how we will get through them.

If we trust in "mere mortals" and our own strength, we will not be well equipped to get through the trials of life. We will find our lives bleak and without hope. We "shall not see when relief comes" because we rely on sources that simply do not have the power to overcome the difficulties of life.

However, if we trust in the Lord and actually make the Lord our trust, we tap into the living water that never runs dry. Our roots are firmly planted in the soil of God's love and grace. The storms of life will not overcome us because the Lord will face them for us and in us. We will not be anxious because we are confident that Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33). We will remain fruitful in all circumstances because Christ lives within us.

Bill Samuel

* New Revised Standard Version ©1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches in the United States of America.

©2001 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 11:57:16 EST