Jeremiah 17:7-8 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. 8 He 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.” NIV
I heard this verse as I attended my daughter Jamie’s hooding as she received her masters degree last night (tonight is the graduation). Not only was I swelling with pride, but as I heard these words from Jeremiah as the speaker sought to inspire the graduates, I was encouraged to continue to put my trust and confidence in God.
The challenge in this chapter of Jeremiah (and, yes, I encourage you to get out your Bible and read Jeremiah chapter 17) is not to put your trust and confidence in man’s way, but to choose to trust in God’s way by living life His way and being confident that even through tough life circumstances we will still flourish and be productive.
The truth is ‘heat comes’ in life – we lose a job, we lose a friend, we lose a loved one, finances are tight, we make mistakes, accidents happen, internal struggles well up, we feel down, relationships don’t work out as we hoped…and we all could add a few more to this list. Heat, struggles, and suffering comes because it’s part of life. Yet, in those times we are to trust in the LORD. Remember this verse (one of my favorites).
Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
But how do we do that? The answer is in the next few verses:
Proverbs 3:7-8 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
So to trust in the LORD means not to trust in our own worldly wisdom, our ‘own eyes’, or as Proverbs 3:5 says our own human wisdom, but to ‘fear’ God. To fear God is to have a reverent respect of Him, meaning we see His way and His wisdom is paramount, the highest priority of life. Is this really true for you? Honestly ask the Lord and wait to hear what He says. It may be a wonderful affirmation or He may show you areas where you are more operating on human wisdom and not on God’s wisdom (and, yes, there is a difference between human wisdom and God’s wisdom and I bet you can think of a few examples).
One area where we struggle the most in living life God’s way is in the area of finances and money. That’s why the very next verses in Proverbs 3 deal with this.
Proverbs 3:9-10 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:7 goes on to say that trusting and having confidence in God is to ‘shun evil,’ to stop doing things God has told us not to do and start doing the things God has told us to do. So as you read your Bible, ask the Lord to show you, in light of what you just read, if there things you need to change because that’s trusting in and having confidence in God.
See, when we live life trusting and having confidence in God, though heat and droughts come, we will thrive and bring God glory. God’s way is good, perfect, and best. Continue to seek Him and know His path. Trust in Him and choose to put your confidence in Him.
Kristi and I are so looking forward to being back from sabbatical. Thank you for the privilege of being able to take this time. It has been very good. I will be in church this Sunday (yea, I get to come home!), and though I will not be preaching, I will be sharing with you a little of what God did through this time of sabbatical. I look forward to seeing you.
Grace and Peace,