“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This is really a marked contrast by the prophet here. Our temptation in this life is to trust in ourselves or another person. In other words, we are most inclined to trust in what we can see, not in what we can’t. And, from the perspective of the world, this makes perfect sense. Why would I place my trust in what I cannot see when there is something or someone in front of me promising me help and who has a good record of following through on his promises?
Yet such is not the way of life, but the way of death when it leads us to trust in someone or something other than the Lord. It is, as Jeremiah describes it here, to set up a residence in the desert. You may be able to cling to life for a time, but the lack of water will eventually dry you up and leave you empty. The death will begin to drag you down inside and out. You will find yourself trying to suck the water of life from sources where it cannot be found. Such a one is cursed.
The alternative is to place our trust in the Lord. There are blessings in abundance to be found there. There is life without interruption as well. We will be in a place then to receive the spiritual sustenance and nourishment we need when we need them. We won’t ever have to go looking for them because they will always be at hand.
I like the last part here particularly well. When we are in a season of drought we will not have to worry or be afraid. There will be no cause for anxiety in our hearts because the deep well of the Spirit will continue to feed us even then. We will continue producing fruit. And, because it is fruit that will have been strengthened and sweetened by adversity, it will be particularly satisfying. Connected to the source of life as we are, our own roots will grow deeper and stronger until not even the strongest storm can pull us up or blow us down. We will remain. We will remain in the Lord.
Don’t trust in people. Love them. Care for them. Be in relationships with them that see yours and their needs met. But don’t make them the ultimate object of your trust. Put your trust in the Lord. The rest will fall into place.