Whom do you Trust?
Whom Do You Trust? (Jeremiah 17:5-10)
On the first Sunday of a new decade, we would do well to face the most basic of questions. Where does your ultimate trust rest? There are two places to deposit your ultimate confidence. You may place your ultimate trust in human beings. You may put your ultimate trust in God. When you trust the one, you do not place trust in the other.
Jeremiah waged an inner battle and conducted a debate with himself at the point of ultimate trust. Would he rely on humankind or on God and God alone? The heart and soul of Jeremiah's prophecy turns on the question: "Do I ultimately rely on God or human cleverness?"
Your well-being depends on your total trust in God, not in yourself, your family, your vocation, or your network.
Ultimate Reliance on Mere Humans Curses Life
Life can indeed be lived under a curse that blasts life. This is the Word of the eternal One. He does not desire to curse life. Yet life that places reliance on mere humans inherently curses itself.
The reason for life that curses itself is misplaced trust (v. 5). When a mere person places ultimate reliance on man as man, that person relies on mere dust. The Hebrew word for trust indicates throwing oneself forward toward an object in order to rest on it. When you trust humans you lean on dust (Gen. 3:19). The life that habitually trusts human strength will be desperately disappointed. We chose between the "arm of God" or "the arm of flesh." God rescues us repeatedly with His invisible but mighty arm (Ex. 6:6). When we lean on any human arm, we lean on flesh that will collapse as weak and perishable.
Where is your confidence? If life falls apart, to what do you turn? Ultimately, nothing in the human dimension is adequate. Your own mind, body or appearance will change. Your family, vocation, or network will desert you. If your ultimate reliance is on any of these, you live under a curse.
The result of life under a curse is despair. When you fail to trust God alone, life is diminished, deprived, and deserted. Jeremiah uses poetic language to describe the man who refuses to trust God. He tells us what the man is, what he misses, and where he dwells.
Refusal to trust God alone diminishes life. "He will be like a bush in the wastelands." A barren bush, a dry scrub, a stunted shrub in a wilderness! Such bushes were stripped naked and bare by the desert goats. The person who refuses to trust God ekes out an existence in a barren life.
Refusal to trust God alone deprives life. "He will not see prosperity when it comes." The person who refuses to trust God alone has no eye for the good when it comes. Misery in the midst of prosperity characterizes the affluent life that does not trust God alone.
Refusal to trust God means a deserted life. "He will dwell in the parched places of the desert" (v. 6). Life that refuses trust in God means life in a parched, stony wasteland, uninhabitable and isolated. The person who refuses trust in God is terribly and finally alone with his own inadequacy.
Ultimate Reliance on God Blesses Life
Life can and should be lived under the blessing of God. When you place your total confidence in God, there are resources, responses, and reaction that give well-being.
Life that trusts God alone finds faithful resources. "He will be like a tree planted by the water." What a contrast with life like a shrub in the desert! Trust in God alone means available resources, regardless of external circumstances. Such resources are hidden. They belong to the wellsprings of life that only God can give (Ps. 42:1; 46:4; John 7:39, KJV). God's resources are abundant. The plural word "waterbrooks" suggests more than one stream of resource: Best of all, these resources for life are independent of our inhuman environment. When drought comes, the stream still flows.
Life that trusts God alone makes vital responses: "that sends out its roots by the stream." There is vigor and vitality in God and God alone. This life is not passive. It actively and energetically thrusts out its roots deeper and deeper into the great Source. While life without God dwarfs, withers, and retreats, life in God grows.
Life that trusts God alone demonstrates stable reactions. In adversity "It does not fear when heat comes." When the heat is on, this life stands stable. In insufficiency "it has no worry in a year of drought" (v. 8). When all outside resources dry up, there is stability because this life is sustained by an inner secret.
Only God Can Reveal to You Where Your Reliance Rests
How do I know whether my ultimate trust rests in God or humans? Only God can reveal that to me.
You cannot know your own heart. By description "the heart is deceitful above all things." There is a crookedness and twistedness in the human heart. Our own heart deliberately dogs our own heels in order to betray us. By diagnosis the heart is "beyond cure." The human heart at its best is dangerously sick. The diagnosis is "terminal." Unaided by God, our response to our own heart must be despair: "Who can know it?" (v. 9, NKJV). No one can fathom the secrets or pierce the darkness of his own heart. This is especially true in the question of our ultimate trust. Only God can tell you who you really trust.
Your hope rests in this. God does know your heart (v. 10). God and God alone explores your heart, probes your mind, and assays your emotions. God has the clue to the maze and can descend into the dark cavern of our inward life. Be still before God. He will reveal to you the basis of your trust. He will draw to Himself and deposit your trust on Himself.