“But blessed is the [wo]man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)
I am a great self-critic. So was the prophet Jeremiah. He enumerated his personal struggles and feelings in great detail throughout his writings, and I am often drawn to him in times of extreme trial. In Chapter 17, where he wrote today’s verse, he continues to offer warning of disaster, coupled with the promise of finding comfort through trust and confidence in God and engaging in conduct in accordance with His will.
Like me, Jeremiah was also reflective and sought to empower with words of wisdom. In verses 5-9, some of the most memorable in the Chapter, Jeremiah enumerates the ways in which the value of placing trust in God exceeds that of placing trust in others.
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. ”But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 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.” (Jeremiah 17:5-9, NIV)
The ultimate reward of confidence and trust in God is salvation. However, there are a myriad of temporal (earthly) rewards to be enjoyed by placing our trust in Him as well. For example, our level of confidence and trust in Him alleviates the unproductive process of worry and resultant negative consequences. The majority of things that we tend to worry about, we have no control over anyway – so doesn’t it make sense to rely on God’s mercy and plan?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to this life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you?(Matthew 6:27-30, NIV)
Confidence in Him comes with trusts.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Confidence in Him also dictates our conduct. As Jeremiah notes,
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool. A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary.” (Jeremiah 17:10-12)
I am mindful of the sacrifices of various Martyrs here, who, having placed all of their trust in Him, were executed as a result. Ultimately, these individuals attained the ultimate reward. Most, if not all of them, also blessed others through their conduct — providing comfort, and alleviating pain and suffering for many. There is little better than knowing that you have given someone cause for hope, to empower them to be all that they can be, or even have made them smile and forget their circumstances for the moment.
I seek, therefore, to enhance my conduct through strengthening my trust and confidence in Him.
Almighty Father, I am blessed through having trust and confidence in you. May I strengthen and use that trust and confidence to mitigate my undue worry and make my path straight. May I act in accordance with your will and purpose so that when you search my heart and examine my mind, my conduct is not found wanting. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.