When trouble comes, who is the first to which you call? If it’s bad news, who do you rely on for comfort and strength?
This morning, I had to look myself in the eye, answer this question-truthfully. And I was not happy with the response I had to give. The scripture says, in this world you will have trouble… And I, like you, do.
My ‘trouble’, of late has not resolved quickly, but continues and continues and continues. It has been going on for more than a decade or at least I have been whining about it that long. Unfortunately, I am not joking, about the whining.
Well, as it turns out in the waiting, it has become easy for me in my discouragement to put trust in man, mere flesh instead of trusting, relying, having confidence, in the living God. Oh, it was easy to justify… this fleshly man has been gifted with skills, he has a purpose that God has given him and indirectly, God will be supplying my need… “Need?”
But as I read in the book of Jeremiah, I was confronted by God’s words…
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.
Cursed? I am not sure what that means exactly… ruin most likely or perhaps, doom? At any rate, however, cursed is defined, I don’t want it.
But thanks be to God for the next lines are; “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.”
So these are my options…I can choose to trust weak and puny flesh and cursed like that scrubby bush, alone in the desert, parched, withered, useless, fruitless, and embittered existing in a wild, lonely wasteland
I can trust the living, vibrant God and be blessed like a strong palm tree growing in the heat of the desert, yet vibrant, lush and green, healthy and fruitful, effective and useful.
Wait a second. I have heard these words before…. Yes, God said them. He said them through Moses. God said,
“Today I’m giving you the choice of a blessing or a curse. You’ll be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I’m giving you today. You’ll be cursed if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God, if you turn from the way I’m commanding you to live today, and if you worship other gods you never knew” (Deuteronomy 11: 26-28).
It all comes down to a simple, binary decision; Who do I trust when the heat comes? Will I trust God or man? And in that decision, I will pick one over the other. Will I choose blessing or curse; worship or idolatry; faith or faithlessness; desert or oasis?
Psalms 20: 7-8 tells us, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright”.