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Trust in the Lord - February 13, 2022

Jeremiah 17:5-10To view, this service you can follow the link to our Facebook page: Worship Service for Sunday, February 13

Trusting in your own human strength might work in some cases. Ultimately there is one experiment that will prove the unlikelihood that you have strength enough in which to trust.

Physics class: pull yourself up by the bootstraps.

It can’t be done in earth’s gravity force field.

No one has enough strength to overpower trust in God.

The prophet says that people who trust in themselves more than in God are like dried-up shrubs. Dried up because they are not planted close to water. Dried up because there is no sustenance from which to draw.

In fact, the prophet seems to say that one’s condition results from what one chooses to trust.

“Happy are those who trust in the Lord,
who rely on the Lord.” (Vs 7)
They will be like trees planted by the streams,
whose roots reach down to the water.
They won’t fear drought when it comes;
their leaves will remain green.
They won’t be stressed in the time of drought
or fail to bear fruit.” (Vs 8)

The prophet’s image of the tree versus the shrub is that the tree, planted in a place where water is always available, has roots that extend through the soil to provide stability and nourishment, and in return, it bears fruits and leaves that enable more growth.

Stability and nourishment — two provisions for growth. And the basis of trust.

The tree may have the same or more assaults from the elements of the weather. The wind blows on the tree by the water just as it blows on the shrub planted far from the water.

Trouble comes to everyone no matter where they live or where they came from. Worry and stress are equal opportunity providers in life.

How we react to the trouble and stress depends a lot on the choices we make. How we react to the good times depends as well on the choices we make.

The idea that one’s situation is determined by one’s choice to walk in one of two ways occupies much of the wisdom literature.

Jeremiah, our text for today, can be paired with the Psalter reading for today: Psalm 1:

The truly happy person
doesn’t follow wicked advice,
doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.

2 Instead of doing those things,
these persons love the Lord’s Instruction,
and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!

3 They are like a tree replanted by streams of water,
which bears fruit at just the right time
and whose leaves don’t fade.
Whatever they do succeeds.

4 That’s not true for the wicked!
They are like dust that the wind blows away.

5 And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—
neither will sinners
in the assembly of the righteous.

6 2 The Lord is intimately acquainted
with the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked is destroyed.

As the first of the Psalms, this one serves as an introduction to the book of Psalms, reminding the reader to follow the advice found contained therein.

Unlike Jeremiah, which focuses solely on trust, the Psalm reminds us that it is how we conduct ourselves is directed by how well we can follow the laws of God that are provided in the scriptures and illustrated in the wisdom literature.

The two concepts together, where you choose to place your trust and how you choose to live out your life according to God’s plans therefore will determine your true situation in life.

The stress and uncertainty of the past two years enabled any number of new voices to beckon to us: “TRUST ME. TRUST MY OPINION.” And it has been tempting, frustrating, or confusing. I can believe in science, and I can even trust physics. But where I put my ultimate trust makes the biggest difference on a daily basis.

I think we find ourselves wandering away from trusting in God when we begin to see our behaviors deviating from what we know and feel we should do and who we should be.

I think we all need to step back a bit and look at those places and those persons who lead us to trust in God or who draw us away into trusting ourselves or others.

Perhaps it is time to stop and survey the geography and geology around us. Are we like the bushes and shrubs in the desert or along the highways that are shriveled and prone to be blown by the wind? Or are we like trees planted by the water, with strong taproots anchoring in Trust in God? Where do you find yourself today?

Let us pray.

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