5: This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength…’” Jeremiah, in his warning to the kings of Judah who have strayed from the pathway that God would have them lead, sends a convicting message to modern proponents of the “Me Generation.”
6: “He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.” – The prosperity a human-centered life brings may flourish when times are good, but will wither and die when the rains cease to come.
7: “But blessed is the man who trusts the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” – Trusting God means placing Him first and foremost in all things.
8: “He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream…It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – The tree flourishes because of the streams of nourishment that flow from God.
10: “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” – Left to our own devices we will repeatedly slip into sinful ways, but when we choose to focus on God, He will help us to resist temptation and grow us to become fruitful.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you trust God?
Is your faith such that you are able to rely on His guidance and leadership even when the pathway is vague or unclear? In the movie “The Last Crusade,” Indiana Jones, in order to save his father’s life, is forced to step out in faith into what appeared to be a deep ravine. Are you able to step out in faith even in times when everything around you tells you differently? Can you go against the flow of “conventional wisdom” when God asks? Do you trust God? Or do you still have to be in control?
Are you prosperous? How is prosperity measured? As you watch the rich and famous in our society, are you envious of their prosperity? Do you idolize their success? Do you study their pathways to life and model your life after theirs? What is Jeremiah teaching you about this kind of prosperity? Do you see that earthly prosperity will always perish? That there will be times when the rains in the desert will cease to fall and without deep roots that have been seeking nourishment from God, you will wither and die? Do you accept that those who focus only on earthly riches will gain only that and the heavenly treasures that lay in store will be lost and unattainable?
Where is your heart? Jeremiah suggests that without a focus on God our hearts and minds will always turn to sin. Do you agree? Do you accept that a focus on the Self will only lead to a life of deceit and wrong-doing? Does this mean that God created us to love outwardly and that an inward focus goes against our nature? Do you reach out in love? Do you love God first? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Can you deny yourself and follow Jesus? Promises of the Gospel:
Jeremiah warns against a life-style that is focused only on earthly success and selfish fulfillment. There may be times when this type of life will lead to success and abundance. However, the rains will always cease to fall. Drought will return. When the droughts of pain, suffering, illness, and death enter our lives, from where will our nourishment come? If our roots are not set deep enough into the soils of God’s love, how are we going to survive? What is left but barren sands and hot sun? Jeremiah sends a modern message to a generation that is focused strongly on the power of the Self. He warns we will not always be able to go it alone. Without God’s loving support and nourishment, times will come when we will not be able to fix, correct, adjust, or mend. But a life focused on God is more than mere survival skills – it is a life that will forever bear fruit, regardless of the situations we face.