By Elizabeth Prata
The Bible makes a lot of comparisons. The authors often use agricultural symbols to get across a spiritual truth. There are some parts of Israel that are verdant, filled with meadows, plants, flowers, and trees.
Here in Jeremiah 17:5-6 we see two trees being compared.
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.”
Notice how the tree and the water are intertwined. We all know that trees and bushes need water to survive. Without it, they become stunted, burned, dried, and eventually die. They do not bear fruit. They do not provide shade. They do not host birds. They are good for nothing. Turning in on one’s self will not lead to life, it will lead to death. We need the water.
A tree or bush will dry up if it trusts in itself. Because, from whence will its sustenance come? The water? A tree cannot generate its own water. If man trusts in himself, he will dry up and be good for nothing. The water that allows man to live is not in his flesh. It is from the Lord.
For life, we must look outward from ourselves.
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.
When the circumstances around us are drying up, and it seems the water is going, and nothing will sustain us, the man who trusts the LORD will look up. Look to Him. He sees that the Lord is keeping his leaves green. The Lord is continuing to produce the fruit. The tree remains rooted, flourishing, verdant amid the heat. He is not anxious in the year of drought. The support we receive is hidden. It flows from His word. From the prayer closet. But the result of trusting Him is plain for all to see. A green tree standing tall.
No matter the circumstance, trusting in the Lord brings life. It brings relief. Looking to yourself only brings a parched, dry shrub living in a salted land.
Trusting in the Lord above with roots spread deep to stand tall in His word and His ways, will produce the life evident for others to see:
but her leaf shall be green; neither fail, nor lose its colour: a profession of faith is held without wavering; there being a radical moisture, the truth of grace, a well of living water, springing up into everlasting life, to supply and support it: ~Gill’s Exposition
The flourishing life is from Jesus, by Jesus, through Jesus, to Jesus, He is the beginning and the end of all our trust. He will sustain.