Who do you depend upon? What does the bible say about our dependence? Who can we trust to get us through this life?
Jeremiah 17:5-8 takes a hard look at what we trust in by comparing trust put in our abilities (“makes flesh his strength”) versus trusting in His abilities and power. If you have time, first read them in your Bible.
Now, look at these verses when they are placed side by side:
5 Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord.
7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
The key is in the focus of our dependence: Is our dependence on our own strength, on the strength of men, or is it on God?
The contrast of the shrub versus a tree stood out to me. A shrub is generally defined as having several stems, while a tree has only one stem (trunk) that is thicker and more upright than most shrub stems. I think we could draw a parallel between all the things we put our trust in—and all the directions those take us—and the many stems of a shrub. A tree’s one trunk speaks of a singular source for our trust—and the direction that leads us in.
When we depend on men or our own talents, skills, possessions, or ideas, when we set God aside, the Bible says we are cursed. We end up out of touch with our source of life (Jesus) living in a place of spiritual nothingness. Try as we might, when we are out of touch with the Living Water (Jeremiah 2:13 and John 4:7-26), we are in a place that just cannot sustain life, a place where our spiritual growth is stunted and starved.
But when we depend on God, when we believe His promises for our lives, the Bible says we are blessed. We are living in the very presence of the creator and source of life (Jesus), we are in daily contact with that healing (Jeremiah 17:14), teaching, life giving source. When we live there beside the source of life, moving when He moves and breathing when He breathes, even the toughest of times do not overwhelm us, we can remain calm and secure in the knowledge that we are protected and that He has plans for us. We are living in a place that not only sustains life but gives us abundant life (John 10:10) and our spiritual lives are vibrant, alive, and productive.
Who are you depending on today?