Friday, 18 July 2014

the wasteland-bush and the tree by the stream

Jeremiah 17:5-8
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
This is one of my favourite passages. Well, the second half is. The first half I like, and I included it here as a contrast, and while I wouldn't say it's a favourite, it is certainly has several points we can learn from.
Here are a few things that we can draw from each part of the passage, to contrast with each other.
  • Cursed
  • Trusts in man
  • Bush in wastelands
  • Desert, wasteland, salt land (Dt. 29:23)
  • Parched
  • No prosperity
  • Strength from man
  • Turns away from God
  • Blessed
  • Trusts in the LORD
  • Confidence in the lord
  • Tree by water
  • Roots by the stream
  • No fear of heat
  • No worries of drought
  • Always bearing fruit
Think about that word picture, of the two ways of life. You get your strength from yourself, and you and your life are just a bush in the wastelands. Wastelands - what images does that word bring to your mind? A barren land, with not a lot of plants, no water, a lonely place, it has no way of sustaining life. Now think of being in the desert without water - think even of being really thirsty on a hot day, then multiply that, you are parched. You are cursed, and whether you realize it or not, you turn away from God. You may even think you are still walking with God - and truly you are never too far from Him, all you need to do is turn - but you cannot be walking by both your strength and His. When you walk by yours you are rejecting Him, or turning away from Him. You are a bush in the wasteland. 

 Now let's look at the promises that we have to hold to when we are getting our strength from God. We are a tree by the water, our roots are by the stream. Even if the land goes dry, we will still have our source of water, and our leaves will still be green. We can have confidence in the LORD. Confidence! Think about it, what a powerful word. We will be blessed. We don't need to fear and worry about heat or drought coming, because our water supply won't disappear on us. We also don't need to fear or worry if we are in the middle of one of those seasons. If we are, maybe we're not getting our strength from God, and that's something to pray about and really work on! 

And the last few months, this has been the part of the verse that I have really clung to, that has been powerful in my life. "and never fails to bear fruit." If I am getting my strength from the LORD, there is no promise that life will be easy, all lollipops and sunshine, it won't even always be hard work that makes you feel good-tired at the end of the day. It will be messy, and we will have troubles (John 16:33). But what we can hold to, is that even in a season of drought, or heat, or whatever it may be - we will not stop bearing fruit. That's because we're not the ones doing it anyway, and He who does, is not affected by the seasons. 

If your strength comes from the LORD, rest assured, that even if you don't feel like it, you are bearing fruit.

May God bless you richly this day, as you seek to walk in His strength!

Linking up with Elizabeth over at Oak and Oats today :)


  1. I've read the passage before but have never focused on the comparison, what a difference! I definitely want to be one who trusts in the Lord!

    1. Glad you could see something new :)
      Me too!!