Where Do You Place Your Trust?
Updated: Sep 25
“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.” - Jeremiah 17:7–8 (ESV)
Jeremiah is a prophet pronouncing God’s judgment on his audience who have turned to wickedness. He’s concerned with his peers’ false and insincere worship—especially their failure to trust God in national affairs. Sound familiar?
Several years ago, I got hooked on Robert Ludlum’s novels. Each of his books is intriguing and suspenseful. He made me feel as if I were there, a close observer watching the action before me. His ability to intricately describe the surroundings in detail helped me visualize neighborhoods as if I were keenly familiar with them.
The Bible is abundant with descriptive imagery, allowing readers to connect and understand an essential lesson. Jesus frequently uses visual aids to assist people to comprehend a more profound meaning: salt (Mt. 5:13), light (Mt. 5:14-16), yeast and dough (Lk. 13:20), a speck and a plank (Mt. 7:3-5), etc.
We continue to do this today. We’re familiar with the term “Faith-based.” It’s a term to describe initiatives or projects undertaken by religious believers (Christian or of other religions).
Christopher Wright explains:
“The expression assumes that some people are ‘persons of faith’ while others are not. But that is entirely the wrong way to frame the contrast. We are all ‘persons of faith’—the only difference lies in the object of our trust.”
“Atheist, agnostic, Christian, or non-Christian: We are all people of faith. The question is not ‘if I have faith,’ but ‘whom will I trust?’”
Moral decline is the fruit of misplaced worship.
Saying we love God does not mean we do. Jeremiah’s people claim to worship YAHWEH, but their behavior betrays their words. Their actions reveal the object of their trust (themselves and human leadership). Psalm 146:3 reminds us: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.”
The contrast in Jeremiah’s words is not between those who “have faith” and those who do not, but between those who trust themselves (and others) and those who trust in God. Both parties exercise faith. But where (and whom) we place our faith makes a significant difference.
Where are you placing your trust?
1 Christopher J. H. Wright, The Message of Jeremiah: Grace in the End, ed. Alec Motyer and Derek Tidball, The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014), 198.
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