“WATCH YOUR BACK”

“WATCH YOUR BACK”

Jeremiah 17:5-17 NLT
[5] This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. [6] They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. [7] “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. [8] They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. [9] “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? [10] But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” [11] Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid, so are those who get their wealth by unjust means. At midlife they will lose their riches; in the end, they will become poor old fools. [12] But we worship at your throne- eternal, high, and glorious! [13] O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced. They will be buried in the dust of the earth, for they have abandoned the LORD, the fountain of living water. [14] O LORD, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone! [15] People scoff at me and say, “What is this ‘message from the LORD’ you talk about? Why don’t your predictions come true?” [16] LORD, I have not abandoned my job as a shepherd for your people. I have not urged you to send disaster. You have heard everything I’ve said. [17] LORD, don’t terrorize me! You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord.”Jeremiah 17:5

In our culture, one is constantly advised to watch one’s back and cover one’s tail. The conventional wisdom is that people cannot be trusted and will abuse any trust another may place in them. This is a sad state of affairs, but there is nothing new about it. God himself expressed such a view when he told Jeremiah, “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord” (17:5). Modern man thinks it is smart not to trust mere humans. He’s right—he will be cursed if he does!

This does not mean that no one should ever trust anyone. Rather, it is a condemnation of transferring trust away from the Lord and putting it in humans, as though there were nowhere else to turn for support but to humans.

The issue is the human heart—people cannot be trusted because they have sinful hearts. Man roundly resists and resents this idea—even while working hard to protect himself from those he cannot wholly trust! But the Lord says, “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (17:9).

The Lord answered his own question: “But I know! I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve” (17:10). If people do not trust the Lord and if they do not commit their actions to his evaluation, their human relationships will be deficient—or, more accurately, “cursed.”

Fortunately, the Lord does more than search hearts—he changes them too. That is why Jeremiah called on the Lord to bless him in his difficult and dangerous situation. “O Lord, you alone can heal me; you alone can save” (17:14).

In this world, it is a good idea to watch your back. We all have wicked hearts, so it is not stupid to be on your guard. But to be really blessed, you need to trust the Lord—like a tree by a riverbank, to put your trusting roots deep into the fresh waters of his unfailing trustworthiness (17:7-8). That means trusting that he is right in what he says, right in what he does, right in what he promises, and reliable—reliable to reveal your own twisted motives, and reliable to alert you when you begin to place unwarranted confidence in man and deficient confidence in God. Him alone you should fully trust. So watch your back—and watch your heart!

Much love,
Chris C

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