A desert shrub or a tree next to a stream?

desert shrub Tree Stream

One of the potential flashpoints every few days in my home is the decision on what to have for a special meal.  One will want pizza, another Chinese,  another BBQ ribs and then I go for the steaks on the grill.  We then go through a overdrawn discussion, disagreement, compromise, negotiations over future considerations and finally arrive to a conclusion.  Ultimately, 1 person is happy, three are disappointed but we all end up eating pretty good that night.  It would be a bit easier if we only had two choices pizza or Chinese.

As a guy trying to read a Bible passage every day and then trying to gain something from it that I can share with others, I love when the passage gives two choices.  The passage for today gives us clear choice.  We can be like a stunted shrub in the desert or we can be like  tree planted along a riverbank.

Jeremiah 17:5 – 8 (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.

Let’s compare the two choices:

stunted shrubs in the desert trees planted along a riverbank
– Cursed because the put their trust in mere humans, they rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
– They will live in the barren wilderness in an uninhabited salty land.
– Blessed because they trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
– These trees will not be bothered by heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green and they will never stop producing fruit.

There is a very clear choice here, from my point of view anyways.

From the positive point of view I can see that being like a tree planted along a riverbank has its rewards.  When the struggles, trials and concerns of this world come upon us we can stay positive and continue to produce fruit like a tree planted along a riverbank.   Why and How can we do this?  Because we trust in the Lord and have made him our hope and confidence. 

For me that is a real promise that I can count on.

The next two verses also offer us some insight into how the choice we make to be a stunted shrub or a drought resistant tree is evaluated by the Lord.  I am encouraged to see that it is God who is deciding how to bless us according to our choices.  He is ultimately the one who hears and sees and knows all.  He is ultimately the one who can give us our due rewards.  Thankfully we are not depending on our own or the skills of others to determine our blessing or curse.  We are depending on the Lord’s ability to search all hearts.

Jeremiah 17:9 – 10 (NLT)

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.”

So my challenge to the readers today is to make an assessment on what path you have chosen.  Are you depending on human efforts or are you trusting in the Lord?  Would you rather be in an inhabited desert or be planted next to a stream of life?

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/makz/146238693/
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/linkerjpatrick/2544718987/

About plimtuna

I am just an average guy trying to find his way along this journey of life. I am definitely middle aged. I am definitely happily married with a wife and two children. Personally, I have a passion for things eternal. Professionally, I have a passion for things that are securely in control.
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