Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. nasu
I love my apple tree. It celebrates spring with flowers that awaken the bees from their winter nap. In the summer she provides rest in her lush shade. But in autumn there are apples. Some sweet, some refreshing in their pucker power. Bright reds and yellows that call me with my eyes, even from a distance.
I’ve been to the desert like dunes in summer. The “trees” there are like bushes, but even bushes are more lush then the junipers at the beach where the water is too salty for life and the winds too harsh for lush growth. The berries of the juniper are rejected even by many of the birds. Crafters collect them to scent their candles but not to sustain life.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. nasu
In this morning’s devotion, Jeremiah 17:5-10, believers are compared to trees. Those who are dependent upon strength in the flesh are said to be like those junipers of the dunes. They just survive, stunted, unable to even give shade in the heat of summer. Not only fruitless, even their leaves are prickly. The juniper is like the Christian who is an off grid prepper, the rugged individual with his gun at his side to protect himself and his meager provisions instead of the sword of the Spirit to rescue those who perish. He see the needy as predators instead of those sent by the Almighty for mutual blessing and aid.
The believer who puts his hope in the Almighty, who puts his confidence in the provision of God with thanksgiving is like a lush tree planted near water. Unafraid for itself when the rest of the world is tested by harsh conditions, this believer still blossoms with hope, protects others in the shade of their healing leaves and gives abundantly of their fruit (Love, joy, kindness, gentle self-control, patience, goodness, and a bubbling faithfulness that the Creator has put them here to serve others instead of living simply to survive. (Galatians 5:22-23)
In Malachi 3:10, the Almighty issues a loving challenge for us to give. Try to give more than you think God can. Throw down! You will not be able to keep up with his blessing. The trouble with us is that our hearts lie to us. Our own heart tells us that if we give then there will not be enough for us. If we give stuff away we will not have enough to live. “God helps those who help them-self.” That is the old way of thinking, but the Almighty has given you a new heart and a new mind. You may have a difficult time trusting that new way of living, the way that gives and gives because you are an arm of blessing from the Almighty. There was a time when taking care of yourself because no one else will was how you lived, but no more. Now you have a benefactor, a provider who wants to use you to make others rich. Test him and see for yourself. I am.
Mrs. Hagerty, September 18, 2015