“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
This verse has always been a favorite of mine and when I ran across it this morning in my time with Jesus, my mind kept returning to it even after my study took me somewhere else. I have found that is one of the ways the Lord teaches me and is trying to get me to pay particular attention to something is by bringing it to me over and over.
I like to think many times I don’t have trust issues when it comes to the Lord. (How pious can I be?) But if I’m truthful, I am as double-minded and wishy washy as they come. If I didn’t truly have trust issues, would I really be waking in the middle of the night not able to get things I worry about off my mind? Would I really be ringing my hands and fretting over what is going to happen next? No, it turns out I’m human too (HA) and can tend to give myself over to worry as quickly as the next person. I have mentioned before that sometime I picture myself with a big sack of things I am worried about and have my concern. I will literally picture myself dragging this sack of worrisome things to the cross and I will take them out one by one and lay them at the feet of Jesus. It sometimes surprises me when I realize that as the day has gone on I have picked those things up one by one and put them back in my sack and that is why I have to lay them down again. But then again, also I know me. If I could really lay them down once and not pick them up again, would I really return to the cross again and again to lay them down.
I love the picture that this verse gives me. Have you ever noticed that the trees and the vegetation that grow near water are always beautiful and lush and green. The roots run deep and they never seem to have brown, withered, dying leaves. A direct version of this verse is also found in Psalms.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
It seems that it’s possible Jeremiah had access to the Psalmists words of this verse and he had taken them to heart to have quoted some of the same words. The Psalmist takes the thought even deeper than Jeremiah. The Psalmist is telling us, that in order to keep your trust in the Lord, you can’t keep company with the wicked. What I think he is saying is that you must be careful who and what you are surrounding yourself with. Now we know that we are to live in this world and we are to be a light to a dark world. But if all you do is keep company with those who aren’t walking with the Lord, those people who are negative and complaining all the time, then you will fall into the trap as well.
The Psalmist says that the man whose delight is the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates days and night will be like the tree planted by the water. If we are to be like that tree, we have to be intentional about having time with Jesus and we need to be careful what we are filling our mind and our time with as the day goes on. I love God’s word, and I love studying it, but I can also be guilty of reading and walking away and by the time I get to work in the morning I can’t always tell you what I read or studied. But when I really think on it, and I fill my mind with His word I do a better job of standing firm like that tree. So how do we do that? How do we keep our mind focused to “meditate on it day and night”.
When I feel like I am truly in a spiritual battle over something I especially will do things to fill my mind with His word all day long. I will listen to praise and worship music in my background even at work. I will listen to sermons on podcasts. Even if I don’t hear every word, when it is running in my background, I notice that my thoughts are not turning to the negative and worry quite so much. I truly know that when my mind is having a tendency to wander to the negative thoughts and worry that if I keep my praise music in my background that my roots are running deeper.
Oh how I want to be like that tree, planted by the water, roots running deep, and yielding fruit for Him. I do not want to wither and fret and worry over the things concerning me, but to know that God’s got this, He’s got me and He’s got the things that concern me. I want to trust Him! I want what I set my heart and mind on to prosper!