I’ve been posting my notes from a Bible study session I taught on Losing Heart at my church’s women’s Bible study. The overall structure and theme of the study is based upon Paula Rinehart’s book, Strong Women, Soft Hearts. Last week we talked about the consequence of losing heart. Now, we finally get to the positive side. We’re moving into Jeremiah 17:6
In a Proverbs-esque way, Jeremiah is now contrasting everything he just said.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord . . .
Here Jeremiah reminds us that our trust should be in the Lord, not men. He’s directly contrasting what he had just said before in the previous two verses. All the reasons we talked about not trusting mankind, are the same reasons we should trust in the Lord! We can rely on him for our security. He is trustworthy of being responsible for us.
How do we trust in the Lord?
To start, we have to believe that he is trustworthy. That sounds so easy, but it’s actually the most difficult part of trusting in him. We know in our heads that he is trustworthy, but somewhere along the way we don’t believe it in our hearts.
Look for examples of how he has been trustworthy in your life. Evaluate carefully those times when you think he has not been trustworthy – was it really him or did you just miss it because you were expecting a different answer or result?
Once we recognize that he is trustworthy, placing our trust in him is relatively easy. It requires a daily choice to believe truth and to reject illusions. We must submit our plans and thoughts and actions to him and letting him be responsible for our lives. Easier said than done for sure, since we also tend to have control issues – but that’s another topic. . .
Let’s return to the text.
And whose trust is the Lord . . .
The word trust here refers to confidence and refuge. In other words, we are to make the Lord our strength. His strength does not run out. The power to which we have access is the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead!
I love how Paula explained it: “Hope pinned on God, rather than people is not grounded in our illusion of how our story should read, but in the character of God”
One of the clearest examples of this I have ever seen was when we visited a church of HIV/AIDS victims in Rwanda. In Africa, AIDS carries a huge stigma – a burden so great that most victims do not come forward to get diagnosed and treated because of the consequences. They are outcast from their families and often their villages. They are left to fend for themselves – for money, for food, for drugs, for care. This church of all HIV/AIDS victims had joined together to care for one another. In some cases, individuals who were able to receive medicine couldn’t even take it because they had no food to eat with it, and the medicine on an empty stomach only made them feel sicker.
According to our worldly standards, these people had even less than nothing. And yet when we worshipped with them that afternoon, I witnessed a joy and a hope at a depth I have never seen in an American church before or since. The key? Their hope was not pinned to anything on this earth – it was placed in God alone. He was sufficient for all of their needs. The Lord was their strength. Powerful stuff.
How do you need to trust God and make him your strength today?