Bushes and Trees

The prophet Jeremiah wrote (17:5-8),


“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;

they will not see prosperity when it comes.

They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,

in a salt land where no one lives.”


What a description of the person who places their dependence on other people – blind, lonely, and parched! When we rest all our hope that people will come through for us, and then they don’t, we become blind to a better hope. Lonely because we feel abandoned. And parched because we haven’t drunk from the only spring that will never run dry. Value your friendships but draw your ultimate strength from the Lord.


“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water

that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”


What a description of the person who places their dependence on the Lord – steady, fearless, lush, and fruitful! When we love people but don’t wait for them to give us our ultimate satisfaction, then we are steady. We send roots deep on all sides of our tree. Nothing can topple us. We are also fearless – we can stare down the drought times with our reserves of trust in the Lord. And with our trust locked in place in the Lord, we are green and fruitful.


And we are steady, fearless, lush, and fruitful not only when times are good. After all, Jeremiah’s tree here faced heat and an entire year of drought.


Jeremiah experienced this personally. He was betrayed, abandoned, taunted, belittled, and so much more. But the first words that he heard from the Lord (“I am with you”, in 1:8) carried him through the heat and drought. Love your friends but put your ultimate confidence in the Lord.