This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. ~ Jeremiah 17:5-6
Many Christians today do not like to talk about the wrath of God. They don’t like to acknowledge that God judges human behavior and has set consequences for sins. We must understand this truth: without God’s wrath and absent sin’s eternal consequence there is no need for a Savior. When we understand the holy wrath of God and the fact that each and every one of us has earned nothing more than His wrath because of our sin, the good news of the Gospel rings loud and clear!
Think of it this way: if you are not thirsty and somebody offers you a glass of water chances are you’ll reject the glass of water, or perhaps you’ll drink some of it out of some sense of obligation. No big deal, right? But when you’re thirsty, really thirsty, that glass of water is the most precious gift somebody can offer you. We have to know what it’s like to be thirsty to really appreciate the water and we must understand the breadth and reach of God’s righteous wrath before we truly appreciate our need for the Gospel.
Throughout the book of Jeremiah, God is pouring out His wrath on Israel because they have rejected Him. Israel’s seeking after false gods is a sin that we all commit. The false gods in my life include riches and materialism. They include a set of priorities that are not properly arranged. I am in prayer over this and I ask God to change me and change my life to glorify and serve Him first and foremost.
Take heart: even as God pours out His wrath He offers a promise:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8
I used to worry about the future, but I don’t any more. My future is bright. No, I don’t have a crystal ball or special powers to see what lies ahead. I am not confident in the prospects of a fat retirement account or a winning lottery ticket. Those things offer nothing. No, I have something far greater. I have the Lord. I have God’s Word. God’s Word is without error; it is eternally true. God’s Word is the one solid foundation upon which to build this life. It is available to me, and it is available to you. Place your trust in God. Open His Word. Read it. Study it. Ask God to help you live by it, and watch what He does with your life!
Ponder this: In what have I placed my hope? Do those things distract my attention from God’s Word?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, as I read Jeremiah I become very conscious of my own sin. Forgive me, Lord, and help me to live a life of repentance. Show me when I err and help me place my trust in You and You alone for my salvation that comes only through Your Son, Jesus Christ. It is in His name I pray, AMEN.