5 This is what the Lord says:
This passage of scripture presents two side of a coin. It shows us what it looks like to place TRUST in God vs. man.
trust – hie for refuge[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
It is not a discouragement from walking in community because throughout the word, God calls us to value our brethren, live in accord and bear each other’s burdens. Rather, this prophecy was intended to teach the people of Israel the danger of trusting and idolizing the surrounding nations INSTEAD of God. Certainly, it can apply to us today, as we can easily make our relationships the SOURCE of our TRUST our initial hie for refuge in place of God. When you encounter trouble, who do you run to first for protection and comfort? Do you first consult God or man? Is your first act of defense praying to God or venting to a friend?
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 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.
cursed – to receive what is harmful[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
Another human cannot sustain you as God can. We are all just as flawed and weak as each other. Therefore, placing a relationship above God, the ultimate and eternal source of strength, means forsaking the benefits of a relationship with the Almighty, All-powerful and All-knowing divine. It also means opening ourselves up to more harm than good. The one who makes man their source:
- Will not grow much in their stature (remains as a shrub/bush)
- Will not have vision of good and prosperous things (will not see prosperity)
- Will not have a source of refreshing (dwell in parched places)
- Will curate a life of dryness/barrenness ( a salt land)
Your family, friends, partner etc may disappoint you with their words sometimes. They may not validate or challenge you in the times when you need it most. They may not always do a great job of reassuring and encouraging you in the face of difficulty. On the other side, you will develop a life of people pleasing and valuing the word of man more than that of God. It will not bring you God’s intended growth for your life, simply because no matter how close you are, your fellow men will never know you as well as your creator does. He knows your innermost thoughts and outermost expressions. He knows your past, present and future self! It is through the intimacy of His knowledge for us that he can provide us with just what we need to flourish and thrive.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
8 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."
blessed – to receive what is beneficial[Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]
When God is the source of our trust and strength, we can be sustained by the One who is stronger than us, greater than us, wiser than us, kinder than us… BETTER THAN US in every sense. Instead of depending in one who is just as flawed as you are, you depend on the one who is perfect and blameless! Our shortcomings and weaknesses does not phase Him. He even promises us that His strength is perfected in our weakness. It means that he works best in the areas where we are at our worst. The one who makes God their source:
- Will grow in their stature to great heights (like a tree)
- Will dwell where there is a source of refreshing (planted by the waters)
- Will grow deeper in their walk with God, be more firm and less shaken (spread its roots)
- Will not allow fear to change your character, countenance or appearance in seasons of difficulty (leaves will be green even when the heat comes)
- Will not allow anxiety to change your sense of purpose or service in seasons of difficulty (will not cease from yielding fruit)
This is because when God is your source, you will always run to him regardless of the circumstance. You will continue to pray, worship, read his Word and do what you must to remain in His presence. It is in his presence, that he challenges us to grow in obedience and surrender, encourages us to refresh our souls and affirms us in our identity in Him that we may stand and be rooted deeply. When God is your source, seasons of heat and drought will come, but how you show up in the world and what you contribute to the world to advance His kingdom will continue to endure. In essence, when we make God our source, we are sustained regardless of the circumstance and we can yield more success in our spiritual and physical lives!