October 22, 2023

“This is what the Lord says, ‘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 saltland where no one lives. 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.’” Jeremiah 17:5–8

Where is your confidence in this life?

If you’re a Christian, your answer is the Lord. Yet, it’s so easy to be distracted and deceived by the cares of this world and the remedies it offers for our temporary trials.

It’s easy to put our hope in our jobs, our families, our 401Ks, our communities, or even our own grit. None of these things are bad in themselves. In fact, all of them are gifts from God. But when we begin to put our confidence in gifts rather than the Giver, we step straight into sinking sand.

In Jeremiah 17, God calls the people of Judah to put their confidence in Him. In verses 5–8, he gives them two images: One of a person who trusts in man and the other of a person who trusts in the Lord.

In verse 6, we get an image of what happens to the one who trusts in man. He’s compared to a dried-up bush in the desert, parched and incapable of thriving. God also makes clear that he’ll have a warped perspective of his circumstances: “They won’t see prosperity when it comes” (Jeremiah 17:6).

This confidence in man is sin against God because it is rebellion against the way God created us to be. We are creatures, men and women, who are dependent on our loving Heavenly Father to care for us. Yet, we live in a world full of people who build their lives upon the shifting sands of self-reliance. We are constantly fed the message that if we just “believe in ourselves,” everything will turn out okay, but the dried-up bush in Jeremiah 17:6 says something different.

The person who trusts in God is blessed. This person’s confidence is not just in the things God has provided for him. His confidence is in God Himself (Jeremiah 17:7). He loves God and knows he is good, so he is confident that God is working things together for his good and God’s glory (Romans  8:28).

In Jeremiah 17:8, we get the contrasting image of what happens to the one who trusts in the Lord. Instead of a withered bush, we see a strong tree with deep roots drinking up nutrients from fertile soil by a stream. And interestingly, this tree thrives despite its circumstances. When the heat comes, its leaves remain green, and in drought, it continues to bear fruit.

When a person’s heart is turned toward the Lord, they are able to see their circumstances through the lens of who God is. By His grace, they are able to endure difficult trials and bear the fruit of the Spirit. They are able to trust in the God who loves them by relying on Him for strength and security in this life and the one to come.

Where is your confidence in this life? 

If you’re convicted of the sin of trusting in man, don’t despair; be encouraged. This is the Spirit’s work in your heart! When we confess our sin to God (and come to Him for help!), He is faithful and just to forgive us and is eager to help us grow in trusting Him (1 John 1:9)

Remember, this is why Christ died for you. You can stand on the solid rock of the gospel as He helps you grow to trust Him more.

On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand

All other ground is sinking sand

Written by Marjorie Roberson, Guest Contributor


Read “Where Do You Place Your Confidence?” by George Wright