Thursday 24 March 2011

Bible Book:

"They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit." (v. 8)

Jeremiah 17:5-10 Thursday 24 March 2011


One of the best known protest songs "We shall overcome" comes from verse 8.Trees by the water don't have to fear the drought. The song usedthe image to affirm that even if the task of confronting what theythought to be wrong was to be long and hard, the strength of theprotesters came from an inner source that affirmed that in the endthey would win.

In this passage Jeremiah is saying that the inner strength comesfrom God, and the Christian can read this passage as anencouragement to stay the course. The evil person in the enddoesn't have the strength that God's people have - for they canonly draw upon their own strength and in hard times that will fail.In trusting in God, we cannot expect that God will give us an easytime (often it will be hard) but the hard times will be matched bythe nourishment and strength that God gives. The prophet says"Trust in the Lord" (verse 7).

Jeremiah uses lots of different images in his prophecies, and thischapter is typical. Each of them illustrates his general messagethat there is a choice for the people - they can follow God's wayor their own, but if they decide that it's their own they'll followthen there are consequences. Verse 10 prevents the reader fromthinking that they 'can get away with it', and that God won'treally notice. Jeremiah says in effect - don't fool yourself, Godknows even the inner most thoughts.

It's a message that every generation needs to hear, and we no lessthan others. Christian faith is not primarily about 'pie in the skywhen you die' - the way we chose to live our lives effects what weexperience in life. If we only care for ourselves our relationshipswill be quite different than if we learn to care for others. Do youchoose God's way or your own?

To Ponder

This passage can be understood either asaddressed to individuals or to society as a whole. How do we affectthe choices our society make? How can Christians effectivelyinfluence society?

When you feel overwhelmed by the struggle to liveout a Christian life, how do you draw upon the strength of God?

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