Going Deeper 2/12/2019

The first reading for Epiphany 6...
Jeremiah 17:5-10   Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord.  They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes.  They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.  Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.  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.  The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse — who can understand it?  I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.

Who do you trust?  That question is at the very heart of the story told throughout the Scriptures.

From the very beginning, God invited those created in His image to trust in Him and to live in line with His created will and design for creation.  He invited... but in His profound love God did not force Adam and Eve to trust and obey, and they chose to rebel.  The consequences were horrific.  Yet God responded with grace.

Later on, we are told the story of God's rescuing of the descendants of Abraham (whose own story was one of slowly learning to trust in God) from abusive slavery in Egypt, and then forming a Covenant with them built on trust.  The Sinai Covenant urged the people to remember all of the incredible miracles God had done in order to save them, even though they had proven to not be deserving.  They were to remember and to trust, and their trust was to be expressed in obeying the commandments given as part of the Covenant, commandments that were meant to guide them into living the best life possible.   But over and over again they failed to trust and obey.  But God responded over and over again with grace.

Jeremiah is addressing their descendants generations later, and urging them to-- your guessed it-- trust in God.  They could (and would) choose to trust in themselves or in alliances formed with other nations, or they could choose to trust in God.  Trusting in themselves and in mere mortals
had never proven to be a good choice, but with the Babylonian empire threatening to devour them, they were given another chance to trust.  They didn't.  The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse — who can understand it?  Yet God would still respond with grace.

In the power of His love and grace, God has rescued us from our enemies-- sin, death, and the devil-- and He invites us to respond with trust and obedience.  Learning to look to God and to trust in Him only, is the most important work we can do.  And in spite of a history of failure to trust, the Holy Spirit of God continues to call and empower us to learn and to grow in trust.

This promise continues for us: Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.  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.  

With You in Him,
Mark