I’m not sure what comes to mind when you consider the meaning of a blessed life. Some probably envision material prosperity; perhaps others imagine ease and comfort. Defining the blessed life requires examining the whole Bible’s teaching on the subject, but Jeremiah 17 is a helpful piece of the puzzle. Two contrasting images in this chapter highlight the differences between the cursed man and the blessed man. In these agricultural similes, trust is identified as the root issue, becoming the catalyst in determining the course of both lives.
Jeremiah 17:5 reads, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Describing something different from a healthy trust of others and personal trustworthiness, this verse condemns not a trust of others, but a trust in others or even oneself. The cursed man’s cursedness is the natural outworking of his banking on people to be and do what only God is and does.
Verse 6 enumerates the consequences of the cursed man’s misplaced trust: “He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.” When we place our God-sized longings on another person’s back, he or she will be crushed, and we will begin to shrivel. No individual has the resources you and I ultimately need to survive – let alone thrive – in this world.
A much different picture is painted in verses 7 and 8 which say, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
As opposed to the inevitable withering experienced when we trust in man, the person whose confidence is in the Lord flourishes. Like a tree rooted deeply in fertile soil, he is stable and secure. Withstanding the heat is evidence of his having been planted in the nourishing ground of God’s faithfulness.
According to Jeremiah 17, the one who places the whole weight of his confidence in God is blessed in experiencing His complete trustworthiness and utter sufficiency in every season. Knowing our God can easily shoulder the weight of our desperate dependence is one of life’s most rewarding jackpots. No matter what, we can face today fully convinced that God is worth trusting. In fact, we can bank everything on it.