Confidence in the Heat and Drought
But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
What kind of people should we be in a time of heat and drought—increasingly intensified religious persecution and a worsening drought of faith in God? Such times were predicted by Jesus. “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also’” (John 15:20). And “not much” is the answer to His question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Jeremiah described two kinds of people faced with these conditions (Jeremiah 17:5-8). In the first group, the people were like bushes in the wastelands. Their thorny branches caused pain and irritation to all who came too close. They trusted and drew confidence from people, including themselves. They relied on their own accomplishments or abilities, their own strength. They didn’t need the Lord.
Neither did they see that prosperity and spiritual blessings were from God. They lived in the parched places of the desert or in salt marshes. They were lonely even if many people surrounded them. Their lives were unproductive and unfruitful. They were angry, grumpy, negative, discouraged, and depressed. No one wanted to be near them. They were cursed (vv. 5-6).
In Jeremiah’s other group, the people were like trees planted by the water whose leaves stayed green and fruitful. They placed their confidence in God rather than in themselves or in others. He was their source of strength when they were weak. They had tough times—dry spells when nothing seemed to be coming from heaven, when God seemed to be absent. But even when everything around them was collapsing, they were in a stable place when persecution came. Their deep roots were nourished by the water of the Word of God and by the Spirit dwelling within them. They were blessed (vv. 7-8).
What kind of person will you be in the heat and drought? Where will you place your hope and confidence?
Psalm 1:1-6 and Isaiah 61:1-11 also use the image of trees planted by the water. What can we confidently expect from God, both now and in the future?
Where in your environment do you find “water”—sources of spiritual nourishment? This could include any environment such as a church, Bible study, prayer group, ministry, website, or community?
Read Isaiah 32:16-20. In Hebrew, the word for confidence also means security and safety. What do these verses indicate about the relationship between righteousness, peace and confidence?
For related devotions, read Drought and Perseverance under Dig into Words.
Nancy J. Baker