More from Carol’s teaching notes…
Jeremiah 17:7-8; “Blessed is the woman who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.For she shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes: but its leaf will be green. And will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Today I am going to talk about faith, our most precious and essential gift! The good news is not one of us is without it. Romans 12:3 speaks of “the measure of faith God has given you.” The New American Standard says “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” So, God has given this gift to all of us. Rest in the great promise.
In Jeremiah 17:7 – the word “trust” means to confide in, to attach ones-self to, to feel safe, to be confident and secure. Blessed is the woman who is attached to the Lord – who confides in the Lord – who is secure in the Lord. Oh yes! The basic idea is associated with firmness or solidity. God is our solid rock and foundation when nothing else is! The word blessed is used in vs. 7. Blessed here from Zodhiates means “to bend the knee” to “kneel down” to bless – to praise. That was kind of a surprising definition to me. This meaning of “to kneel” appears only 3 times in the Bible.
It appears in Genesis 24:11, in 2 Chronicles 6:13 and in Psalm 95:6 which says “…come; let us bow down in worship. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” There was a close association felt between kneeling and receiving a blessing. I just know if my heart is knelt before God, I am in a ready position to receive His blessing. For the woman who has faith and trusts in the Lord – she shall be as a tree planted by the waters and sends out her roots by the stream. Faith connects us to the life giving source – God! And from Him we are nourished and sustained.
From “The Pulpit Commentary”…
THE FLOURISHING TREE EXEMPLIFIES THE BLESSEDNESS OF TRUST IN GOD.
1. Note the character of trust in God.
(1) It is intelligent. It is trust in God revealed as Jehovah, as supreme, self existent, eternal, known in the past for merciful helpfulness.
(2) It is whole-hearted. It is a simple trust in God, not divided by partial worldly confidence.
(3) It is hopeful. “Whose hope the Lord is.” The strongest faith rises into hope.
2. Consider the blessedness of this trust in God.
(1) Full and flourishing life — a tree, not a shrub. He who trusts in God is not only endowed with external blessings, he is enlarged and developed in his own life.
(2) Nourished and refreshed. The tree is planted by the waters, etc. Trust in God brings and plants us near to the “river of life.”
(3) Secured against trouble. “And shall not see when heat cometh,” etc. While the shrub derives no benefit from the most favorable weather, the tree planted by the water does not suffer from the most trying. Trust in God does not prevent the approach of trouble, but it fortifies us against suffering real harm from it. Hidden sources supply the Christian with spiritual nourishment when outwardly the heavens are as brass and the earth as iron.
(4) Perpetual fruitfulness. “Neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Fruitfulness is a sign of health, perpetual fruitfulness of unbroken health. Fruitfulness is a blessing. The Christian is most blessed in being able to work for good, and to distribute blessings to others as the chief glory of the tree is its fruit-bearing.
Faith does not fear when heat comes. The NIV uses the word “fear” when the heat comes. The King James says does not “see” when heat comes. Interesting! Eyes of faith cause us to see circumstances differently. Certainly faith gave Jeremiah the prophet (from where we draw our verse from today) the ability to keep speaking his unpopular message to Judah as God called him to do. Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 1:17-19. Of course, I cannot even speak of this gift of faith we have and need to grow in without mentioning Hebrews 11:1. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”
Let’s take a partial walk down the hall of faith. Let’s read Hebrews 11:17-12:2. What a testimony of how God gave these different men and women the gift of faith which enabled them to face circumstances and trials in victory. So, be encouraged this morning. Likewise, faith can enable us to step out of comfort zones and be used. Faith can enable us to step through any fears we have to obey God. We will certainly feel discomfort and fear sometimes as God asks us to do something new or different, But, faith and trust in God can enable us to step out anyway. Don’t we all want to grow in this gift and please God? Romans 10:17 tells us that Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We need to drink often and deeply of God’s word which strengthens our faith. Jeremiah 15:16 says; “When your words came, I ate them; and they were my joy and my hearts delight. For I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.”
God’s Word here does not bounce off the speaker, but becomes a part of him. God’s Word becomes deposited in the heart to bear fruit and develop faith.
We continue on in the verse and it speaks of the heat coming. Notice WHEN the heat comes, not if. The heat, the trial, the attack will come. If we are women of faith planted in God’s word which is our life giving stream – we will not fear – our vision will not be overwhelmed with circumstances. Our eyes of faith will see Jesus and His provision or way out in the midst.
She will have no worries in a year of drought and she never fails to bear fruit. I want to be fruit bearing! Jesus said in John 15:8 “This is to my Fathers glory that you bear fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Faith and trust in God and His word enable us to be fruit bearers. The Holy Spirit will produce the fruit in us. As I mentioned in the beginning – faith is our most precious gift. 1John 5:4; “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” Spend time in God’s word to grow in faith. Let us encourage one another in our faith. Then we shall have the blessings, the hope and assurance spoken of in Jeremiah. We shall not fear when the heat and drought come, and the Holy Spirit will not cease to produce fruit in us to Gods glory!