Jeremiah 17:5-10 (The New Oxford Annotated Bible)
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.
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.
“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,”
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the mind and try the heart, to give to man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, lest the darkness overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of the light.”
As Easter draws ever closer and we continue to reflect upon following in the footsteps of Jesus, we endeavor to be “kingdom people” reflecting “kingdom values” in our daily lives and in all that we say and do. As the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah viewed it, the contrast was stark – we should lead lives to do good and exhibit faithfulness to earn our reward, and we should reject evil and disobedience or, failing that, we will be punished. Jeremiah illustrates this choice by saying, “[c]ursed is the man who trusts in man and draws strength from mere flesh, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Such a person is likened to a “bush in the wastelands” inhabiting “parched places.” Conversely, the person who “trusts in the Lord” is likened to a “tree planted by the water.” The watered tree does not become “anxious” during a drought and continues to bear fruit. Like the Godly person, our life of kingdom values must be like a watered tree that bears fruit in all that we say and do. We must trust in the Lord, for only God can understand us and will judge us according to the fruit we yield.
The Apostle John writes that as Jesus’ crucifixion neared, he spoke of light and darkness. In chapter 12, Jesus describes the one “who walks in the dark” as “not know[ing] where he goes.” Kingdom people, on the other hand, “believe in the light” so that they “may become children of light”. As believers in Christ Jesus, kingdom people believe also in the Heavenly Father who sent his son as a light unto the world so that we would not live in darkness but have eternal life. As believers, we also can exemplify the light of kingdom values through our interactions with colleagues, friends, neighbors, and strangers and in all situations, so that we can bear good fruit.
Our Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of continued growth and confidence as we follow in your footsteps. Help us to turn away from worldly things and perform deeds deserving of your light. Help us to carry the light throughout the World.
Sallie and Al Robinson