Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Jeremiah 17:1-13 and Ephesians 6:1-9.
Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. (NIV)
In today’s highlighted verse, we are encouraged to personally trust God and place our confidence in Him. We sometimes view these positive values as spiritual feelings we should muster, especially when we are faced with an issue or a crisis. So, to do this, we steady our nerves and steel ourselves for whatever lies ahead. We aim to control our fears by fortifying our faith, so no matter what we face, we know God is with us and He will not let us down. Usually, these are good feelings to have, but this is not what the prophet Jeremiah understood when he spoke about having trust and confidence in God.
In ancient Hebrew, the words for trust and confidence are batach and mibtach, which sound very Klingon to me. However, they are not gutsy feelings of bravado; they are the intentional acts of someone who deliberately seeks a place of safety or a haven free from any harm. In Jeremiah’s time, a person who placed their confidence in God also had to be proactive about their situation or plight. It was not enough to just ‘let go and let God’; someone who was seriously needing God’s help had to fully be involved in finding the solution to his or her trouble. In fact, someone who trusted and had confidence in God not only prayed about their condition or crisis, they also displayed that they were seeking the best possible outcome or resolution to their problem.
These days, we sometimes offer God glib prayers about our situations and then expect Him to fully work out our problems and solve all the issues. We want our wishes to be fulfilled, but don’t want to change our lives. We need our petitions to be heard, but don’t like to be bothered by having to deal with the actual process. In other words, we seek a shortcut to the solution, so we can get back to feeling good and carry on with our daily lives. The trouble with this instant-response spirituality is clear: God becomes a genie in a lamp and our prayers sound very much like magic spells.
In order to realize what Jeremiah originally expressed about trust and confidence – batach and mitbach – we need to get beyond our feelings and actively seek a solution to our problems. At the same time, we also should look for God’s wisdom and guidance to lead us through the whole process. In this way, we rely on God to show us the way ahead, so we can take the right steps to deal with our troubles. Faith, then, is no longer just a trustful feeling – it becomes something we can positively apply in our present circumstances and personal situations.
Point to ponder: What am I currently facing? What am I asking God to help me with? How am I applying His guidance?
Prayer: Lord God, You know us completely and the different situations we each face. We look to You for help and seek Your wisdom to deal with our issues. Grant us patience and guidance, as well as trust and confidence to look for the assistance we need, the counsel we require, and the solution to our problems. In Christ’s Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s very first faith drawings called “Crossing Over.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.
Come and join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM. You’ll be made very welcome.