9 March • Thursday of the Second Week in Lent
5. Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6. 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.
7. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
8. 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.”
9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10. “I the LORD search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
It is impossible to live without trust; everyone places trust in something or someone, and make choices accordingly. In this passage, the word “trusts” appears twice. The first time, it is connected with a cursed life when a person “trusts in man and makes flesh his strength” (v.5). The second appearance of the word relates to a blessed life when a person trusts in the Lord (v.7).
The critical difference is where trust is placed. People who place their total trust in fallible men are disappointed or betrayed because all of us are fallible, infected by sin, and limited in knowledge and power. But with the Lord, it is different, for He is not man, that he should lie or break His promises or forget us (Num 23:9). He continuously watches over us (Ps 121:7) and will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). When we trust God, we will never be forsaken or disappointed.
The problem, however, is our deceitful and “desperately sick” hearts (v.9). Even though we might think we are trusting the Lord, we might in fact have turned our trust elsewhere. When we think that God has forgotten us or that His Word is not reliable, we turn away from God to lesser objects of trust. It is easy to deceive ourselves. The solution is to let God search our hearts and minds to reveal to us who we really trust. It is not wrong to exercise some measure of trust in others—family, church leaders, doctors, salesmen, mechanics, etc. But it is wrong to displace our trust in God with anything or anyone else. Our ultimate trust must be in Him. That will determine whether we are like a well-watered plant (cf. Ps 1:3) or a withered bush in the wilderness.
Lord, even when my current circumstances may test my faith in You, help me to always trust You more than anything else, for You alone are my fortress and hope.
Let me live in such a way that others can see that I truly trust in You in all aspects of my life.
Ask the Lord to help you search your heart and reveal where your ultimate trust is—in God, in your health, finances, abilities, job or connections. Be convinced that more than trusting yourself or others, it is far better to trust in God. List out the evidence for this in the daily routines and relationships in your life, and in the choices you make. Ask God to help you trust Him.
Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon
The Methodist Church in Singapore