Friday, October 15, 2010

Trusting in the blessings more than in the One who blesses

Through the Bible in 90 Days: Day 54

Read: Isaiah 66:19-Jeremiah 10:13

Verse that stood out: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!" - Jeremiah 7:4

Jeremiah was a prophet to Judah, the southern half of ancient Israel. The northern half, which kept the name Israel, had already fallen to the Assyrians. Jeremiah spends his time warning that the same fate awaits Judah unless they mend their ways. The problem for Jeremiah (as for most prophets) is that nobody in Judah was listening to him. They assumed that because they had the temple in Jerusalem, nothing bad could happen to them even if they were behaving badly. God, after all, wouldn't let anyone come and knock down his house, would he?

It's easy in life to shift our trust from being a trust in God to being a trust in the things of God. This is perhaps the most dangerous form of idolatry because it is one of the most subtle forms. It's not always easy to tell the difference between a trust in the One who blesses and a trust in the blessings. Do I trust in the One who gives me health or in health itself? Do I trust in the One who has blessed me with a family or have I put my trust in my actual family? Do I trust the One who provides me with a job or do I trust my ability to make money at that job?

One kind of trust leads to presumption - when we begin to identify God with the blessings God gives we begin to assume God will never allow those blessings to be taken from us. Otherwise, the thinking goes, God would be removing his presence from us. This is essentially the mistake that Jews of Jeremiah's day made. The other kind of trust, the trust placed in God alone, is able to say, no matter what comes my way, I trust that God is with me. Jeremiah's contemporaries would learn this truth, but it would come only after losing everything else they held dear.

Let's pray we don't have to learn this lesson in the same way. Take an inventory of your life today. Are you trusting in the blessings or in the One who blesses? What do you think are some ways to keep that distinction clear in your life?

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