The Fear of Man part 2
Trust God and You Will Be Blessed. Jer 17:7-8
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. And so, well, how do I do that? It’s back to what we’ve been talking about. It’s the way you think. That defined our joy in Him. That there is sufficient cause for joy and strength in who God is, what He is to us. Christ is the living water. He is the vine, we are the branches. And as we learn to turn to Him, we will be strengthened and nourished. And so we have to entrust even the wayward spouse, the wayward child, the other relationships in our life, the job or the job we don’t have, the employer, all of these, we have to self-consciously put our trust in God. Trusting Him that He is enough. That if my wife never comes back, or if my husband does die of the cancer, even if my kids do wind up in prison, I can still trust God. It doesn’t mean you like those things happening to you. But you can still be strengthened, and endure, and of course, the language used here, would be like a tree planted by the water. The tree planted by the river doesn’t need it to rain to survive. If you had time, if you wanted to go out to Borrego Springs, out in the desert nearest here there’s a hike I’ve taken a few times down Palm Canyon and it’s very interesting because you’ve started at this little visitor center place and you’re walking your way down this canyon. And it’s dry and barren, and then off down the way a couple of miles, you see this patch of green. And you keep walking, you get closer, and there’s an oasis there. There’s a spring there. And around the spring, there are all these giant palm trees and other vegetation. And even if you go there in the middle of August when it hasn’t rained since March, you’re gonna see these big, green, happy trees and bushes and plants all around, they’re not dependent upon the rain. I think some of them have dates or coconuts, probably dates in them as well, but they have fruit even, and like in this little parable. And that’s the picture of what we can be in Christ, even through the worst of trials.
And so in a time of trial, especially a trial with people, the answer isn’t for the people to become what we want them to be. The answer isn’t that our fears are relieved by the circumstances being changed. But rather, the answer is, I need to learn what it means to be that tree planted by the river of water. And that God tells me in His word that I can learn to flourish, it says even when heat comes, it will not fear. Heat, what’s heat? It’s the thing you’re afraid of. The unfaithful spouse, the wayward child, the mean boss who works you to death and as soon as the project is over, fires you. That even if the heat comes, your leaves can remain green. You’re not anxious in the year of drought. Even when the rain isn’t coming, the rain of circumstances, the rain of love, the rain of appreciation. You will endure because you’re united, of course, from us looking at the New Testament perspective, Jesus describes himself, you want living water? You don’t want to go to this well, from me flows the living water. He is, like with the bread of life, He is the one who sustains us. That a believer can live above his circumstances. Spurgeon said, “blessed is that man who has a secret life, a secret strength, a secret comfort which sustains him in the trying hour. The world can’t perceive it, but he drinks it in and lives upon it.”
So what I would do with a counselee and some people who observe me will notice we go to this one a lot, is you take them through this passage and you personalize it to them. I’ve been talking to you in the abstract, somewhat. You take it for them and say why are you now like the bush in the desert? What’s the problem? What’s causing this? What does the Bible say is causing this? And it’s not what the other person is doing to you, it’s not what you’re afraid of, but it’s where your heart is in seeking ultimate happiness and satisfaction, contentment, peace. And what people do, rather than having this relationship with God, and God is great enough, and glorious enough, and powerful enough, to be all you need. You can also, along with this, use examples in Scripture. Where Paul says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, he’s writing in Philippians four, he’s writing in prison. Or you think in Act 16 when he’s been beaten, he’s in prison there, and he has no idea how long he’s gonna be there. But he’s able to sing songs of praise to God and then is prepared to witness to, and then baptize the jailer, and his family. And it’s because of his union with Christ, which can’t, which circumstances, which hardship, which people can’t break. So whatever the fear may be, especially people-related fear, and I will give people to read Welch’s book When People Are Big And God Is Small, and he develops this quite a bit more, I think we also have an audio based upon that.