Planted and Sustained by His Word

[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.” Jeremiah 17:5-8

In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.

If there is ever a culture that teaches us to trust in ourselves or believe in our potential, it is ours
today .. You can be what you want, do what you want and often the more unusual or eccentric
your beliefs, the more they are celebrated and cherished or admired. Advertisers, motivational
speakers and even TV preachers have made billions off of this, and yet we are constantly duped
by the belief that somehow and some way, if we just had this or that, or could acquire this
amount of money, or close this particular deal, buy this or that house, car or thing we could
accomplish anything. If we could overcome this or that obstacle everything would be ok. We
work and labor day in and day out for security, trying to work for a freedom from having to rely
on anyone or anything else. With the right amount of will power and motivation, we can do or
accomplish anything for ourselves, our family, our home our future, our retirement, our vacation
and so on. Yet it is to this inwardly focused propensity of all humanity, that the Lord speaks. He
speaks His word to the essence of sin and false worship, declaring that the inward
resourcefulness, or the trust in one’s “own abilities” , strength or planning is nothing but cursed.

“Thus says the LORD:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,

whose heart turns away from the LORD.” Jer. 17:5

 

Whether we trust in our own ability, plans, savings, earning potential or even perhaps this or
that mechanism, system on being more productive and bettering ourselves, the result is not only
disappointment year after year, resolution after resolution term after term, season after season,
but ultimately destruction. This is the essence of our Original sin to which the Lord speaks
through his prophet Jeremiah, it is the essence of idolatry, a turning away from the Lord and
curved in on itself.

Don’t be fooled, Old Adam is extremely religious. He believes, and trust, just not in the Lord. He
uses pious language and speaks of value and ethics and the like very often, but our propensity
towards being turned in on ourselves, or as Luther often called it “navel gazing”. Rather than
receiving from our Lord what He so freely and abundantly gives as gift, our sinful nature, or sinful
flesh goes and takes for ourselves what is not given, the forbidden fruit, the lie, that which only
brings death.

The result of this trust in our flesh or man is given by Jeremiah to us in vivid terms:

“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
. N -Jer. 17:6

In other words, that which we falsely believe will fix us, satisfy us, improve us, clean us and the
like does exactly the opposite. It kills us, destroys and leaves us empty. This is what Jesus is also
referring to in our Gospel text where He teaches the multitude in Luke’s Gospel:

But woe to you who are rich for you have received your consolation.
[25] Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. N_ Luke 6:24-5

Thanks be to God that rather than leaving us to ourselves, or in our state of sin, even from the
beginning He is the One who calls to the man or woman “dead in trespass and sin” and speaks
them alive with His Word of life. This is no different from His calling of our first parents, Adam
and Even in the garden. Rather than going in and punishing or destroying them after their sin as
we would expect, He calls to them, “Where are you?”. is the One who came to seek and save
those who are lost, from Genesis 3 onward. So, He repents us, He makes alive and speaks His
Gospel into the ears of those who can’t even hear or see. He gives His gift of the forgiveness of
all sin to the sinner. This is what He does when He speaks “blessings, or blessedness to us” He is
giving His gifts, making new and cleansing the sinner.

[7J Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD (or Yahweh),
w
hose trust is Yahweh.-Jer. 17:7

 

To trust in Yahweh is to believe, hope and have confidence not in one’s self, but in the God, who
alone is salvation. It is to trust in Jesus, Yahweh in flesh, who lived, was crucified and rose on the
3rd day, to forgive all of your sin. It is to believe His Word of forgiveness, just as you were spoken
to this morning in Holy Absolution that on account of Christ you are clean, bringing you life and
salvation, all of His gifts. It is the life of faith, the life of receiving. Even your ability to trust or
believe or trust in Him is a gift from His Word to you. For faith comes by hearing and hearing by
the Word of Christ. Faith is not an inward curving, or a look inside your heart, but of an open
hand, a look outside of one’s self and looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross
, despising the shame, and is seated at
the right hand of th
e throne of God.-Heb. 12:2

Hear the results of faith according to the Word this morning:

IIHe is like a tree planted by water,

that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does notfear
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.-Jer. 17:8

The life of faith in Christ, is life that is created, nourished and deeply rooted. It’s not fearful,
anxious and doesn’t cease to bear fruit. Notice the stark contrast here. Jesus, says much the
same in our Gospel text:

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

[21] “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

[22] Btessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn
your name as evil
. on account of the Son of Man! [23] Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for
behold
, your reward is great in heaven;” -Luke 6:20-22

Our Lord is not delivering to you and me a list of things for us to do, but rather through His word
of blessing, His word of Gospel, Jesus brings to you Himself. He does so, now, today. For “today is
the day of salvation.” And “Baptism, NOW saves you” He is giving His gifts to the poor, hungry,
destitute, depressed, reviled, persecuted His very person crucified on a cross for your sins. For it
is Jesus who became poor for you that He might give the riches of His grace, hungry for you that
He might feed you His very Body and Blood, He wept for you so that He may wipe away every
tear from your eyes when He brings you into the eternal home prepared for you. He was hated
and rejected for you that you might be accepted and Baptized into His family as a son or
daughter with His very name placed upon you. This is all Jesus’ great work, His doing, His
forgiving, His saving, His undoing of the curse of Original sin. It is His kingdom, His righteousness
that are now yours by gift or grace, through faith. “[13] for it is God who works in you, both to
will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). It is Jesus choosing of you, not your
choosing of Him, that you should bear fruit that would last. Thanks be to God that our Lord does

 

all the doing, runs all the verbs in our salvation beginning to end, for that’s who He is and what
He does for you. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh could not do. By
sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin he condemned sin in the flesh //
Rom. 8:3 We therefore receive, trust and have confidence with rejoicing that if God is for us,
who can be against us.

In the Name of Jesus,
AMEN.

 

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