It seems to me like this is really clarifying question. In whom is your trust?
It appears that there are two types of people in the world as described in today’s passage. Let’s see how Jeremiah (as inspired by the Spirit) describes and contrasts them.
The first group, which is a huge majority, are those people who trust in “man.” They “[draw] strength from mere flesh.” There are lots of variations in this group. Maybe they trust in their own strength. I’ve known people like that: They’re “self-made” men or women. They know this world is a dark place, and so they’ve learned to trust in themselves to get through life’s problems. They tend to be honest, hard-working, self-sacrificing people, so they have lots of redeeming qualities. They trust in their own resources: their own intelligence and hard work and charisma; they think that’s enough.
Or maybe they draw “strength” from the “flesh” of someone else. Maybe the “man” they trust in is a politician, even a President. Maybe they trust what some priest or rabbi or minister tells them. Maybe they trust in the “strength” of money. Some place their trust in their country’s military power or economic power.
What’s the commonality of all these people? They might trust in different things, but the way to see what they have in common is by contrasting it to the second group. The people in the second group, the tiniest of minorities by way of comparison, trust in the Lord. Their confidence is in him. And in him alone.
You see, my friend, you’re either in one group or the other. If you don’t trust in God, then you’re trusting in human strength and resource, either your own or someone else’s. It’s the same principle that I made from the last speech of Joshua: If you aren’t worshipping the God of the Bible, it really doesn’t matter what you worship.
And also please note that the difference between these groups is not whether or not troubles come. The group that trusts in “man” will end up dwelling in a parched place in the desert. Does the group that trusts in the Lord have it free and easy? No. They also have a time of “heat” and “drought.” They go through life’s problems and turmoil and trials just like everyone else.
So what’s the difference between the two? Actually, there are two mentioned here. The first is for the here and now. The blessed ones don’t “fear when heat comes, [their] leaves are always green.” Yes, the heat will come, but it’s nothing to fear. As the old saying goes, if you fear the Lord, you don’t have to fear anything else. When everyone else around you is falling apart, you don’t have to. People look at a tree and wonder why its fruit is so green. Of course it’s green—it’s planted by the river. The river is its source of nourishment and strength. The tree’s roots are planted down deep out of sight, but you can see the result. In the same way, no one can literally see my relationship with my Savior, but you should be able to see the results in the way I handle catastrophe.
And the second difference is in the there and then. Of course, Jeremiah’s first listeners would've understood him as mostly referring to this life when he talked about “prosperity” coming. Some day, very soon, those who truly belong to the God of Israel would be vindicated in their trust. How much more will that be true of us, we who understand more about the Age To Come than they ever did?
If you’ve been with me a while, you know what I’m going to be asking next: To which group do you belong? Are you trusting in the only true Refuge, or in something else?
Lord Jesus, I do trust you. I want to demonstrate it and show it and advertise it. Please, may everything I do and say reflect that.