CURSED OR BLESSED?
“Search me, God, and know my heart…” (Psa. 139:23).
Read Jeremiah 17:1–18
17 “Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool,
inscribed with a flint point,
on the tablets of their hearts
and on the horns of their altars.
2 Even their children remember
their altars and Asherah poles
beside the spreading trees
and on the high hills.
3 My mountain in the land
and your wealth and all your treasures
I will give away as plunder,
together with your high places,
because of sin throughout your country.
4 Through your own fault you will lose
the inheritance I gave you.
I will enslave you to your enemies
in a land you do not know,
for you have kindled my anger,
and it will burn forever.”
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”
11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
are those who gain riches by unjust means.
When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them,
and in the end they will prove to be fools.
12 A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning,
is the place of our sanctuary.
13 Lord, you are the hope of Israel;
all who forsake you will be put to shame.
Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust
because they have forsaken the Lord,
the spring of living water.
14 Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.
15 They keep saying to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it now be fulfilled!”
16 I have not run away from being your shepherd;
you know I have not desired the day of despair.
What passes my lips is open before you.
17 Do not be a terror to me;
you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
18 Let my persecutors be put to shame,
but keep me from shame;
let them be terrified,
but keep me from terror.
Bring on them the day of disaster;
destroy them with double destruction.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDoes being blessed mean receiving “gifts” from God or is being blessed a lifestyle?
In an uncertain, unhappy world, it’s good to know that God is our refuge (17)! Let’s put “roots” down into his Word now (8).
Cursed (5)? The sin of the people was deeply embedded in their whole lives (1). It wasn’t just the occasional slip-up. Their idolatry (2,3) was so much part of everyday life that seeing its signs and symbols were normal for children growing up at that time (2). There was another kind of idolatry too. They were putting too much trust in themselves and other people (5). Unjust, greedy, trusting in riches (11)—God said it would all end in disaster (3,17).
Being blessed doesn’t look like that of course. Although sometimes it may not feel very easy to be blessed! Living in the midst of today’s world, it can be difficult to keep a pure heart (Matt. 5:8). Yet, God sees and knows (10), encourages us to live close to him (7,8), and gives us the resources we need: “the spring of living water” (13; John 4:13,14).
Spare a thought for Jeremiah who had the job of delivering these words! Mocked and threatened—he cried out to God for help (14–18). In spite of everything, he was set on praising God (14), found refuge in him (17)—and was blessed.
Are there “idols” in your life that are so familiar to you that you don’t even notice them anymore? Evaluate where you spend your time and money. What does that say about your priorities?
What does God see in your heart? Take refuge in him now.