The Stream or the Desert
Thursday, March 3, 2011

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  He 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 . . . and it never ceases to bear fruit.”  (Jer. 17:7-8)


Last fall during the “Republican Landslide” I made a prediction.  I said that everyone is gung ho about cutting the budget now, but just wait until their special favor is attacked – i.e. farm subsidy, union contract, social security, Medicare, bloated government salary, etc.  I said when that occurs there will be rioting in the streets.  I am not a prophet, but I do know human nature.  And what you are witnessing today in your headlines is a culture that depends upon man for its salvation.  Jeremiah wrote to us today, “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” 


We do not have a budget crisis, we have a heart crisis.  And its remedy does not rest in Congress or the Presidency, it rests on people in America who vote for those people and the programs they endorse.  It rests on people who make the decision daily whether depend upon man or upon God.  Jeremiah made a promise to us.  He said, “Yes you will be living under a curse and you will be like a bush in the wasteland if you depend upon [Congress] man,” but he said, “Blessed is the one who puts his trust in the Lord . . . he will never cease to bear fruit.”  Let me challenge you today that God is giving America a chance to return from living in the curse, to living in the blessing.  And Paul gives us some clear pointers in 2 Cor. 1:9-11.


First of all Paul was no stranger to suffering (read 2 Cor. 11) and sometimes his suffering was all but intolerable, but in the midst of this struggle that he likened to “a sentence of death,”  he said, “This happened that we might not rely upon ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”  I don’t know about you but the economic mess of our country has hurt me.  It has made a mess of my business, my equity, and my future retirement.  My clients cry out for help and point fingers wherever they can.  But in the end, all of us were relying upon ourselves.  I think we must pause a moment in our “suffering” to reflect upon where have we been putting our trust.  Have we been relying on our investment wisdom, sales ability, quality of our work, our talents, our portfolio, our inheritance, our union, our tenure, or our “secure job” or have we been relying upon the Lord?  My suspicion is the former.  So maybe today is a day we give thanks to the Lord for shifting our focus from dependence upon man which makes us like a bush in the wasteland to God who makes us like trees planted by the steam.


Second, as we see what has happened, Paul reminds us to shift where our hope lies.  He said, “On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.” (10)   Obama, Boehner, nor Reid will deliver us.  And if there we have set our hope we are doomed and to be “pitied more than all men.”  The Pilgrims set their hope upon God, and I dare any Christian today to surrender their lives to the hardships that the Pilgrims endured.  We would fold like a tinfoil tower.  But they endured, prospered and gave us a land unlike any the world has ever seen.  We are still picking the fruit from their trees.  Yet because we put our trust in the politicians, unions, etc.,  our children are being exiled to the wasteland of debt and bondage to the Chinese.  And when the politicians propose to do what must be done, we riot in the streets and join the pagan nations of the world.


Finally, we must recognize why God is allowing us to go through the tough times.  If we give thanks to the Lord, like Paul, for our hardships; if we put our hope in Him who will deliver us; Paul said, “Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”  You see, as I write almost every day, everything is for the glory of God – even economic collapses.  And if we behave as Christians today, God will be glorified, and many will give thanks.   Before you pick up your placard today to protest, before you lambast your most hated politician, before you cry out to your union boss, before you rebel in the street, ask yourself, is God being glorified in your actions.  Will people give thanks to God because they have witnessed how you give Him glory in all circumstances?  That is your plight – glorify God or live for the glory of a political party, union, or personal investment scheme.

 I fear Christians in America have lived for the glory of man and we are now paying the piper.  But God is giving us this great opportunity to turn our reliance back to Him.  If we would do that, then use our God given votes to elect only those who choose to do the same, then we will see Him transform our land from the desert wilderness to the gardens by the streams.


Kingdom Road Ministries
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Victor, ID 83455

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