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Jeremiah 17:5-10

Author: Scott David Foutz

Text: Jeremiah 17:5-10

Proposition: Although God sometimes seems silent during our suffering, He
                      continues to watch and reward the faithful. 

   A. Illustration: Child's fear of being alone
   B. Jeremiah's predicament: Israel's exile, Judah's moral decline, Babylonians

I. Although the Lord may seem far removed from our problems, we should 
   continue to trust in Him (vv. 5-8)
   A. Many turn from trusting in God and pursue human strength for help (v.5-6)
      1. They deliberately turn from God's blessing to judgment ("Cursed"; v.5)
      2. They become like a desert bush struggling to survive in a parched land,v.6
         a. he will not see the time of blessing
         b. heat/ salt references (see v.4; salt in the soil destroyed fertility & life)
      3. Illustration: Revenging a crime against oneself

   B. God desires that we continue trusting in Him despite the difficulty (v.7-8)
      1. The Lord becomes our object of confidence (v.7b's subject is Lord)
      2. We will be as trees which flourish near the stream (v.8)
         a. Similarities to Psalm One (Men = trees [desert bush/chaff]; God = water)          
         b. Differences with Psalm One
            1. both experience heat (judgment, v.4; "spiritual" judgment [Mt 5:45])
            2. both experience drought (felt absence of God [15:18]; Job 9:22)
         c. despite times of difficulty, we flourish due to past experiences
      3. Illustration: Constant exercise lessens threat of stroke

II. Although our hearts fail to guide us correctly, the Lord continues to watch 
     and reward those who obey Him (vv. 9-10)
   A. Jeremiah's distress (personal and communal; v.9)
      1. The heart is deceitful/ unreliable (cf. Rom. 7:14-25) 
      2. The heart is beyond cure (cf. 17:1 [Judah's]; 17:14 [Jeremiah's])
      3. The heart is beyond comprehension; Jeremiah's question: Who can know it?
   B. The Lord's Reply (v.10)
      1. The Lord understands and considers the human heart (mercifully)
      2. The Lord rewards obedience (despite our spiritual inability).

   A. Illustration: On the burning building
   B. We should not allow the fear of our heart to cause us to cast aside our 
        trust in the Lord.
   C. If we continue to trust in the Lord in times of trouble, He will provide us 
       the means whereby we may survive all trouble.


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