From a botanical standpoint, a shrub has multiple stems instead of a single trunk and doesn’t grow nearly as tall as a tree. From a landscape perspective, shrubs are good for making a hedge or as decorative color in flower gardens or next to houses or walkways.
Now, I’m not saying that shrubs are bad things. They serve a purpose and can be pretty to look at. But they’re destined to stay small. Shrubs will never tower over homes or give shade to more than a few small animals. The potential for more is simply not there.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve looked at Jeremiah 17:7-8 where the prophet states that the man who trusts and hopes in God is blessed and will be like a tree that spreads out its roots by the river, does not fear the drought, and bears endless fruit. It’s a lush and green image.
Do you know what the opposite of that picture is? Look two verses earlier.
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.” (Jeremiah 17:5-6 NKJV)
Desert. Parched. Salt land. Uninhabited. A shrub whose growth is stunted and cut off from the source of water and life. How did this person end up this way? Because he trusted in himself rather than God.
Hmm. Trust in God = blessed growth by the waters. Trust in self = cursed isolation in the desert. No question there. In 2012, I want to be like a tree … and not a shrub.
What about you? What’s the difference between trusting in God or trusting in man? Which causes you to grow? Which causes you to dry out?