Jeremiah 17 presents an interesting and capturing contrast. Here we read:
Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
(Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV)
The contrast is between those who trust in man, and those who trust in the Lord. Those who trust in man are like shrubs in a desert, while those who trust in the Lord are like trees planted by streams of water. Picture the sun beating down on this shrub in the desert. All of us have the sun, or pressures of our circumstances, beating down on us. Our soil is our heart. For the unsaved, they can be nothing more than a shrub in the desert. As much as lies within our power, we should seek to help them see how the gospel can change them and address their biggest problem. For the believer, they are trees. Some are trees with rather sparse foliage and fruit, and our goal is to show them how the gospel can move them forward to bearing greater fruit and flourishing, such as this tree in Jer. 17 and Ps. 1.
Where are you at? Are you a shrub in the desert? Or perhaps you are a tree, but feel as if you aren't very fruitful. The gospel is for both of you.