Where Do I Place My Trust?

     Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the question, “What am I trusting to make sense of life?” It is interesting that almost all of the objects of our trust are man-made. The challenge with our man-made idols is that they really have no power to affect the outcomes that we desire, except to give a false sense of hope.

     Many years ago, I had the privilege of traveling to a country on the other side of the world. The people there were a very religious people. The primary belief system in the country worshiped an assortment of gods. There were a pantheon of deities for just about every aspect of life; a god of war, peace, prosperity, and even fertility. Driving around town I noticed numerous alters of worship along the side of the road along with temples for the worship of a specific deity. These places of worship would range from simple roadside alters made of mud to those in extravagant buildings. It seemed as if these places of worship were everywhere. Businesses would have a specific “god shelf” displayed in a prominent place. Even homes would have designated tables or places built into the wall for a picture or statuette of their deity.

     Coming from a western religious context I often struggled to relate to the practices of worshiping these images of gods, even though it has been a major part of human existence. I have even struggled to understand how Old Testament saints drifted into worshiping these man-made images. Then I realized I was prone to the same tendencies, only my man-made deities did not have a physical image. My idols were my man-made places where I put my trust and confidence. They would also at times become my source for hope.

     The Lord reminds us of the fallacy of trusting man-made idols. “Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them,” (Jeremiah 10:1–2). Once again we find the Lord addressing the fallacy of our trust in powerless man-made objects that have no ability to control outcomes in our lives.

     I am reminded that we are no different in the western world, with the exception that our idols do not have a physical image. The challenge is to not adapt to deities of culture but to trust the Lord. “for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.” (Jeremiah 10:3).  The Lord pulls back the curtain to remind His people that these cultural sources of hope really have no power to effect real change, bring genuine peace, or make meaningful change in our lives (I would encourage you to read the passage.). We read  “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23). His point is that any source of hope apart from the Lord is of our own delusion. It is powerless. So why not trust the Lord who has given us a glimpse of His power through creation?

     Let me encourage you to be honest with yourself in answering the question: “Where do I place my trust?” “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.” (Jeremiah 10:23–24).

-Pastor Joe Parkinson

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