We believers love to claim blessings like this one for ourselves and those we love, but in today's reading I'm reminded that a blessing is the face of a two-sided coin. We all want that coin of blessing, but it is ignorant and irresponsible to palm it off or pocket it without examining the other side. The truth is that through our faithfulness or lack thereof, we choose which side of the coin is up. Heads, we win; tails, we lose.
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 17:7-8
The underside of the blessing is a loathsome curse. As a matter of fact, we have to get beyond the curse, in context, before we can lay claim to the blessing. It almost hurts my eyes to look at the dark side of this golden coin, in the preceding verses. Clearly engraved is the warning against any plan that takes us away from trust in God and obedience to his principles, whether inspired by self-confidence, counsel, or calculation:
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.” - Jeremiah 17:5-6Obviously I prefer the blessing, the fruitful evergreen with roots sunk deep in the water of life, fearless against evil, peril and hardship. I can't hand out out the golden coin of blessing, though, or put it in my own purse, without acknowledging the warning on the other side. If we want to spend that coin and buy a blessing, we'll throw our money down, but it is not matter of chance! Whether the coin lands face-up is our choice.