Trees: The Desert Shrub vs. The Fruitful Tree

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.”

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:5-10 (ESV)

If you’ve followed my recent series on trees in the Bible, the first thing you might realize in this scripture is the repetition of trees growing beside a river, a representation of God’s desired lifestyle for a believer. Here, the person who trusts in the Lord, is able to draw continually from the life source he provides, resulting in a full, fruitful, robust life.

But what about those who don’t believe in God? Here, the self-made person is represented as a shrub in the desert. They struggle to produce, and what they produce has no lasting value.

This passage of scripture reminds me of another passage in John.

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

John 15:5-8 (NLT)

God has given us free will. We have a choice to make and he goes to great lengths to help us make informed decisions. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, the serpent tries to deceive us into thinking if we have enough knowledge we can do this (life) on our own without God’s help. Our rebellion is deeply rooted in our hearts. The solution is there in the inspired words of the Bible, Trust in the Lord. Remain in Jesus. Drink from the river of life.

Grace & Peace,


Image by jplenio from Pixabay

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