Sermon for 02.13.22 Epiphany 6 “Blessed or cursed?”

*Sermon for 02.13.22 Epiphany 6 Text: Jeremiah 17:5-8 Theme: Blessed or

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*

*The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.*

*Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*

*Blessèd Jesus, at Your Word*

*We are gathered all to hear You.*

*Let our hearts and souls be stirred *

*Now to seek and love and fear You,*

*By Your teachings, sweet and holy,*

*Drawn from earth to love You solely. *

*All our knowledge, sense, and sight *

*Lie in deepest darkness shrouded*

*Till Your Spirit breaks our night *

*With the beams of truth unclouded.*

*You alone to God can win us;*

*You must work all good within us. Amen.*


*Ancient Greek historian Herodotus once said of Egypt that it was the gift
of the Nile.*

*Without the Nile, there would be no pyramids, no tombs, no treasures, no
temples, no pharaohs like Ramses or Tutankhamen. *

*Egypt would be like any other place in the Sahara Desert of northern
Africa. *

*But since the Nile flows year round, and since Egypt was not dependent on
rain, droughts were not an issue in Egypt. *

*The Nile flooded every year from the snowmelts thousands of miles upstream
in the highlands of Ethiopia and Uganda, and those floods deposited silt to
enrich the soil of Egypt. *

*But go just a mile away from the Nile, beyond the reach of the floods or
irrigation, and the desert and brown sand are immediate. *

*Now where would you want to plant your crop? *

*In the desert or by the Nile? *

*The answer is apparent.*

*The spiritual parallel is obvious: should we trust in the desert of our
own strength or trust in the Lord, who waters us that we may prosper and
grow in his green pastures? (Jeremiah17:8)*

*These are difficult times we’re living in. *

Economic uncertainty,

political unrest,

financial hardships,

anxiety about health and safety can all magnify any personal turmoil we
might be facing.

When faced with these challenges, where do you go or what do you do to get
through them?

Whom can you trust to help you get through these difficult times in which
we’re living?



Or is it to the Lord you go for help in times of trouble?

*There really are only two ways: either trusting human abilities or
trusting the Lord. *

*And To Trust in the Lord Is Better Than to Trust in Human Strength.*

*The difference is either blessing or curse.*

*1. There really are only two ways: trusting in man or trusting in the

*There really are only those two ways: trusting in man or trusting in the
Lord. *

*The Lord said to his people, through the prophet Jeremiah:*

“You are cursed if you do not trust in the Lord, if you only trust in
humanity and in human strength and wisdom, and if you turn away from the
Lord. Rather, blessed are you when you trust in the Lord and commit your
life to him.”

*The one who trusts in himself is like a stubby shrub in a desert with no
water about, only salt flats as far as you can see.*

Nothing good is going to come from that.

Certainly no prospering nor full luxuriant growth.

That shrub will eventually wither and die.

*In contrast, one who trusts in the Lord, and commits his life to the Lord,
is like a strong, green tree that grows and prospers and bears fruit
because it has its deep roots in the life-giving waters.*

It doesn’t worry nor is it afraid if there’s a drought;

it can weather anything because it has a never-failing, ever-flowing stream
of life to support it and to see it through.

*2. Do you trust in the Lord (“Blessed!”) or in yourself (“Cursed!”)?*

In whom do you trust?

Is it yourself?

You wouldn’t be alone if you say you trusted in yourself first and foremost
to get yourself through difficult times, or any times in this day and age.

*People will say:*

“I’m smart enough;

I’m good enough.

People like me.

I’ve got enough money.

I’ve got friends;

I’ve got my networks.

I can do just fine.”

*You might say the same things and be proud of it.*

But what have you forgotten?

What’s left out of the equation?

If these are the things you trust in, God says,

“Cursed are you!”

For one thing, they will all fail you.

They won’t last forever; they’ll die with you, and then what?

Will they help you in the life of the world to come?


Jesus said,

“Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

*Not as a last resort, but first! *

Cursed are you!

Not only will they fail you, but you also have not turned to the Lord, who
made heaven and earth.

Turning from the Lord means we have despised and neglected the Lord.

We have sought help only in ourselves.

Will that be enough on the Last Day?

When we stand before the Lord, who will our help be?


“Cursed is the man who trusts in man” (verse 5).

*In contrast, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord” (v 7), for the
Lord only is able to prosper and protect you.*

He is the one who will give you full life now and eternally.

Not only will all others disappoint and fail you, but your turning to
others is really a turning from the Lord.

Trusting in the Lord is like being planted by an ever-flowing river of
water, like a palm tree next to the Nile River in Egypt.

It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t rain; there’s always water.

But go just a mile from the Nile and there’s no vegetation at all because
there is no water.

So where would you want to be planted?

Or where would you plant your crop?

By the Nile or inland, in the desert?

So it is with trust in the Lord.

*Where would you rather be planted? *

That is, in whom do you trust?

You say, “the Lord,” but do you?

You might say, “Well, not at first, but if all else fails, I’ve got the
Lord to fall back on.”

You wouldn’t like to be anyone’s second or third or last choice, would you?

How do you think that attitude reflects on your trust in the Lord?

God rightly judges those who trust in themselves and is right to condemn

*We deserve what we would get.*

We deserve to be parched,

to wither and to die,

because we have not trusted in God, who says,

“Come unto me, and I will give rest (cf Matthew 11:28);

I will give you life” (cf John 10:10).

*3. Jesus trusted in his Heavenly Father and suffered your curses so that
your trusting in yourself is forgiven and you are blessed.*

We have failed to trust in the Lord; we have failed to seek him first.

But there is one who did all things well (Mark 7:37), who trusted in the
Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind.

That is our Lord Jesus.

He trusted his heavenly Father with all his life.

In the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus trusted the Word of the Lord to
take care of him and his life.

And when he died on the cross, parched and thirsty, not because of any sin
in him but rather for us and for our salvation, Jesus still said even then,

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46).

*Jesus suffered on the cross all the curses we deserve and in their place
gives us all the blessings we have not earned.*

He poured out his life that we may have life from him, from his body and
from his blood.

When Jesus rose from the dead, he breathed the Holy Spirit on his
disciples, empowering them to preach the good news of forgiveness of sins
(John 20:19–23).


So repent of your sin of not trusting in the Lord and trusting in yourself.

Believe the incredibly wonderful good news that your sin of mistrust and
lack of trust, and trust in yourself, is forgiven and paid for on the cross
by Jesus.

Know that life, true life, life never failing, comes from God.

Stay connected to him, for he is your life and salvation (Psalm 27:1) and
will prosper your life and growth for his purposes.

He will lead you to streams of living water and green pastures in the house
of the Lord forever.

Blessed is the man, Jesus, who trusted in the Lord.

Blessed are you who trust in the Lord Jesus both now and forevermore. Amen.

*Gracious Savior, good and kind, *

*Light of Light, from God proceeding,*

*Open now our heart and mind; *

*Help us by Your Spirit’s pleading.*

*Hear the cry Your Church now raises;*

*Hear and bless our prayers and praises. *

*Father, Son, and Spirit, Lord, *

*Praise to You and adoration!*

*Grant that we may trust Your Word, *

*Confident of our salvation,*

*While we here below must wander,*

*Till we sing Your praises yonder. Amen. *

*Text: LSB 904 Public domain*

*The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.*

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*