It happens to me quite frequently. I know I’ve read a particular chapter and verse of the Bible, but upon reading it for the second, third, or fourth time, I’m struck with how important that verse is to the context and I can’t believe that I would have missed it before. In my egocentricity I think, “Surely this verse wasn’t there the last time I read this section.” The connection seems so obvious, and yet I never caught it until now.
As dumb as those instances make me feel sometimes, they are also full of excitement because, through them, God shows me the depth and sufficiency of his Word.
I had one of these moments recently when I was reading over Jeremiah 17 again. Most likely, you are familiar with Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” It’s not the kind of verse you would needle-stitch on a pillow, but in Evangelical circles we reference it often.
This passage has God speaking to Judah about their persistent sin as he has them look forward to 70 years of captivity. The context is sobering and sad, but wait… there is light and hope in a verse I didn’t know was there, verse 7: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord.”
Now, this concept is seen all over Scripture, but in this chapter, it gives, a stark contrast – Yes, the heart is deceitful and sick, therefore you should not trust man; that leads to a curse (vv. 5 and 9) . But, on the other hand, there is a way that leads to blessing: trusting in the Lord.
We serve a Gd who gives the promise of blessing and joy even in the midst of strong rebuke and severe warning. Do you see the mercy in this? Even on the road to the judgment his people deserve, God is preaching hope: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.”