Jer. 17:7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah and whose trust Jehovah is. And he will be like a tree transplanted beside water, which sends out its roots by a stream, and will not be afraid when heat comes; for its leaves remain flourishing, and it will not be anxious in the year of drought and will not cease to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 is a word about the curse of trusting in man and the blessing of trusting in Jehovah. [Verses 7 and 8 speak] concerning the blessing of trusting in Jehovah.
These verses can be understood in two different ways—according to the natural understanding and according to God’s economy. According to the natural understanding, these verses seem to indicate only that if we trust in God, we will be blessed, mainly in a material way. However, the revelation here includes much more than this. According to God’s economy, the one who trusts in God is like a tree planted by water, signifying God as the fountain of living waters (2:13a). The tree grows beside the river by absorbing all the riches of the water into it. This is a picture of God’s dispensing. In order to receive the divine dispensing, we as the trees must absorb God as the water. (Life-study of Jeremiah, p. 111)
The thought in Jeremiah 17:7-8 is the same as that in 1 Corinthians 3:6, where Paul says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.” The watering is for the tree’s absorbing, and the absorbing is the receiving of God’s dispensing. The tree grows with God as the Supplier and the supply. The supply is the riches of the supplying God dispensed into us as the plants so that we may grow into God’s measure. Eventually, the plants and God, God and the plants, are one, having the same element, essence, constitution, and appearance.
Jeremiah 17:7 and 8 are not concerned merely with such a shallow matter as trusting in God to receive material blessings. Actually these verses refer to God’s economy carried out by His dispensing. God is the living water to be dispensed into our being in order to become our very constituent. We all need to see the crucial significance of absorbing God as the living water that we may be constituted with His element and essence. (Life-study of Jeremiah, pp. 111-112)
In 1 Corinthians 3:1 Paul tells the believers at Corinth, “And I, brothers, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to fleshy, as to infants in Christ.” The fact that Paul refers to them as infants indicates that they had not grown in life after receiving the initial gifts of the divine life and the Holy Spirit.
If the saints in a particular locality are short of the growth of life, they cannot have the proper church life. Actually, the reality of the church does not exist among them. Yes, they are a local church in name, but they do not have the reality of the church. The church exists as a gathering of saved people, but it cannot be considered a reality in the growth of life and in the experience and enjoyment of Christ. Furthermore, where the growth of life is lacking, the believers’ Christian life will be a mess, the church life will be damaged, and the Body life will be destroyed. This was exactly the situation in Corinth. Although the Corinthian believers had received the initial gifts, they had not grown in life. Instead, they merely had the divine life and the Holy Spirit sown into them as seeds. Because they did not have the normal growth in life, they did not have the proper Christian life, church life, and Body life.
Paul does not speak of the church in a doctrinal way, but in the way of life, in the way of feeding, watering, and growing. Only if the Corinthians grew in life could the reality of the church exist among them through the experience of Christ and only then could the Body life be built up. (Life-study of 1 Corinthians, pp. 219-220)
Further Reading: Life-study of Jeremiah, msgs. 12, 16; CWWL, 1959, vol. 3, “Lessons for New Believers,” lsns. 22-25