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Bitachon - Trusting in the Lord

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Putting your trust in the Lord

by John J. Parsons

 Jeremiah 17:7 (BHS)

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD,and whose hope the LORD is. (Jer. 17:7)

SURELY IT IS ONE THING to believe in God – in the sense of acknowledging God's existence or assenting to certain creeds – and it is another thing to personally trust in the Lord to meet our heartfelt needs. Trust in God is called bittachon in Hebrew, a word that comes from a root word meaning "to lean on, feel safe or secure, to be confident."

Bittachon - trust

Although not without its cognitive side, bittachon primarily involves an act of the heart and will: when I trust in God I emotionally decide to put my expectations, my hopes, my dreams, my desires – in short, all of my life – into the care of the Lord and His provision for me.

Bittachon expresses a vote of confidence in the will of God. We rely upon God's emunah (faithfulness) and character as the only true source of our hope. As the Psalms repeatedly state, the confidence that comes from relying upon God is valid only because of God's chesed (his loyalty or covenantal faithfulness), not because of our own merit or faithfulness.

Some of the Jewish sages have said that bittachon can be of two forms: "active" bittachon and "passive" bittachon. Active bittachon is self-confidence to carry out actions and goals we set for ourselves.  However, it is by God's grace that we are enabled to do anything at all, and this recognition leads to passive bittachon, namely, the confidence that God will work all things together for good to those who are trusting in Him (Romans 8:28). The one who trusts in the Lord is blessed, since his expectation shall never be dashed.


Jeremiah 17:7 (BHS) Transliteration

Barukh haggever asher yivtach ba'Adonai,
ve'hayah Adonai mivtacho

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