Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” NKJV
At the risk of being identified as one who focuses on the negative, I feel that I must address the Curse first. I believe that the Curst pronounced by God can be seen in the Church of 2016. What am I talking about? TRUSTING FLESH. Flesh, here, is not the physical body it is the nature in us, received by inheritance from our father Adam through the fall in the Garden of Eden. If you will remember that Adam did not produce offspring until after he had transgressed God’s command.
Let me state emphatically that the essential motivation of Adam’s transgression was not the desire to do evil, but the desire to be independent of God. That desire is found in all of Adam’s descendants. It is THE FLESH – doing what we want, when we ant and how we want. In Religion it “performs” and seeks approval by doing “righteous acts” without depending on the Supernatural Power of the Holy Spirit and Grace of God. No matter how good the intentions, the final product will always be an Ishmael, not an Isaac. It will be FLESH, not FAITH.
The Flesh of Man is corrupt! Hebrews 6:1 identifies it as “dead works.” Back to our text and topic, this person in Jeremiah 17:5 is not a stranger to the grace of God. It calls him one “whose heart departs from the LORD.” You can’t depart from what you have never known! So, the one who has experienced or known God’s Grace and turns back is trusting his own ability and thereby TRUSTING THE FLESH. Jeremiah 17:6 gives a picture of the outworking of the curse in this individual’s life. He lives in PARCHED PLACES and in a SALT LAND. All that surrounds him is barren and dreary. Others around him may be refreshed but it always eludes him and he lives in barrenness and frustration. That is a terrible place! He is like a bush in the desert having potential but no water needed to make it flourish. He is in stony places where the soil is dry and shallow and not conducive for producing. He will not see prosperity when it comes because he is spiritually blind and fruitless. He lives in an uninhabited salt land where there is no reproduction and fruitlessness is the norm. That is a terrible condition!
THERE IS A DANGER we must note. Every move of God of any significance in Christendom began with a powerful supernatural work of the Grace and Spirit of God. God’s presence gave prominence not what they did but WHAT HE DID and WHO HE IS. Over time, history reveals, they begin to rely on their natural abilities and do the best they can in their own abilities. They MADE FLESH THEIR STRENGTH. I will not charge that it was or is malicious, but in reality, the hearts departed from God. They may and many do gain religious and intellectual respectability but forfeit God’s Power and Presence. What happens is the exaltation of the Carnal over the Spiritual. That is manifested in numerous ways some are:
- Theology becomes exalted over Revelation.
- Education is placed above Character.
- Psychology overshadows Spiritual Discernment.
- Program supersedes the Leading of the Spirit of God.
- Eloquence desired above the Supernatural Power.
- Reason replaces Faith.
- Laws have more prominence than Love.
The Lifeblood of any person or church is Relationship with God and the continual revelation of God’s person to His people. If you shut that off, all you have is a study about God not the Living Presence of the LIVING GOD HIMSELF. All those find their root in one basic error. Putting man in a place God has reserved solely for Himself, through Christ’s finished work on the Cross. In Galatians 3:1-10, Paul traces the problem from its source to its culmination and calls it WITCHCRAFT. I know that will be troubling for some but read verse 1 and you will follow what I’m saying. What has blinded the spiritual eyes and clouded the mind? What has covered the Cross so that whereas we could see God (Jeremiah 17:5) but now we cannot – – WHAT HAPPENED? If we lose sight of the Grace of God in its fullness the inevitable result is returning or turning to a System of Religious Laws where we Trust the Flesh to Perform.
I will say more on this subject but pause here and pray that God grant you a new vision of Him and enable you to see any areas in which you are trusting flesh rather than God and run to the altar and receive His Presence today.
God bless you as you enjoy this day He has made and be overflowing with rejoicing and thanksgiving!