Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
This is certainly a follow-up on yesterday’s message! This is a concise description of the worship of man that is so prevalent in the world today. It’s interesting that during the day yesterday I read that 80% of scientific reports are proven to be wrong. We take ourselves too seriously! God is the only one who is totally reliable, but even our perception of Him is suspect. That’s why our lives need to be a continuous process of drawing closer to Him, to hear and obey Him more accurately. We will never do it perfectly on this earth, which is why we need to emulate Paul. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14) If we live like that, then verse eight of this chapter will describe us indeed. Jeremiah himself made his choice abundantly clear in verse 14: “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for you are the one I praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14)
I have been tempted to trust in man, and I have yielded to that temptation more than I like to remember. The results have never been good, and I’ve largely learned my lesson. However, as a pastor I constantly deal with people who haven’t learned it yet. That can take the form of people who are brash and conceited, but it can also take the form of people who don’t think they can do anything right. That too is proof that they are trusting in man rather than God. They have learned that their flesh will fail them, but they haven’t learned that God can never fail. When such a person is a professed Christian, that can be heartbreaking. I deal with so many who can’t believe that God can and will do things that are beyond their abilities and resources, and so they won’t step out in obedience to Him. That’s tragic! I am not to condemn them, but neither am I to be held back by them. I am to remember that “one plus God is a majority,” and not be shackled by political correctness. That’s not at all to say that I am to ride over people, ignoring what they say or feel, but it is to say that my primary focus must be on God and what He says and desires. Otherwise, I will find myself trusting in man and depending on the flesh for strength.
Father, thank You for this clear reminder. Thank You for the events of the past few days. They have helped put things into clearer focus. As the song says, I pray that You would help me “See You more clearly, love You more dearly, follow You more nearly, day by day.” Thank You. Praise God!