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The Cursed Man and the Blessed Man

There are portions of the Bible that require the Christian to carefully “compare spiritual with spiritual” to gain a proper understanding of what God is saying. But very frequently God speaks plainly and in clear contrasts (light and darkness, righteousness and sin, wisdom and foolishness, belief and unbelief, etc.). We find one such passage in the 17th chapter of the book of Jeremiah:


Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:5-8


Several years ago I was backpacking in the San Bernardino National Forest during a period of extreme drought. About a third of the trees in this area were either dead or dying. Bark beetles had infested the weakened trees and some of these trees were in their last desperate stages of attempting to save their lives: they were excreting their sap (a tree’s “life blood”) in an attempt to rid themselves of the deadly pests. Nature was mourning here. But in the midst of this, there was a beautiful stream that tumbled and gurgled happily over the rocks. Along its banks grew vibrant flowers, lush plants, and stately trees. Birds sang their lovely songs. What a contrast! So it is with the contrast between those who trust in the LORD and those who trust in man.


Let’s look at these verses in detail:


5. Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.


6. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.


The man who trusts in man is cursed of God. This is strong language, isn’t it? This is the man who walks by the sight of his eyes instead of by faith. His ways seem reasonable to him and God’s ways seem unreasonable to him. His heart has departed from God and he doesn’t see that his ways lead to death:


There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,

but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 14:12


Oh, he may prosper in a worldly sense, but he is spiritually destitute.


7. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.


8. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit


The one who trusts and hopes in God is blessed! Oh, he will not always understand God’s ways, earthly circumstances will ebb and flow, and he may not prosper in a worldly sense, but no matter, for the river of God runs forever and he is assured of this. He continues to grow strong and produce spiritual fruit which blesses many others.


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