“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:5)
Jeremiah provides for us a striking contrast between the self-assured humanist and the one who has placed his trust in God. The man who looks to his own abilities or those of others to save him in time of trouble is “cursed.” His existence will be one of futility, just as is that of a parched desert plant (v. 6). Why? Because his “heart departeth from the LORD” (v. 5), the source of strength and salvation.
Jeremiah uses a play on words here. The words for “man” in our text are different: the first means “warrior” or “strong man,” and the second a “normal man.” The warrior who should be strong is cursed because he is trusting in one who is weak; in this case, any other man’s wisdom or might, or even his own strength, when overestimated. What sense is there in that?
In contrast, “blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD” (v. 7). “He shall be as a tree planted by the waters,…and shall not be careful [i.e., anxious] in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit” (v. 8). Why? Because his “hope the LORD is” (v. 7). We see the warrior—one who might be considered strong—trusting solely in the true “strong man,” the Lord.
It is a tragic fact that even many Christians fall into the mindset of the autonomous humanist and attempt to live their lives (even “the Christian life”) under their own power. Do we trust in our own feeble power or in the Lord? Every heart, whether humanist or Christian, “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (v. 9). Make no mistake! “I the LORD search the heart” (v. 10); He knows our inner motives. Let us recommit ourselves to trust in the Lord and make Him our hope. JDM
From Days of Praise