Are you cursing yourself by wrong choices?
Jeremiah 17 gives us a strong warning, which the following testimony supports. The warning is that we receive either blessing or curse depending on what we put our trust in. The wisest thing you can do is to trust the Lord, while the most foolish thing you can do is to trust yourself or some other human agency.
The Biblical Warning
The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed a clear warning against trusting in self, or other human supply, while giving a strong commendation for trusting God.
“Thus says the LORD; Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh (humans) his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. For he will be like the heath (tumbleweed) in the desert, and will not see when good comes; but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he will be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and will not see when heat comes, but her leaf will be green; and will not be careful in the year of drought, neither will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8
As is the case with many Bible truths, this truth may not come to life in your understanding until you can see it in operation. So the following testimony from my friend Sammy Au will help you get a better grip on what God is saying to you through the prophet Jeremiah.
Sammy is a talented and well educated man. He gained an MBA and then set off to create his own business. He is also hard working, so he expected all to go well.
His choice of business was a fast photo developing shop. However, business did not go well. The industry was changing quickly and technology and customer expectations were on the move, so he found himself without the income and success he had planned for.
This ultimately left him with a crippling lease on equipment, with insufficient income to pay the overhead costs of shop, staff and equipment.
His education and training told him that he was done for. Those around him would have counselled him to cut his losses and make the best of it that he could.
Being a relatively new Christian he was aware that God may have plans in the situation, although it certainly looked impossible.
As long as Sammy relied on “flesh” (see Jeremiah 17:5) he was under a curse. As long as he trusted in his training, willingness to work hard, and professional planning and approach, things went badly for him.
Then he noticed that a silly thought kept invading his thinking. That thought was to contact the company he was leasing the photo processing equipment from and tell them how badly he was doing. Everything in his professional training warned him not to do that. If the supplier knew he was a bad financial risk then they would be obliged to step in and protect their interests, at Sammy’s loss.
Yet the prompting continued, despite Sammy’s determination to resist it. So, finally, he gave in and contacted the rep from the equipment supplier.
To Sammy’s surprise the company was very supportive and proactive in helping him find a place to off-load the equipment. So at least he would not be hit too hard by the failure of his business. As it stood he was down by about $30,000 just in shutting the shop down, without the cost of his equipment lease.
Icing on the Cake
That irrational prompting from God, contrary to Sammy’s own wisdom and what he had been taught by the professionals, proved to be a good move. But it then proved to be better than he could have hoped. The equipment was on-sold to someone who wanted it and the profit was paid to Sammy, totalling $30,000!
God not only had a better solution than bankruptcy, God brought Sammy out of his failed venture with no loss!
Now, let’s take that back to Jeremiah 17:5-8. When you trust in human wisdom, yourself or the experts, you come under God’s curse, because you are trusting in mortal flesh. But when you trust in God, choosing to go His way, even if it doesn’t make sense, you come under His blessing.
A Slow Learner
However, Sammy was much like the rest of us. He was a slow learner of God’s principles.
Following the failed photo business Sammy set up a maintenance business. He had some pretty good contracts and life was going well. In the process, however, Sammy began to feel confident in this own wisdom again. He felt that he was now master of his own destiny and that he had done pretty well for himself. That means, he began trusting in “flesh” again.
God humbled Sammy yet again, through an explosion at the Longford Gas Plant in Victoria. Sammy’s maintenance activities were disrupted and his business suffered for a while.
That threw Sammy back to prayer and to reliance on God. And through it all Sammy has come to testify that, “For me to live is Christ, not these other things”.
A Final Word from the Bible
The Apostle Paul was strong on his emphasis of putting aside human credibility, so that we can all rely on God. He declared that God delights in humbling humans. God takes those things that are looked down on and uses them to surprise and offend those who think they have everything going for them.
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.” 1Corinthians 3:18-21