The “Bad”

Thus saith the Lord; Cursed by 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.

Jeremiah 17:5-6

Yesterday we looked at “the good.”  The man who puts his trust in the Lord was described as a tree planted by a river, always green and fruitful.  Today, we see “the bad.”

“The bad” in this context (or “cursed”, if you want the actual word used) is the person who “trusteth in man…”  “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.”  It also says this cursed man “maketh flesh is arm.”  In the Bible, the arm is a symbol of strength.  Even a child knows that.  If you went up to a boy and told him to “make a muscle” or “show me your muscles”, what would he do?  He probably wouldn’t roll up his pant leg and flex his calf muscle.  He probably wouldn’t stick out his tongue and show you that muscle.  He would show you his “arm.”  That is symbolic of strength.

When we take pride in our own flesh as our “strength,” we are part of this group upon whom is pronounced a curse.  The Bible tells us in the New Testament that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  The flesh is weak and sinful, but how many people put their trust in themselves instead of the Lord?

The third negative description this passage gives us is a person “whose heart departeth from the Lord.”  That one hits a little closer to home.  How many times have we let our heart stray, even just a little? 

When these things happen, we are likened to “heath in the desert.”  It is dead and dry.  Which would we rather have describe us: parched, dry heath in a desert wasteland of a fruitful tree rooted by a river?

4 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks so much Ben, for helping me think about these “bad” things. Like trusting myself to fix things . . .or someone else. Want to make sure to always go to Him first and give Him all the credit for strength and good in my life! God bless you as you look at the ugly tomorrow!


  2. Thanks, Ben

    I read this many, many times yesterday and kept turning your thoughts over and over in my head. The one line that kept echoing was “For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh”

    It’s pretty bad, isn’t it? To be in a state where I can not see when good (prosperity ) has come is a sorry state indeed! The good thing is, we are aware of the stakes … we get to decide what we choose to become.

    Thank you for finding these little buried treasures and sharing them with us. May God continue to speak through you as you share His words with us.



    • That would be a terrible thing- to not even be able to see the good things. It would be a terrible thing to be that blinded by sin. But, as you say, we can decide not to be like that.


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