Cursed is the man who trusts in man...
Luz Citron 6/9/01
Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trust in man and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord." Jeremiah 17: 5
Many suffer without understanding the root of their suffering. Many hearts are broken even in the fold. Offenses never run short, the supply is plenty. Expectations are raised just to be broken and rejection sets in, dividing the body who struggles to remain one in Him and with Him. For if we devour each other, what will remain? But we are called to love and to serve each other. Nevertheless it is also written, cursed be the man who trusted in man, and not just written. It is written after a big "Thus says the Lord" What shall we do then? Is this an invitation to isolate, to withdraw from the fellowship?
We are called to love each other, to bear each other burdens, to edify, exhort, to serve, to lay our lives down for each other. This is violence against the mindset of modern society in which we are driven to be individuals and see for ourselves. Long ago I realized that the greatest violence upon this earth is not subjected to statistics of any sort. For there is no greater violence than the one suffered by a soul who has laid its will before the Lord and is denying itself, embracing the cross before it and carrying on. I say there is no greater, because it is tailored to each individual strength.
Paul said that the good he long to do that he didn't and then found himself doing that which he hated it was a daily struggle to lay down his life and deny himself, not easy and definitely not pretty. If we want to have an idea of Christ strength we should look at the garden. There where He laid down His life, there it is unveiled. The individual strength is what sets the magnitude of the test, the trials and the temptations faced by the individual, for is it not written that He will not suffer to see us tried beyond our strength?
He sweat blood, and enough of it to drip down Who have resisted to that point with their soul and their flesh to submit them to the Spirit in us? (see Luke 22:41-44) He did it. I believe that Christ the man did not use His divinity to help Himself in His daily obedience to the Father. What He faced, He faced it as man. Because if in the cross He died for our sins, every step in His life was lived for us, so it could be transferred to us on our account. So His obedience as a son was perfect, His living as a man was holy, His walk as a prophet irreprehensible, as a pastor perfect. He prayed for us to become one as He and the Father are one. Would He had prayed so, if it would have been not feasible? Was it something just between the Son and the Father being as they are God, or is it something we are all called into as believers? Was He living something very personal and meant only for Him or was He becoming our way that we are called to follow to get to the Father? I think He is our way, in the measure we allow Him to set an example for us to follow and then, we allow Him to be strength in us to do as He did from the beginning but in us.
He submitted to the hand of the Father in obedience and the Father made Him a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedek. Just as it is said in Hebrews 5:10 "Called by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek"
What He endured He endured with love, knowing the Father's hand was fashioning in Him a High Priest with whom the whole human race would identify, and through that identification with Him salvation would be revealed and offered to them. He was becoming our way for it is also written in Hebrews 4: 15 "For we do not have a High Priest who can not sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Through His own life He showed us the way to live as children of our Father so we could say with Paul (Hebrews 4:16) "Let us come therefore boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need."
In the midst of His last struggle with His soul, He asked for us to become as one and to be known by the love we would have for each other. It was a prayer lifted amidst tribulation to the point of sweating blood but it also came from a point where peace was being settled as He was embracing His Father's will, trusting His Father's will more and instead of His own. "Cursed is the man who trusts in man."
I believe the man Christ drew strength to resist that last trial from the same place available to us. He didn't do it because there was no sin in Him. He did it because He had set His trust in a sure place and in doing so He was established by the Father as unshakable as Mount Zion. Isn't it written that those who trust in God are like Mount Zion that can not be shaken? "Cursed is the man who trust in man".
Indeed very cursed. In trusting man, we have forsaken the Lord our God who is the only who can sustain us. As we were created as a dwelling place for Him, we tend to exchange the living waters by waters from cisterns, and broken cisterns they are, that more than once will have us disappointed. Then our curse is if not revealed, at least manifested. Fellowship with the El Shaddai must come first to the fellowship with man. For if we do not do so, there will be nothing to be found or be given in us, and no strength to face the cross before us.
If there are so many exhortations to the body to be one is because it is not only important but difficult. In there is a cross and what would be said of us? Should we go to face our cross without the preparation experienced by Christ in the Garden? Oh, but we do it, sometimes as casually as we follow a routine everyday.
The most intimate dialogue recorded between the Lord and His Father (now ours too, thanks to Him!) Is recorded right there. There is only another instance when some of it is unveiled and it is at the end of Chapter 11 of the book of Matthew when He says to the Father: "I thank You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so , Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight."
That was the kind of fellowship He sustained with His Father on a daily basis. Fellowship in which they would sit to ponder things together and share their hearts. A glimpse is given to us in this chapter and then at the garden with greater detail. Why? To provide us with an example. (Luke 6:40) A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.
Every time it says: " and Jesus withdrew to pray" He was tuning up His trust, setting it properly beyond shakes, establishing an example for us to follow. He was becoming our way. He was unveiling the High Priest Or do you think as a man He didn't need to do so? When one of His disciples ask Him to show them the Father, what was His answer?: "After all this time" (see John 14:9). I think He was subject to disappointments just like we are, but His trust was properly set and from it He drew the patience, endurance and love these 12 men needed in order to be trained and educated as disciples and then apostles. And He did it in three years! I guess that alone would be enough to explain the frequency with which He withdrew to ask from God for them. But I am afraid there is a lot more and it involves our walk with Him deeper still, even though it is undeniable that the success of training His disciples was deeply tied on the times He withdrew to pray.
When we see Him in the garden, for it is written there for us that He withdrew to the garden. He knew what was coming and that man was set to fail and that all, that could be shaken was going to be shaken, just like Peter was to be shaken. Jesus was a gatekeeper and a man on the wall. Before the hour of Peter's trial He had prayed for Peter's victory in the spiritual. How did He see? Because He was God? Or is it because of the times in which He withdrew to fellowship with His Father that kept Him aware and vigilant . He knew Peter and He knew the impulsiveness of His friend, He also could see that the pride of the flesh was setting Peter for a fall, that before Peter could be released into the kingdom and for the kingdom, the last drags of soulish will and self confidence have to be purged from him to become a fit vessel for His power and His glory, in the things given him to do. Peter needed to trust less on himself and more on God and he was just on his way to learn it. Did Jesus know because He was God or because He had lived as a man, face the same enemies, battled the same wars and learnt the same lessons, even though in a very different way, for I am sure there was no pride in Him, but He also had to learn that there is a stronghold of safety in the secret place of trust, for it is written:
"Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Hebrews 5:7-9)
I believe that night the devil threw everything he got on Jesus and then the kitchen sink trying to derail Him. Luke chapter 32:35-38 let us see a glimpse right at the end of His public ministry, after all the lessons, the preaching, the fellowship, the commissioning, on His last night with them as He was sharing, we read:
When I send you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything? So they said, "Nothing."
Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: "And He was numbered with the transgressors". For the things concerning Me have an end."
So they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them; "It is enough"
Did he have reasons to lose heart and trust? That would be if He would have been trusting in man, but Jesus' trust was in the Father, firmly within the stronghold of their fellowship. He had become Our Way.
He knew they were called to that place where He has dwelt with the Father. A place of intimate fellowship where trust is set. He knew how far or close they were to achieving that, and He was still tending, to the last minute, to the last moments with them, to give them what they needed in order to set their hearts in there. He takes them with Him to the garden and there what they do? I do not think they were sleeping as sleeping all the way, because they were conscious to remember what was prayed and was done and they were sharing thoughts among themselves. There, He prayed for them, didn't He? And He tended to them, for it is written that He went to check on them and found them "sleeping". What kind of thoughts were on His heart that night as He watched over them? There are times when I do not feel like praying and all there is, is a sadness that kind of numbs the heart, and then I just do not feel like doing anything. I think that is "sleeping". My mind gets fixed in the sadness or the grief of the moment and it feels like there is nothing else. It's a complete drain of strength. I bet you He had to struggle with that to get to His knees in that garden. The disciples were drunken or dozed with that. But He prayed and that made the difference to them and to us today.
We are called beyond the drunkenness of the senses. We are called to the place where trust is set in God and not man. The place in which our hearts are healed, instructed, edified, rebuked, strengthen, corrected and embraced by the El Shaddai. In there Jesus' heart was strengthened by an angel sent from the Father. There He fulfilled His purpose. Jesus died to Himself at the garden and when He stepped out He was already dead. They killed what remained of Him as man, a body. There was hardly a word out of Him through it all, why? Because He had died to Himself in the garden and His trust in Abba was sustaining Him, just as it can sustain you and me today if we set ourselves in the same place and allow our hearts to learn to trust the One we were created to trust. If His trust would have been in man He would have not made it through.
When Christ stepped out of the secret place of trust that night the anointing upon Him was manifested in power and even when He was not resisting those who came to arrest Him they were overwhelmed by Him. We can read it on John 18:4-6
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking? They answer Him, "Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, "I am He", they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:4-6)
That is what He has reserved for us believers. There is power for us to face whatever is thrown before us, that instead of being shaken by the hour of trouble, the world will be shaken by the power of His presence in His dwelling places. That was the source of power upon the church of the book of Acts through their chains, trials and persecutions. That is the power to be released upon the waiting Bride before the wedding Feast. The power that will bring the Bridegroom down for her
Don't you know there are times in life where we may be found experiencing the loneliness of the cross? Sometimes we experience it as a body, but most of the time is a personal tailored thing that must be endured to teach us to die every day and carry on. The message of the cross is the power of God available to carry us through. The message of the cross is the strength to live a life we have died to before, so it can not shake us anymore. The message of the cross is the power of God to keep us free in humbleness and meekness of heart, so that no offenses can move us from Him and the position He has placed us to fulfill in His body. The message of the cross in its loneliness, is the most intimate fellowship with the only One who have words of life for us.
Where is our trust? There is our foundation.
Do not say I believe and then neglect the fellowship with Him you profess to believe in, because you are doing nothing, no matter all the things you may accomplish. The only things that will remain are those which have been done from that place of intimate fellowship in which He becomes, our Way, our Truth and our very Life, until He becomes strength in us to stand, and walk, and move and be in Him as we are called to.
Because I have come to understand how cursed is the man who forgets the source of his strength in the joy of His fellowship, (for the joy of the Lord is our strength) and looks after the things of the flesh, whether his own or another man's flesh, even if it be covered up with spirituality. He will dry and wither alone and if saved it will be as it is written: through many tribulations, as one who escapes from the fire of trials by the skin of his teeth, having lost everything he had lived for, the things he refused to lay down. I do not want you to suffer loss, beloveds, but to be found rich in the richness of our Lord and Savior in the hour of testing by fire as written in His word:
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is, If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire
If Jesus couldn't have made it as a man without that place of fellowship constantly in His life, until His very last night on earth, right before His very last trial and that of death, what on earth makes us think we can? For if we take these things lightly and become casual in our love for Him taking Him for granted, the neglect we put His Spirit through will manifest itself in the amount of sorrow we will have to face in our hour of need and in how we do it.
Of course there is always grace but the danger is that we may become so out of focus that we may not see it clearly, nor will we know what to do or not do about it, nor will we be ready to stand in trust, as someone who knows, because his heart has been set to trust where trust is due and fit, and so has been made able to see that there are more who stand with him than those who stand against him. Able to know with eyes wide open that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. That is when His word becomes alive. That is why Christ was quoting scriptures even as He was hanging on the cross and the hatred of the world collapsed on Him in all its venom. Cursed is the man who trusts in man Why?
Because such man will lose his destiny. Because that man will become a casualty of war, just like Judas did. Because that man will inevitably fall when the tottering wall of the human heart fails him and both will come down like a ton of bricks. Because that man will become blind to the priorities of God for His life and may end up fighting His will instead of yielding to it. Because that man risk forgetting his calling to be a servant and may start to expect to be served with the bitterness it involves. Because we become what we trust. And man have been known to hide from God from the beginning of his fall and had not stopped doing so,... only refrained if ministered by His most Holy Spirit as He guides us to the Truth that is in the heart of God. Our Paraklete that patiently trains us as Jesus did with the disciples. Where is our trust?
Whom do we heed? The words of man? Or do we take the time to hear from Him and heed His teachings? Do we withdraw into the study of His word frequently whether it be reading or meditation or both? Or do we depend on what we glean from others? Where is your trust? There you feed. You may feed from the table set for you in the stronghold of trust or feed from the crumbles of someone else's table. Where is our trust? There is our future.
For we can only serve and give if a supply of abundance is set for us or we shall run empty and dry. That supply is taken from the place we put our trust. Where will you place your trust? Only in Him it is nourished, tended, cultivated and its roots deeply established to stand as Jesus stood facing of the world in the day of adversity, as a living testimony of Him in whom we trust. Will we quote scriptures to lean on, or will we complain and crumble under the pressure and fall? All of it is defined in the secret place of trust.
I want to exhort you to wait silently and patiently before Him to receive the things He has for you, to receive His love, to love Him, just to love Him back. For there is in that intimacy of silence, a glimpse of the things to come, in the things that flows from the secret place of trust. Things that are set before us at the banqueting table of His fellowship as we spend time with Him, as we start to become more focused, receiving a new understanding of the first commandment in our lives, and going on until He accomplishes our full restoration into the purpose of God for our lives. Meditate on these scripture as you prepare your heart to wait before Him. Receive His strength to endure in love for each other as we experience His love and His acceptance for us.
How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? John 5:44
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Galatians 5:15
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. Proverbs 10:12
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 1Peter 4:8
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. Colossians 3:13
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Ephesians 4:2
For as it is written in Mark 12:33:
"And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices."
All will be measure according to this scripture. Now is the time to draw grace from His love as we allow Him to fulfill all the goodwill of His heart in us and through us into the life of His church.