“Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord.” Jer. 17:5
The Human Planet is an incredible documentary series produced by the BBC. It explores the relationship between the natural world and human life. Specifically, the remarkable way human beings have been able to adapt and live in every type of environment on the face of the earth. No other species has been able to achieve this feat.
Long before the age of technology, wisdom allowed human beings to thrive when their very survival seemed questionable. They created tools to hunt. Discovered resources for shelter and clothing for their naked skin. If the land was parched and dry, they found ways to collect water. When the land did not produce a bountiful harvest, they found the means to eat. I never really thought about the extent of human adaptability until I watched this series.
In religious circles, human wisdom is often criticized. Preachers, including myself, tend to focus on the folly of human wisdom and all its limitations. Yet, in many ways, human wisdom is without limitations and has been from the very beginning. It has been tested in extreme conditions. Ancient people living in the arctic region of the Lapland needed to invent shelter for -30 below temperatures. They did this when it was -30 below.
Still, few of those ancient people ever trusted solely in their own wisdom. Their intimate relationship with the created world spoke to them of a Creator. The elements reminded them of their vulnerability. Yet now, in the face of overwhelming human wisdom, we see their faith as folly, nothing more than ancient superstition.
A view some might feel when reading this verse from Jeremiah. Yet, in a world full of amazing human achievements, wisdom seems to be coming up short. It seems incapable of subduing anger, war, poverty, and hunger. Human wisdom appears powerless to the forces of anxiety, fear and hopelessness.
The evidence suggests we live in a land of parched souls thirsting for spiritual nourishment. Yours might be one. Jeremiah wants to remind us human wisdom alone cannot satisfy the deep hunger for spiritual health. However, those whose wisdom is also fed by faith will be like a tree planted by water. They will be able to adapt to any living condition and thrive.
Click to read: Jeremiah 17:5-10
- Where do you find strength from human wisdom?
- When do you find it incapable of satisfying your needs?
- In what ways do you thirst for spiritual nourishment?
- Where do you go to find it?
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