Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. (Jer 14:11-12)
No flesh can enter God’s presence, so in His mercy He sees to that the flesh is violently severed off from us. We have all in the likeness of the Israelites said yes to God’s law as it was presented to us in ordinances and regulations. We have all fenced in our flesh by protective walls thinking we can do it. In our delusion we have even asked others to pray for and bless our efforts and undertakings, but we didn’t know that it would avail to nothing.
The wise man, the one who himself has seen famine and pestilence, doesn’t pray for good (that they will succeed in their works) for those who still are marching in the desert. He knows where God in His grace and mercy is taking them, i.e., those who still think they have a flesh, that is, a self outside God.
Your life is hidden in Christ, Paul informs, so that flesh is a falsehood, a ghost from a past era. When the trumpet sounds those protective walls will crumple in the similitude of the walls of Jericho. In our nakedness we will see only Christ and when He who is our life appears we will appear with Him in glory.
We are all familiar with Jesus’ grave words in Matthew, “Whoever shall deny me before men, I also will deny him before my Father who is in the heavens” (10:33). There is a seriousness to Jesus words that makes it clear that to deny Him has eternal repercussions for those who reject Him.
However, there is also a different reality which Jesus’ words portray. To walk in the flesh is to deny Jesus and His life in you and consequently God will deny you so that you ultimately can enter His presence in Christ as a free person who in the depths of your being know that you are the accepted and favored son. The flesh can never receive such assurance. Therefore Norman Grubb wrote; “God uses the wrong to condition us to find the right.”