The Deceitful Heart
Maker of heaven and earth, creator of sea and sky, You are my true home. My heart rejoices.
Read Jeremiah 17:1-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23,24).
To keep preaching against the people’s sinful rebellion was a draining experience. Jeremiah felt persecuted as he faced the people’s taunts: “When will your prophecy be fulfilled?” (15,18). As he struggled with their blatant disregard of God, Jeremiah came to discover how stubbornly deep the problem was. Judah’s sins were engraved deeply in their hearts (1). Through their constant sinning, their hearts and minds were deeply wired to sin. They would sin without thinking; it was their default position. Sin had dug deep canals in their minds so that all their thoughts flowed naturally along these sinful conduits (2 Pet. 2:22).
The worst thing is that people were self-deceived by their deceiving hearts (9). They looked at themselves superficially and, in their false confidence and arrogance, thought that they were doing well. God’s examination is different, however; like a careful physician he probes deep into the heart and mind (10) to expose the deeply etched sinful conduits that run in the most secret recesses of the human soul (Heb. 4:12,13). There it will be discovered that the wealthy man may actually be a fool (11) or that the smart politician who makes deals with human allies (in this case, Egypt) may actually be clutching at straw (5).
Would Jeremiah carry on warning the obstinate sinners? He would, because God does not give up. The choice is still available: between being cursed and being blessed, between a barren bush in the wastelands and a flourishing tree by the flowing river (5-8). It is time to subject ourselves to a deep examination by God, to see whether there are sinful, hidden conduits deep within. Sinful habits of thinking, reacting, feeling and desiring must be dealt with if we are to escape the curse and receive the blessing–and we must share this truth with others.
Ask God to examine you deeply and reveal to you any stubborn patterns of sinfulness; then turn to his mercy and power.
Loving Lord, sin is so often my default setting. I need to recalibrate my life and only You can enable that to happen. I look to You for that new thing.
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