Sometimes when you read the old prophets like Isaiah or Jeremiah, you just scratch your head and wonder what you just read. You have to get some additional insight. Jeremiah 17 is a case in point.
After reading verses 1-27, I scratched my head and wondered what I had just read … until I got to the commentary and reflections. It was the Aha moment. In a sense you can say when I re-read the text, I got to the heart of the matter.
The heart is the theme. When pointed in the direction, I could see where Jeremiah was going. It’s the heart that dictates our actions.
Certainly, when we think about our hearts, our attention migrates to love. The heart is a universal symbol expressing deep affection. But the heart can also be twisted and devious. And that’s where Jeremiah was going.
He was pointing out our innermost character which resides in our heart. We have the “secrets of our hearts” — secrets and disappointments, fueled by pride and prejudices — engraved on those innermost chambers of our heart by an iron pen, with a diamond point. We try to keep our true thoughts and feelings hidden, but it is who we really are. So we mask our hurts. And we don’t allow God to be God. He searches our heart. He knows those innermost thoughts. And He wants to help. All He asks is we ask Him.
It comes down to trust. In Jeremiah’s day, the Israelites were trusting in their own judgment and mere mortals and man-made idols. Today we see more and more people trusting in their own judgment and mere mortals and man-made idols, not just bronze, silver and golden calves but materialism, ambition and power.
Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. They shall be like a shrub in the desert … Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.
Jeremiah was pleading with an unhearing world to not turn away their hearts from God. It’s a message — maybe not with the imagery — that’s as relevant today as it was back in Jeremiah’s day.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Just as God supernaturally brings people into our lives, He will supernaturally move some out.