"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?Jeremiah 17:9(NASB)
From start to finish, the Bible outlines God's plan of salvation for all mankind. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Jeremiah (the weeping prophet) foresaw that the Gentiles would one day turn from idols to God during a time when His chosen people, Israel, would be set aside for a season due to their ongoing, spiritual idolatry.
Like us, Jeremiah could not understand why wickedness waxed worse and worse in the world. He discovered that the person whose heart turns away from God to trust in man is cursed, unfruitful, barren, and without hope. He also discovered that the man who trusts is the Lord is blessed indeed and likened to a well-watered tree that is planted by life-giving waters. Such a man will not be anxious in times of drought nor unfruitful despite the heat of the day: "For cursed is the man whose trust in man, but blessed in the man who trusts in the Lord."
Like us, Jeremiah had to learn that "the heart of man is more deceitful than anything else - and is desperately wicked, sick and incurable." and like Jeremiah, we see the results of individuals and nations who put their trust in men, suffering the consequences of their ungodly choices.
The outward appearances of a man may deceive us, but God alone understands the heart. We may not even know the true content of our own heart, but the Lord our God knows what is in the heart of each one of us.
We are all fallen creatures, and although we praise and thank God that we have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, have been made a new creation in Him, and have been given His resurrected life, our old, fleshly nature lusts against our new-life-in-Christ and our new nature lusts against our old, fleshly, sinful self.
As born again believers who are living in the dispensation of grace, we have the permanently indwelling Person of the Holy Spirit in our heart. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He can never be taken away from us as used to happen in the dispensation of Law. Nevertheless, knowing that "the heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately wicked," we should examine our heart to see if we are in the faith - to see if we are walking in spirit and truth - to see if we are trusting in anything other than the Lord Jesus. We should ask Him to search our hearts to see if there is any wicked way in us that needs to be cleansed and rooted out.
Only God can fully know and understand our inner heart. May we submit to His purifying gaze and be ready and willing to say: "Purify my heart O Lord," no matter what it may cost.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am Your child and have been saved by grace through faith in Christ. Nonetheless, it is uncomfortable to realise that, like all men, my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I pray that You would search my heart, my motives, my conscious thoughts, and even my unconscious imaginings, to see if there is anything in me that needs to be rooted out. Purify my heart, I pray. Lord, I am so aware that these days, we are encouraged to follow the desires of our own hearts. May the deep desire of my heart be to follow only You and Your leading, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.