Read: Jeremiah 17: 1-10
Reflect: Those are sobering verses to read aren’t they? In our chapter, Beth referenced verse 9, “the heart is deceitful above all else and who can understand it.” I wanted us to read all ten verses, though, because I believe they are powerful.
Jeremiah is called the “weeping prophet” because of his message to God’s people. His life was filled with heavy burden. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But, God sent Jeremiah to tell His own that they’d be thrown into captivity because of their own choices. (By the way, it’s a mercy when God allows consequences to fully demonstrate that we NEED Him.) The chapter we read today gives a good summary of these choices.
Verse 4 is heartbreaking to me,
And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance that I gave you.
Jeremiah had to deliver bad news to the Israelites. God was angry with them, and He was going to allow the Babylonians to carry them away to captivity. BUT, it had been their choice all along. They “let go of” the inheritance He gave them. Remember, God rescued them from slavery in Exodus. He gave them a Promised Land in Joshua. All they had to do was stick with Him, but they turned away.
Please read verse 5 very carefully. In it, you see the pattern of sin. First, we begin to trust mankind instead of God. Then, we make our own strength our dependence. Finally, our hearts turn away from God. This pattern ends in destruction, because we will always find ourselves trapped once our hearts turn (even the slightest bit) from God.
Respond: If you know the Bible at all, it can be such a trap to think these Israelites turned from God in obvious ways. When you think about Babylonian captivity, it’s easy to think that God’s anger burned only because things had gotten so bad within His chosen people. Maybe so. But, I want to suggest today that it all started with a simple switch…. God’s people turned from full and complete trust in God to a trust in themselves. As soon as that happened, they were on a path towards destruction.
It’s difficult for me to lead us into a response today, because I want us to analyze our hearts to see if we (in any way) are on a path to destruction. But, we’ve just read that our hearts are deceitful! How can we trust them to tell us the truth?
I, the Lord, search the heart. I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. (verse 10)
Today, we need Him to search our hearts and show us if we are being deceived. Please give some time to this practice. Enjoy quiet and solitude giving space for God, through Jesus Christ, to search your heart and expose anything that could lead to destruction.
Renew: Because we are in deep and rich scripture today. I want to give ample time to enjoy it. Let’s end our time focusing on the promised blessing of this passage of scripture. I want to end my time with the Lord by reading it over and over and recognizing the shield against the pattern of sin,
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.