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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 17:9,10

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Deceitful Heart
9 The heart is more deceitful than anything.
      It is beyond cure.
   Who can understand it?
10 I the LORD am the one who searches the heart
      and examines the mind,
to reward a man according to what he has done,
  according to what his deeds deserve.

I have translated the word anush in verse 9 as “beyond cure,” which is also its meaning in Jeremiah 15:18. The King James and other translations have “wicked” or “corrupt” here, but “incurable” is also its meaning when the child of David and Bathsheba was dying (2 Samuel 12:15).

The heart here stands for any of our desires, and the mysterious source of those desires and urges. Where do they come from? The human heart is not supposed to be corrupt and sinful, but because Adam and Eve fell into sin, we inherit our sinfulness from them, and we are beyond any human cure.

How can we ever get from our condition in verse 9 past God’s searching judgment in verse 10? God’s searching goes even deeper than the heart. God even searches the kilyoth, which is literally the kidneys. The ancients believed that the kidneys were the seat of emotions, the conscience, desires, and even wisdom. We know that our urges and our thoughts and our knowledge and reason don’t all come from the same place—but God knows them all.

The sickly, incurable and deceitful desires of the heart make us stand condemned before God. But the grace of God comes sweeping over all mankind to obliterate the stain of sin. Saul the Pharisee persecuted Christians and was there condemning Stephen when he was martyred. But God’s grace crashed over Saul, who later wrote under his other name, Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). This grace of God is what has saved us: “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Put your faith in Jesus Christ. God knows your sins, but God also knows about your faith in Jesus. And it’s Jesus that matters. The depth and pit of your sins might seem overwhelming, but Jesus overwhelmed it all with his love on the cross.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.