Jeremiah 17:9

Jesus Died for Our Sins | Devotion #5: Jeremiah 17:9
Chuck Lindsey | Growth Pastor

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Have you ever given or been advised to “just follow your heart?” Have you heard the encouragement that “you cannot go wrong if you just listen to your heart?” According to the Bible, that might not be the best idea. While many may believe and teach that the heart is an infallible guide, God says quite the opposite. Listen to His words about the heart.

In Jeremiah 17:9, God says that the human heart (another word for the inward life of a person) “is deceitful.” The word “deceitful” there means that it is tricky, not sure-footed, and polluted. Wow! That is pretty strong language God uses to describe what so many others describe in flowery terms. God does not stop there. He says that the human heart is not only “deceitful” but that it is “trickery” or it can fool us “above all things.” Wait a minute, is God telling us that our heart is more deceitful than anything else in life? Yep! How can this be? Think about it; your heart is inside you. Your “heart” describes your inward life. All your thoughts, emotions, and being are all summed up in the word “heart.” When you consider that, then it makes sense why the “heart” has this ability to so effectively trick us. God says something else, something shocking about the human heart. He says that it is “desperately sick.” These words mean “incurably sick.” He then says, “who can understand it?” This means that even we cannot know our own heart completely.

All of this leads to a couple of conclusions:

The heart is not a trustworthy guide. Right? I mean, if God says it is incurably sick, cannot be known, and tricks us more than anything else does, there can only be one conclusion. It is not a reliable guide. This means that the “way we feel” about something cannot be our guide for what is true and what is not. It also cannot be the “compass” we use for navigating the rough waters of life. 

Man is a sinner. If the “heart” is the word used to describe the entire inward life of a person. Then it describes us. It describes us at our “core.” In short, to say the heart is like this is to say that we are like this (apart from Christ). Consider what God is saying, “the entire inward life of a person (all their thoughts, affections, emotions and will) apart from Me, are deceiving them above all things. They are incurably sick, and they do not even know it.” Yikes!

It is because of this that Jesus came to die. When you consider what God says about the human heart, one thing becomes clear; man was not ever going to fix himself. Man was not ever going to dig himself out of his sinful state. Man was not going to figure it out. We were not getting better throughout the ages with all of our “advancements,” we were only getting worse. So, God came to rescue us. Because we could not rescue ourselves, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” It is only as the Holy Spirit of God convicts a person of their total sinful condition and convinces them of the truth of the Gospel and Jesus’ ability to save, that a person can become a “new creation in Christ Jesus” and sing, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound to save a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see.”

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