Jeremiah 17:1-4 ESV
“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”
What was the sin of Judah? Their fathers had forsaken the Lord and had gone after other gods and had served and worshiped them, and they had forsaken the Lord and had not kept his law, and the people of Judah had done worse than their fathers did. For every one of them had followed their own stubborn evil will, and they had refused to listen to the Lord. And the eyes of the Lord were on all their ways. Their ways were not hidden from the Lord, nor was their iniquity concealed from the eyes of God.
And sadly that is where much of the church is today, at least here in America, forsaking the Lord they claim to know and to worship, not obeying his commandments, and many of them believing they don’t have to obey God. So many of them are following their own stubborn and evil wills and are refusing to listen to the Lord and to the truths of the gospel. And they are going after the gods of this world and fleshly appetites and sexual immorality and the teachings of man in place of God’s word and holiness.
And God will judge his adulterous people and those who profess his name but who refuse to bow the knee to him. There is a time coming and which may already be here, perhaps on the edge of a precipice, when God is or will judge his wayward people and those who profess him falsely (see Revelation 2 and Revelation 3), but I believe in order to bring them to repentance and to obedient walks of faith before the final day of judgment when we will all have to give an account to God for the things we have done in this life.
Jeremiah 17:5-6 ESV
“Thus says the Lord:
‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.”
This is where much of the American church is today. Most churches have incorporated under the state and have become businesses which are being marketed to the world just like any other business. And they are following the teachings and the marketing schemes of humans often in place of and/or over and above the teachings of the Scriptures. And so they have altered their gatherings, and they have altered the gospel in order to attract the world to their gatherings and to appease human flesh.
Therefore most of them are not bearing fruit for God’s eternal kingdom but they are helping to build man’s kingdoms. For they end up serving man instead of God. And many of them are not sharing the truth of the gospel but a diluted gospel which tickles itching ears for it makes no demands for putting sin to death nor for walking in obedience to the Lord. They may be growing in physical numbers, although many of them are dying out, too, but they are not growing spiritually in walks of obedience and righteousness.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
“’Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.’”
So, what does it mean to trust in the Lord? It is not just a confession of faith in Jesus and trusting in him to forgive us our sins so that we can go to heaven one day. It involves dying with him to sin, not just once, but daily, and it involves walking in obedience to his commands in daily practice. Now this is not saying we will never sin again, but that sin must no longer be our practice. We are not to continue in deliberate and habitual sin once Jesus sets us free from our slavery to sin.
Now we are to walk in daily fellowship with our Lord in walks of holiness and in obedience to our Lord. Sin must no longer be our master. We must no longer live as slaves to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And if we should fall away we need to repent and to be restored to a right relationship with our Lord and then we need to continue on that path of righteousness and not return to our vomit. For those who keep going back to their vomit are not those committed to Jesus Christ.
Then we should have no fear of God’s judgments because we know our hearts are right with the Lord and that we are walking in his ways and in his truth, not as perfect people, but as those committed to following Jesus in his ways and in his truth. Our consciences are clear, and we are at peace with God, and that is the best place to be ever. And if Satan comes to tempt us we tell him “NO!” And if he tries to accuse us falsely of what we have not done we let God search our hearts and then we rest in the Lord.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
‘I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.’”
Now when we believe in Jesus Christ and we die with him to sin and we now walk with him in obedience to his commands, our hearts are cleansed and they are made new, for Jesus is now king of our hearts and our hearts are under his control. So, when this speaks of the heart being deceitful above all things and desperately sick and that the Lord searches the heart and he tests the mind, to give everyone according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds, if all of us had deceitful and desperately sick hearts, then not one of us could stand in the judgment.
So, I would say here that this is speaking of the human fleshly unregenerate heart, that it is deceitful and desperately sick. But once Jesus, by his Spirit, comes to live within us and to cleanse our hearts, he makes them new. And now he gives us hearts that desire after him and that want to obey him and to do his will. But we still live in flesh bodies and thus we will still be tempted to sin and we still have the propensity to sin, and to return to our vomit if we do not continue in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord. So we have to guard our hearts against the evil that is in this world.
But it is true that the Lord does search our hearts, and he can still see when we sin, and he can see who is genuine in their faith and who is not, and whose hearts are committed to him and whose hearts are still given over to evil and to the cravings of sinful flesh. And one day we are all going to stand before our Lord and we will all have to give an account for what we did. Yes, if our faith in Jesus is genuine, our sins are forgiven, but then we have to walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, for if sin is what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; Matt 7:21-23; Jn 15:1-11; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.