-Jeremiah speaks God’s Word on the issues of the heart as his primary concern in this stanza. Israel has let go of her inheritance that the LORD gave. He was now kindling a fire that would burn forever in His anger over their apostasy (Jeremiah 17:4, 27). The LORD pronounces a curse over the man who trusts in mankind (the world system) and makes flesh (natural means) his strength with a heart that turns away from the Heavenly All-Powerful Father (Jeremiah 17:5). These will disappear and waste away, but the man who trusts in the LORD will be planted like a tree by water extending deep roots to weather the storms of this life by the One who is strong and secure (Jeremiah 17:6-8). An insightful message on the condition of man without God is given in Jeremiah 17:9. Corruption of the heart in its deception and desperate sickness is our natural state without a Redeemer. We cannot understand our heart, but God can, who searches it as well as tests the mind. He evaluates our deeds as coming from the heart and truly knows its condition (Matthew 15:16-20, Mark 7:18-23, Luke 6:45). He is the One with complete understanding. Jeremiah goes on to point out by the Holy Spirit that the LORD is the only hope of Israel (and also His people in general). If He is forsaken, they (and us) will be put to shame because only He is the Living Water (Jeremiah 17:13, John 4:10-15; 7:37-38). He is the Healer, the Savior, our Refuge, and our Praise (Jeremiah 17:14, 17). *Application* So many times we are tempted to attempt to solve all of life’s problems on our own intellect and wisdom. This proves to be demonic in the end (James 3:13-18). Only seeking the LORD will bring the peace and prosperity we truly seek. His way and His wisdom is the best in the long run, so count on that instead of your natural flesh. Turn your heart completely over to Him and His ways! He will guide and provide!
-Choices are the next theme that the prophet instructs on from the mouth of God. He is told to go to the public gate where royalty traverses and proclaim Sabbath instructions for carrying loads. The Jewish people had neglected the commandments. Instead of conforming to the LORD, they had not listened (vital to the meaning of obedience) nor inclined their ears, which indicated their stiff-rebellious nature (Jeremiah 17:19-23). God promised that if they did incline their ears to listen there would be uninterrupted habitation forever, but on the other hand a curse if they did not listen (Jeremiah 17:24-27). *Application* God always gives us choices in the matter of following Him and His ways. Choose wisely my friends.
Verses to Memorize: Jeremiah 17:5, 7-10