Following King Josiah, there was a brief period of reform and good in the land. However, after King Jehoiakim assumed the throne, things went from good to bad to worse, as the people enjoyed more and more material pleasures, forgetting God’s laws and purposes.
And so, when Jeremiah says that the human heart is perverse, he is seeing firsthand what can go wrong when people are being unfaithful, or when a ruler goes bad.
Remember that in Jewish thought the human heart is the seat of reason. Emotion resides in the abdomen, or in what we call the “gut.” The cheating heart, therefore, is actually a corrupted or a deceitful mind, a way of not seeing clearly. Persons become deceived when they think they are better than others. There is a kind of thinking that wants to take credit for the good things and then blame others when the problems come.
What the prophet Jeremiah wants us to do is wake up and live in a place close to God’s heart, making sure we have roots deep in the ground of God’s mercy (v. 8).
How may we stay close to God’s heart? What may we need to do to follow in Christ’s step and have a heart open to God’s Spirit?
Pastor Andy Kinsey