ODJ: Diseased Hearts

November 30, 2016 

READ: Jeremiah 17:1-10 

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (v.9).

During excavations of an ancient French convent in 2011-2013, archaeologists made a discovery regarding the ancient nature of heart disease. They came across five heart-shaped urns made out of lead, containing embalmed human hearts. Of the four wellpreserved hearts, three showed severe signs of atherosclerosis—a heart disease that’s very common today. According to one of the researchers, the fact that humans had atherosclerosis 400 years ago is one of the most important findings of the study. But, then again, human beings have been dealing with spiritually diseased hearts for a long time . . .

In Jeremiah’s day, the people of Judah were so entrenched in their ways that it was as if their sin had been deeply engraved on their hearts (Jeremiah 17:1). But why did they choose to sin when God offered the path of blessing? (vv.7-8). Jeremiah said that at the heart of the problem was the problem of their hearts! They were deceitful—crooked like a bad road. Also, their hearts were desperately wicked— diseased through and through and in desperate need of healing. The prophet said people couldn’t understand how bad it was, for only God truly knows the heart and only He can cure its disease (vv.10, 31:33).

By God’s grace we can put our rebellion behind us and ask Him to create in us a new and clean heart (Psalm 51:10; John 3:5-6). We can possess one that recognizes Him as the Lord (Jeremiah 24:7), is loyal to His Word, tender to His promptings, and responsive to Him (Ezekiel 36:26). When the Spirit heals and renews our diseased ways, God will give us a desire to seek Him, a craving to do what’s right, and the assurance that we’re His children (Romans 8:14-16).

—Marvin Williams

365-day plan: Ephesians 2:1-22

Read Titus 3:4-5 and see how we receive a new heart. 
What’s been your experience of Jeremiah’s assessment of the human heart? What are the implications of only God truly knowing the heart and being able to cure it?