9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”
Lying is a sickness of the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 places a magnifying glass on our hearts and asks us to examine what we see. This verse contains words of deep insight about the heart. This organ refers to more than the emotional part of a person's makeup. The heart represents not only the seat of feeling, but also of understanding and volition. Some versions translate "desperately sick" rather than deceitful. This is not a false concept. Sin is a sickness. This is why Jesus compared Himself to a physician.
The concept of sin as sickness includes the idea of rebelling against God. It also adds the end result that comes when people ignore His will for their lives. Sick people adopt morbid, distorted views of life that they would not embrace if they were well. This is because they do not understand themselves. This is exactly what God, through Jeremiah, said about the heart.
So where is the hope in Jeremiah 17:9? This verse helps us recognize the true condition of our heart and teaches us that we desperately need redemption in every area of our lives, including our relationship with the truth. It teaches us that all of our thoughts and feelings need to be tested by the Spirit of God and by the truth of His Word. From a most basic level, we lie because our heart lies to us all the time. To overcome the deception of our hearts, we need to embrace the truth of God’s Word.
• How is a rejection of God’s creation a way in which people are deceived by their hearts?
• Why is it important that we rely on the Bible and not on our own hearts for the truth? How have you experienced this personally?
• Thank God that He exposes the lies of our hearts with the truth of His Word. Ask Him to further do that as you consider His amazing work of creation and the reality that creation is broken because of our sin.