“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 )
The rendering of this verse in the book Reading from the Anabaptist Bible is the inspiration for the title. It poetically and eloquently paraphrases the latter half of verse 10. But I have to wonder what the fruit of a ‘deceitful’ heart would be. Moreover, what would God find in a deceitful heart that would be worthy of reward? I puzzled and wrestled with these questions for a while. Looking for clarity I went to “The Message” (a wonderful resource that often sheds new light on a passage) and found this.
“”The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.” And as a student of psychology, it got me thinking. The motivations of humanity are dark and twisted. Altruism is twisted around with self-interest. Hubris is intertwined with self-confidence. And piety is embroiled with posturing and self-promotion. Who can see what is the true intent and what is inaccurate assessment? Only God who created humanity in all its intricacies and depths.
In a world where Christians are misunderstood, and righteousness and ‘being-right-ness’ are confused it is good to know that there is a God who is not fooled by the surface but looks into the depths. But . . . a God who can do that can also see the evil and sin that lays within a person also.
May the Lord who sees all things, see you clearly and truthfully. And may the fruits you produce be worthy of reward from our Lord. Selah!