I stumbled onto an interesting verse this week while flipping through my Bible trying to find something to write about. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is more deceitful than anything else.” And doing some cross-referencing Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” Interesting, different, confusing, and contrary to the modern mantra of “follow your heart”. So what are these verses saying? What did they mean for the Israelites? What do they mean today? In order to answer these questions, let me ask you one. Have you ever been reading a letter, listening or singing a song, or watching TV and found yourself moved with emotion—even to tears—but others in the same room, reading, singing, watching were not moved the same way? Or consider this question, Have you ever had a “conversation” with your spouse where you each had an emotional reaction that was not the same? How is it possible that two people could witness the same event, over hear the same conversation, be placed in the exact same circumstances, yet describe the experience so very differently? More than that, have emotions that are opposed to one another?
It is hard to find context in Proverbs, but the second half of 28:26 says, “But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” In the book of Proverbs wisdom in many places can be likened to Jesus and what He did. Using this context the verse would read something like, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks ‘like Jesus” will be delivered.” And in Jeremiah 17:9, the greater context is God stating that you should to follow and trust Him, because trusting one’s own heart, and following the ideas of men will not work out well in the end. Based on this I think the meaning for us today is the same. We need to know and recognize that sincerity does not equal truth. Many people believe strongly—in their heart—that something is right, just, true, or good. Only to find out later that they—their heart— was wrong. Their heart was deceived. The application of these verses to us, here today, at the Valley church of Christ speaks directly to our Mission.
The world is inundated with religions, groups within a religion, and sects within those groups. Sociologists generally agree that there are 8 major religions that include almost all believers in the world. These religions break down into 43 different major groups, and some 4000 plus different religious sects. No wonder people are not sure what to believe and many people are misled. I think many follow their hearts, letting their internal emotions define truth. This is what God is warning us about in these verses. We need to keep this in mind so that we might gently and lovingly share truth. The problem in the world religions today is not a lack of sincerity—rather it is a lack of truth.
Let me know your thoughts.. — Glenn