The Scriptorium

Keep Your Heart

It's the heart of the matter. Jeremiah 16, 17

Lord of the Heart: Jeremiah 16, 17 (7)

Pray Psalm 86.10-12.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.

Sing Psalm 86.10-12.

(Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
For You are great, You wondrous deeds do;
You are the only and sovereign Lord.
Teach me Your way, let me give heed to,
with all my heart, Savior, all Your Word!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
praise Your Name forever, Lord!

Review Jeremiah chapters 16 and 17; meditate on Jeremiah 16.10-12; 17.9, 10

Prepare.
1. The people of God had a heart problem. What was it?

2. How can we know when our hearts are turning away from God?

Meditate.
The people of Judah and Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day had ignored Solomon’s wise counsel: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4.23). While His people were not careful to watch over their hearts, God was. He saw their love for Him cooling and turning to false idols. He saw their wicked desires elbowing love for Him to the back burner of the soul. He saw them lusting after practices and things which were contrary to His Law.

God did not merely sit by while this happened. In every generation, He sent prophets like Jeremiah to call the people to examine themselves and consider their ways, to see that they had turned from God’s covenant and Law to follow the wicked ways of the surrounding nations and the sinful inclinations of their unkept hearts. The prophets called the people to repent, going from city to city, standing outside the temple, accosting their rulers and priests, and preaching in every gate of the city.

But the people would not hear. They were sitting on a treasure of blessings, but they chose to follow the ways of wickedness, and thus they provoked the judgment of God.

It’s no wonder God calls us to love Him with all our heart (Matt. 22.34-40). If we don’t give all our heart to Him – to fear and love and desire and long for Him – that portion we hold back from loving the Lord will become dry rot in our souls, corroding all our thoughts, affections, and priorities, and collapsing our souls into a mire of wickedness and self-interest.

The Word of God continues speaking to us about the condition of our hearts. Keep a close watch on yours at all times. Let nothing distract you from loving the Lord, for only as we love Him can we realize the fullness of life in His covenant.

Reflect.
1. What can we do to help keep our hearts devoted to God in all things?

2. How can we know when we are drifting from love for God into love for lesser things?

3. How can believers help one another to keep their hears with all diligence?

Described then is here the character of all mankind, until God regenerates his elect. As then there is no purity except from the Spirit of God, as long as men continue in their own nature, their hearts are full of deceits and frauds. So the fairest splendor is nothing but hypocrisy, which is abominable in the sight of God. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 17.19

Help me to stand firm for You, Lord, and to remain within Your covenant today as I…

Pray Psalm 86.1-9.

Whatever your need today, or whatever your trouble, seek the Lord with all your heart, and resolve to glorify Him in all your ways.

Sing Psalm 86.1-9.
Psalm 86.1-9 (Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
Bow down Your ear, O Lord and hear me;
I am afflicted and much in need!
Rescue my godly soul, be near me;
save me, O God, all my crying heed!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
all day long I pray and plead.

Lift up my soul, fill me with gladness;
Lord You are good, You will soon forgive.
Show me abundant lovingkindness;
let all who call on You ever live.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
heed to my poor pleading give.

When in my trouble, Lord, I call You,
You answer me; there is none like You!
There are no works like Yours, and all whom
You have created shall worship You.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me,
all shall glory give to You!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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