READ: Jeremiah 24-26
THINK: “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” – Jeremiah 24:7
I see so much of modern America in the Israel of Jeremiah’s day, as our society walks away from a God who beckons us to himself and treats those who speak God’s truth with disdain and hatred. And yet, despite our self-indulgence and our abandonment of God and despite the fact that we deserve harsh judgment, he loves us and beckons us back. When I think about that on a personal level – that God has given me a heart to know him, that God is patient with me even though I constantly fail, and that he calls me to return with all my heart – it absolutely blows my mind! Today, consider these words, preached by the great Charles Spurgeon on Jeremiah 24:
With what blindness has sin struck the heart of man, for man does not know his own Maker! It is implied in the text that in his heart he is ignorant of Jehovah, though in Him he lives, and moves, and has his being. What an impotence has sin brought upon the mind of man, since being ignorant of God he is also incapable of finding Him out! This, also, may be most readily gathered from the text. The fact that a promise is made in the Covenant that to the chosen shall be given hearts to know the Lord is a clear proof that without the Divine teaching and without the reception of a new heart from the Lord, man not only does not know, but cannot find out his God!
You boast of your intellect, O vain Man, but your foolish heart is darkened so that you stumble in the noonday as at midnight. You have eyes, and you say, “I see,” but your eyes are closed, your ears are dull of hearing and your heart has waxed gross. And your soul has become so dull that only He who formed the ear can make you hear. And only He who fashioned the eye can give you sight.
How can we sufficiently admire the condescension of God, that He should stoop to instruct the heart of man? Man forgets his God, but God does not forget him. Though man knows not God, yet God knows him and, seeing that his powerlessness to grasp Divine knowledge lies in his heart, He visits him in Grace and renews the fountain of his strength and the center of his nature by giving him a new heart and a right spirit.
The infinitely glorious God might have regarded it as a matter of indifference whether such an insignificant creature as man knew Him or not. He might well have said, and it had been consistent with the majesty of His justice to say it, “Seeing that you do not desire to know Me, you shall not perceive Me. And inasmuch as you close your eyes to Me, you shall continue in outer darkness. Because you will not glorify Me as God, your hearts shall abide in midnight, I will leave you to your own devices.”
But the Lord of Love said not so to the sons of men, upon whom His heart was set! On the contrary, He has made a Covenant of Mercy on our behalf and His speech is the reverse of what we might have expected. He declares in the words of the text, “I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am Jehovah.”
PRAY: (from Spurgeon’s sermon) If you have received this heart to know the Lord, bless Him every minute of your existence for this choicest of all blessings without which you could not enjoy any other Covenant blessing! Never cease to praise the Lord, for He has favored you above measure in giving you so priceless a blessing. But suppose you stand in doubt as to whether you know God? How should you act? Listen to good counsel—consider your ways and turn unto the Lord your God, even now. Confess your ignorance, dear Friend. A sense of ignorance is the very vestibule of knowledge.
Go before God this very day with an acknowledgment that you know nothing. Tell Him how ignorant, blind and stupid you are. Confess it all before Him. That being done, remember that it is by the knowledge of Christ that you are to be justified—“By His knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many” (Isa. 53:11). Study the Character of Christ. Contemplate, with eager attention, His work and Person. See God in Christ Jesus and when you have done so, cry mightily unto the Lord, saying, “You have given this promise in Your Covenant! Lord, let it be a promise unto me and do You fulfill it. You have said, ‘I will give them a heart to know Me.’ Lord, give me a heart to know You!”