1-4 | God promises captivity because of Judah’s sin engraved hearts
5-8 | Contrasts of the cursed man and blessed man
9-11 | God searches hearts and tests minds
12-18 | Jeremiah’s plea the be remembered by God
19-23 | God reaffirms the necessity of keeping the Sabbath
24-27 | God promises blessing for keeping the Sabbath and destruction if not
A key verse of this chapter is found in verse 10.
Jeremiah 17:10 NASB
“I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.”
Jeremiah begins the chapter describing how the hearts of the people of Judah have been engraved as in stone with idolatry. This is further emphasized in the last two sections where God tells Jeremiah what to announce to the rulers and leaders of the people of Judah in the public square: Keep the Sabbath and God will give godly leaders like David; profane the Sabbath and the promised destruction and captivity will come.
Men often deceive themselves into thinking that they are committing any serious sins but that is not so in the eyes of the Lord. God is a jealous god and desire to be the sole focus of our worship. If this is done, God promises to care for His people. If not, surely destruction and captivity will come as promised as well.
That might seem rather selfish on God’s part. But if we consider that He is the Creator of all that we care to search out and discover, and that He created it by merely saying the words, “Let there be…”, and it was so. I don’t know about you but He seems like He is worthy of our sole focus in worship and worthy of our keeping of His commands.
Sadly, many nations, including my own, either have or are going the way of Judah and Israel by not worshipping God as the one true God but instead are allowing the hearts and minds of the people to be engraved with sin, set in stone as it were, and dishonoring God in the process.
God will allow many generations to come and go, all the while searching the hearts and testing the minds of mankind to see if they will honor God and His commands. but there will come a time when God will say, “Enough!” Then destruction and captivity will inevitably come.
Lord God, forgive us for not honoring You and Your commands and for allowing our hearts and minds to be engraved with sin and hardened against worshipping only You. You alone deserve our worship and we pray that You will forgive our sins and restore us to Your good favor. Heal our nations and lead us in the way that leads to salvation. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.