I think we have gained some understanding of what are hearts are like and how wretched they really are. They’re not like we thought they were. We thought we were pretty good, and holy and better than most, but we know that all flesh is the same and we are no different than any other flesh. Jeremiah 29:10 “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at
.” Seventy years is the normal time of human life (Psalm 90:10), though it may be longer. In other words, God’s judgement against His people would last a full generation, or until the present one was passed away and a new generation had arisen. At the time of their captivity and bondage the Lord spoke this promise to bring them back to the place that He first called them too, the place of His mercy. Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place
(V.11) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” This is God’s desire for His people even while they are in captivity because of His judgment. God’s expected end is our walking with Him in covenant in this life and our ultimate eternal salvation.
(V.12) “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.” The purpose of captivity was to humble them and bring true repentance to the people and then when they prayed to God, He would hear them again and their prayer life would return to normal. During God’s judgment because of sin, God doesn’t hear any prayer except a prayer of repentance.
(V.13-14) “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” These are wonderful promises, but they all have a stipulation, a requirement on their part. Yes, God is our salvation, buy we must understand that His salvation is a two-part covenant, which requires obedience on our part. God would leave them in captivity until true repentance caused the new generation of people to seek God with all their heart.
In Deuteronomy 5 the Lord gave the people commandments to keep, just like he has given us commandments to keep. And I’m sure they meant to obey the Lord and thought they could, and even that they tried to do so. But as with everything about the human heart, there is no way possible that we can do anything pleasing to Him. All we can do is make a bigger mess out of our situation.
Deuteronomy 5:27 “Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.” Maybe you have thought the same thing concerning your pastor. Lord, tell him what you want us to do and we will do it. No you won’t. Not unless God gives you the grace to do it!
Deuteronomy 5:28-29 “And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” “O that there were such an heart in them!” Obviously there wasn’t and God knew it. Just because we say something doesn’t mean there is a true heart commitment to follow through. At this point the peoples seeming reverence and fear of God was merely a response to the phenomena accompanying the revelation of God. This is shown in the fact that they quickly forgot their promised loyalty and devotion to God in the everyday course of their lives. God desired a devotion and honor from His people that is all-inclusive, that is full all their heart they would be determined to love and obey Him.
Not only did they not have such a heart, we don’t have such a heart either. As we go into spiritual warfare to pray against the powers of hell, they will do everything they can to remind you of your guilt, your filth, your wretchedness and unworthiness before God. All these things are true, but we are not looking at ourselves, but at Jesus.
Deuteronomy 30:1 “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,” We saw that same thing in Jeremiah. Most of God’s people today are banished into a place of exile outside the presence of God, in a place of harshness, dryness, judgment and death. God's sovereign power at work in the world is such that He can provide for the needs of His people anywhere, anytime and He can reach them in judgment at anytime. His people may go far from Him, but God is never far from them even though He may have to let His people endure hardship and suffering for a short time in order for them to turn again to Him in their hearts. God is always ready and able to remove His people from the suffering He allows in their lives, any time they are ready to turn back to Him with a whole heart, meaning business and not just giving lip service. God's power always goes beyond our understanding, just as His love is always beyond our expectation.
(V.2-3) “And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.” When you are in exile. It doesn’t matter where you are when you being to return to the Lord.
(V.4) “If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:” You could be right on the verge of being plunged into hell itself.
(V.5) “And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.” Now look who is in charge of their hearts!
(V.6) “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” This is truly a promise that refers to the New covenant of the blood of Jesus and what God would do after He would come and die for His people.
Colossians 2:11 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” Romans 2:29 “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” God has to change and circumcise your heart; there is nothing you can do to change it yourself. You must come to a revelation of your wretchedness before God can help you.
Jeremiah 10:14a “Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image:” There is no way you or I can do what God wants us to do. We are too stupid. God chooses the weak and foolish in this world to confound the wise. So He can get all the glory. In comparison to the glory of God we are so stupid, foolish, and void of a revelation of God that He tells us this.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” One way we can understand this is by the fact that man naturally thinks that his heart is good. They say a man is born good and without sin and that society makes them bad. Because of this lie of Satan himself, men try every method of self-reform both on the individual level and the level of society rather than admit before God that he is inherently wicked and cannot help himself and therefore needs a redeemer and savior. The words “desperately wicked” could be translated “incurably sick” or “incurably wicked” and can only be redeemed by faith in the blood of Jesus. The nature of man’s wickedness of heart is such that he canot understand it and cannot hope to cure it. You can’t know your own heart and I can’t know my own heart outside of a revelation of God being given to us. Why? Because we are too stupid! (V.10) “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Jeremiah 15:19 “Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” The Hebrew term translate “return” means to repent from the heart indicating a new moral and spiritual direction in life. God has promised that if you will return to Him with all your heart, He will restore you and bring you to the place where you stand before Him, and become witness for Him. There are two important lessons here concerning repentance. First: Though it is volitional, it is necessary. Second: God has to work this repentance in our hearts. When we truly repent, submitting our hearts to God, He does the work in our hearts. Eph.2:10 says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”
(V.20) “And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.” We are not to compromise to please others or our flesh. You will go through a battle and have to fight when you return to the Lord, but He promises us the victory. (V.21) “And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.”
Jeremiah 3:12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding
, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.” Whenever you come to the place of thinking you are righteous, then you are backslidden and faithless. Your faith must be in Christ, who is your righteousness. But if we will return to Him in truth, then God makes a covenant promise. God extends His mercy and defers judgment to His people, giving them adequate time to repent. Israel Israelhad already rejected God’s plea that they repent so He would not have to judge them, and Judah’s only hope is in returning to God and not continuing the way of faithless . God but wants them to acknowledge their sin. You say you’re under the judgment of God, then start acknowledging you sin and returning to Him. Israel
(V.13) “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.” Stop trying to cover up and hide the truth of your sins before God.
(V.14) “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to
” So we begin to see how filthy and defiled our hearts are. It’s so sad how the demons are masters at deceiving those with Bible knowledge. Many have a quest for Bible knowledge, knowing nothing about the digestion of the Word or becoming one with the Word of God and not realizing that the purpose of the Word of God is to bring about a circumcision of the heart by the spirit of God to receive the Word that it will become implanted into our hearts and thereby bring about the salvation of our souls. But we have to realize that only God can do the implanting and only God can do the engrafting. We think that if God will just tell us what to do that we will be able to do it. But you will not do it unless God does a work in your heart and grants you repentance and gives you the grace and strength to hear and discern His will and working in you. You are His workmanship, His handiwork. Zion:
Psalm 39:5 “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” Simply put, we are nothing. (V.4) “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.” He is saying, “let me know how transient I am and that I am nothing before you.” We need to come to know that we are nothing, we are frail and our lives are vanity in the flesh.
(V.6-9) “Surely every man walketh in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.” You have put me in a spiritual wilderness under your judgment.
(V.10-11a) “Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity,” Our hearts are so vile, there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. He wants us to know that we are helpless without Him. God wants to destroy all pride and self-righteousness within us.
Ecclesiastes 7:13 “Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?” God made you that way. We are created as sinners with a fallen nature that is united to the devil. Remember when Jesus told the Pharisees that they search the scriptures, because in them they think they have eternal life.
John 5:39-40 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” We have all done this. The powers of darkness come and convince us that because of our Bible knowledge we are okay and in good shape spiritually. Not so! Bible knowledge is not sufficient and is not salvation.
Psalms talks about the utter vileness and contemptuousness of our hearts. Psalm 33:13-15 “The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” God, who is sovereign and omniscient, alone knows and understands our hearts.
(V.16-22) “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” We are here for God to dig into our hearts and change them and not to just make a show for others to see.
Jeremiah 32:26-27 “Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Then again He talks about turning His people over to a harsh taskmaster in imprisonment.
(V.36) “And now therefore thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof ye say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence;” Who is the king of Babylon? It’s Satan. How did we get into the devil’s hands? By the Sword – God’s judgment, by famine – is there a famine for the Word of God today, and by pestilence – curses. How did we end up in such a place? Yet while pronouncing His judgment upon His people, God assures Jeremiah of a time when His judgment and anger would be past and the people would have peace and dwell safely from their enemies.
(V.37) “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely:” Because of God’s anger, His people were driven into exile, in captivity, because they sinned against Him. But again, it ends with a promise of hope for His people and a time that God would make a new and everlasting covenant with His people.
(V.38-40) “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” “One heart – one way” Integrity of character and singleness of heart and action after God’s purposes reveal one in whom God is working by His grace. Isn’t it wonderful that God has promised to do the work in us? Let’s thank Him…
(V.41) “Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.” This is after we return from captivity and judgement. God shows His faithfulness to His people.
(V.42-43) “For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.” The Caldeans are a type of demon powers. To you who see nothing but curses and do not hear from heaven, you might say “how can God do this.” Because He is God!
(V.44) “Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.” No matter where you are in your spiritual walk with God, He has promise to restore you if you will turn to Him with all your heart. But as much as God talks to us and reminds us of His love for us, the demons are also talking to us.
Jeremiah 33:1-3 “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” This is a tremendous scripture and promise. On the surface, it looks like God is talking about doing miracles in the lives of His people. He is! But the greatest of them is not so obvious. The word translated "mighty things" means to be inaccessible, cut off, fenced, fortified, restrained, walled up, and withheld. What are these "great and mighty things" that God promises to show to those to cry out to Him? It is the things of Christ Himself! It is a revealing of the person of Christ to His people. And God spoke this to Jeremiah while he was in prison. That's real encouragement!
(V.4-6) “For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city. Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” Abundance of peace and truth only comes through a relationship with Christ. For He is our peace, and He is very embodiment of truth.
(V.7-15) “And I will cause the captivity of
Judahand the captivity of to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it. Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel Israeland to the house of . In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” The days he is speaking of is the days of Christ's coming and dying on the cross for His people to redeem them from their sins. That is all speaking of Jesus! When His people cry out to Him in repentance, then God restores them, and reveals Himself to them, delivers them from their enemies and dwells in their midst. He also gives them shepherd's that care for His people, rather than devoir them. Judah
(V.16) “In those days shall
Judahbe saved, and .” Jesus becomes our righteousness, and is our righteousness, for we have none of our own. The demons will tell you that there is no hope for you, but the Word of God is full of hope for us, no matter what our present state or condition. All things are subject to change. Confess: “There is hope for me! It doesn’t matter how dry and dead I am. God has spoken in His holiness that if I will come back to Him with all my heart, He has sworn by Himself, that He will restore me and bring me back to the place that I enjoyed with Him at the first. He will bring me to the place where I will dwell in His presence and enjoying His favor." Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness
Revelation 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” How did they do that? He tells us how. (V.15) “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Because they stayed before His throne, He began to wash their hearts and bring them back and spread His tabernacle over them and dwell in their midst. Isaiah 6 says God’s train filled the temple. His glory is our tabernacle. God covers us with His glory as they stay before Him and surrender their lives to Him. Then God gives another promise to those that stay in His presence.
(V.16) “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” There won’t be any more spiritual famine and the powers of hell will loose their grip and strength over them (V.17) “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” That living water is Jesus!
John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 7:37-39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Let’s see what is wrong with our hearts. Our hearts are evil and defiled and I too am on my way to hell, unless God has mercy upon me. The imprisonment God puts men into is His doing. He tells us that the ungodly will not cry out to Him when He binds them. God speaks to them in dreams and in many ways, but they will not hear or cry out to Him for deliverance and so they perish in captivity.
Galatians 3:22a “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin,” We are shut up under sin and we cannot save ourselves. Confess this: “The Lord God is my salvation. God is righteousness. I am His workmanship and handiwork. I am helpless. I am foolish and weak. But I believe in His promise to save and deliver me.” The most important thing is that you truly believe these things as well as confess them. (V.22b) “that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” That is why all are shut up in sin, that God could have mercy on those who believe upon Christ.
Romans 11:32 “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” Remember unbelief is synonymous with disobedience. Now do you better understand Deuteronomy, and when the people told Moses to go hear what God had to say, and whatever he told them, that they would do. They didn’t and you won’t either. You’re a man. Your transient, but a handbreadth. You are shut up in disobedience, unbelief and sin. Why? That God might have mercy upon us. Who does He have mercy upon? Those that will call upon Him and that will cry out to Him for deliverance and salvation like Jacob of old.
Their problem then was the same as ours today. God must change our hearts and save us. He must expose the sin in our lives. He must deliver us from sin's power. He has to show us our wickedness, because every man’s way seems right to himself. All men see themselves as more righteous than they are. Some think they are saved because of how they were baptized, and a hundred other reasons and know nothing about the salvation of God. We all begin this walk the same way. Everyone could give a testimony of what God did in their lives and how wicked we once were and the sins God delivered us from in His mercy. But when we first came to Him we didn’t know that we would have to go through the wilderness and we didn’t understand the perils or even that there was a wilderness.
Romans 3:9 “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;” God now tell us about our own efforts and how He sees them. How do we know this is true? Paul quotes the Old Testament.
(V.10-18) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” That is the problem and why men who do not know Christ (the way of peace) continue in sin without concern about the results.
Romans 9:16 “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” You say you want to serve God? It doesn’t depend upon you to serve Him. It depends upon God having mercy upon you. In John 15:16 Jesus said; “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” He must choose you and ordain you to bear fruit unto eternal life. You can’t do it of yourself. Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.”
Begin Praying: ”Father God, I humble myself before your throne of grace. Lord we acknowledge our sin and our compromise and the wickedness that we are guilty of before you. Lord you promised that there is nothing to hard for you because you are the God of all flesh. And right now we bind the demon powers that bring doubt and unbelief and cause us to go by our feelings. Father, you told us that no man could understand his heart. We thought getting a knowledge of your Word is all there was to it, but now we see that you must do a work in us by your spirit. . .”
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