Jeremiah 5-6

No Heart For God.

“They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’” ­– Jeremiah 5:24 NLT

This is all about the heart. Yesterday we talked about stubbornness of heart. The people of Israel had grown callous and cold, their hearts were no longer sensitive toward God. They were stubborn and hard-headed, determined to live their lives their own way, rejecting God and His ways. These were the people of God. He had chosen them. He had rescued them out of bondage in Egypt. He had led them across the wilderness; feeding, leading, clothing, guiding, instructing, and providing for them all along the way. He had given them the land He had promised them. He had given them His Law. He had provided them with His tabernacle and the assurance of His presence. He had displayed His power over and over again. He had given them victory in battle, cities they had not built, homes they had not constructed, vineyards they had not planted, and a life they did not deserve. And in return, they had rejected Him. But what would cause someone to react that way to the One who had done so much for them? They didn’t really know Him. To them, God was nothing more than a disembodied force, a power they could tap into when it was convenient. He was a resource that could prove handy at certain times, but a little restricting at others. They had no real respect for God. No awe. No regard for His power, majesty, might, holiness, justice, and righteous standards. Which is why God asked, “Have you no respect for me? Why don’t you tremble in my presence?” (Jeremiah 5:22 NLT). They had no understanding or knowledge of God. They did not connect the dots. “They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right'” (Jeremiah 5:24 NLT). Even the simplistic realization that their very existence was tied to God did not help them develop a healthy respect for Him. They couldn’t see that their ability to eat, live, and survive were directly linked to God. Because they were foolish and senseless, unable to see and hear (Jeremiah 5:21).

They had lost the ability to recognize God in their midst. They could no longer see His power, hear His voice, or comprehend what He was doing in their midst. They even denied that He was doing anything at all (Jeremiah 5:12-13). They viewed God as distant, disembodied and disinterested in what they were doing. So they no longer listened to what He was saying. They had developed stubborn and rebellious hearts (Jeremiah 5:23). The Hebrew word for “heart” is leb and it does not refer to the organ that pumps blood. It is talking about the mind, the seat of the emotions, our capacity for understanding. It is what drives our actions and behaviors. Their hearts were no longer sensitive to God. They had no sense of God. They did not thing about God. He was not a part of their decision-making process. They rejected His Word, refusing to listen to what He had to say. They didn’t really know Him. They didn’t understand Him. So they rejected Him. They replaced Him. And in doing so, they offended Him. But God continued to offer them a chance to return. He said, “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16 NLT). Stop, open your eyes, see what God has been doing and is doing all around you. Live your life according to His terms – the godly way. Develop an understanding of and appreciation for God. He desires for us to know Him, not just know about Him. He wants to reveal Himself to us. He wants to display His power around us. But like the Israelites, we say, “No, that’s not the road we want!” (Jeremiah 6:16b NLT). And we miss out on knowing God.

Father, we live lives blinded by the things of this world. We can’t see You for who You really are. We can’t hear You because we are so busy listening to the noise of this world. We don’t know You. We just know about You. Our knowledge of You is limited and incomplete. Open our eyes and ears, help us to see You in our midst. Help us to understand who You really are. Take the blinders off so that our understanding of You can expand and our respect for You can increase. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men