Jeremiah 17

The heart of man, out of communion with God, is wicked and deceitful above all things.
Those who have wedded themselves to sin invite God’s judgments upon their own heads.
There is only disappointment and vexation for those who depend upon the arm of flesh instead of God,
but those who by faith derive strength and grace from God will be enabled to do that which will redound to God’s glory,
the benefit of others and their own account.

1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;

2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.

3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.

4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.

5 ¶ Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

9 ¶ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

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.

11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

12 ¶ A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.

13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.

14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

15 ¶ Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.

16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.

17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.

18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

19 ¶ Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;

20 And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:

21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.

24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;

25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

26 And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.

27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

Jeremiah 17:1-14 – ​Human and Divine Help Contrasted

   The Jews were always seeking alliance either with Egypt or Babylon. What was true of them applies to us all; but we cannot depend upon human aid, without departing from the Lord. The heath is probably the juniper, a lonely tree, dwelling in arid wastes, unvisited by dew. The soul that rests on God is watered from His throne. The roots of such are fed from the hidden springs of Eternity. The heart is deceitful; it tends constantly to substitute the arm of flesh for the living God. Desperately wicked was the ancient notion that the partridge stole the eggs of other birds and hatched them as her own. The covetous man is sure to reap disappointment. He steals other people’s goods, but is driven off the nest before they hatch out for the benefit of himself. God’s glorious throne is a defense to all who trust Him; while those who depart from Him shall be forgotten, as a sentence written in the sand is obliterated by the next puff of wind. Contrast Job 19:23-24. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Jeremiah 17:21—Bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.

​   The matter dealt with in this paragraph closely pertained to the conditions of the best life. And is it not so? Is it not a matter of vital importance that we should keep the eternal Sabbath in our hearts, and suffer no burden to be brought through the gates of the soul? Even if we consider this matter from the lowest aspect, how certain it is that absence of worry and fret promotes length of days! But in the deepest sense we must, like Jeremiah, set a guard at the city portals, and insist that no anxiety should cross our threshold. Do you ask what sentry is strong enough to arrest the intrusion of burden-bearing thoughts? I reply, let the peace of God keep your mind and heart. Meet every anxiety with the one short, strong, sweet answer—God; God will see to it; God will provide.
   In Jeremiah 17:24 we are bidden diligently to hearken to God in this matter. It must therefore be within our power. The will can direct the thoughts to what object it chooses. Do not look down, but up; not backward or forward, but God-ward. It is right to think calmly and deliberately about the issues of things; but the allowance of foreboding anxiety is a positive sin against the love of God.
   The result is beautiful. Obey God in this, and the King Himself shall enter the gates of your city (Jeremiah 17:25). Your life will be filled with burnt-offerings and frankincense and thanksgiving (Jeremiah 17:26). And from the perfect balance and rest of your nature you will be able to look out with equanimity on the storm and change around. We which have believed do enter into the Sabbatism which remaineth. —Our Daily Homily