Jeremiah 17:1-13 The Blessed And The Cursed.
Judah’s sin was indelible and precise, going to the very core of who they were, their heart, but also bearing witness to the LORD on the horns of the altar, that it was sin not atoned for (v. 1), even as the children continued in that idolatry (v. 2). Their wealth would be plunder for the nations, even themselves as slaves to their enemies (v. 3), in a foreign land. This is the LORD’s fierce anger (v. 4), against those who are cursed for trusting in man, for violating the covenantal bond – hearts which depart from the LORD (v. 5). This is described as living in “the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited” (v. 6). A salt land is one in which there is no hope of life.
On the other hand, there was hope for the remnant, those who trust in the LORD and are thus blessed (v. 7). These are those whom the LORD plants so deep that their roots reach the river of life (v. 8a). They will not be anxious when droughts come, they will continue to leaf and bear fruit (v. 8b). The heart is the core of who we are, because of our decision in Adam it continues to be “desperately wicked; who can know it?” (v. 9) However, the LORD knows it, better than ourselves, for among other evils, the heart has a tremendous capacity for self-deception. The LORD searches the heart and tests the mind, “even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (v. 10).
What finds birth in one’s heart, shows itself in the thoughts and attitudes of one’s mind, which can be tested, and the results will also show up in the fruit of one’s other conduct, the ways and doings of life. Those who enrich themselves, “but not by right,” will end poor and be seen for what they are – fools (v. 11). It is the glorious high throne of the majesty of the LORD God, who has been from the beginning, who alone rules in the earth, and who ought to have been the true hope of Israel (vv. 12-13a). Alas, all who forsake the LORD “shall be ashamed” (v. 13b). The apostates from the covenant were never more than children of the earth alone, without access to “the fountain of living waters” (v. 13c).