Saturday, May 3, 2008

Matters of the Heart - part 5 of ?

Jeremiah was the prophet of God during some of the most difficult times in the Old Testament. Jerusalem fell and the Hebrews were in a period of exile to the Babylonian empire. It seemed that anything that could go wrong did go wrong. Ever been there?

His messages during these disruptive times were full of passion, belief, and conviction. We find a very interesting form of the word heart in many of his messages. Look at chapter 9 verse 8, "Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceit; with his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets an ambush." The word used here is qereb (keh' reb) and it means nearest part, center, midst, inward thoughts.

This word is used all through the Old Testament, but not always as the word heart. It is the same word used when Sarah was told that she would bear a child but "laughed within herself". It was used when Joshua was told by God that "there is an accursed thing in the midst of Israel". It's form spoke of the wisdom of Solomon - "they saw the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment". It is also used when speaking of the inward parts of the sacrificial animals that were burnt for an offering to God. Interesting.

I found two forms of the word heart in Psalm 51:10. Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. The first word for heart is Leb, which we went over in part 2 of this study. The second one, spirit, is qereb. This is interesting, because we think that if our heart is right, then we are good to go. Well, there is always more to attain when you are a Christ follower. Allowing Christ to hold the center of your heart is definately step one. We still need more work though. We can speak the Word and declare peace, but still have the ability to harbor disbelief and deceit within our spirit.

The all-consuming fire of God's holiness will continue to burn, whether we have anything to offer to it or not. Allow Him to cleanse and renew every part of you, even down to the inward thoughts. Give Him your sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. He loves you to the deepest level - to qereb. How far will we go with qereb?

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