“A true heart” – we plucked out that phrase from our reading of Hebrews 10 with a question in our minds – who has a “true heart”? We are conscious that there are many passages in Scripture which emphasise the deceitfulness of the human heart, e.g., Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21,22, etc.
We finished reading Jonah today and it illustrated the lack of merciful thought in his heart and how God tried to get him to see the situation from the divine perspective. Let us remember the teaching of Jesus on this: read Matthew 5:44-48. Of course, history shows that Nineveh’s repentance did not last into the following generations, but that is not the point. When printing was first invented the Bible was the first book available for all to read – and how eagerly it was read – in the 17th Century – but that spirit did not last.
In our reading in Hebrews 10 we see how the writer (we presume it was Paul) plucks out 2 quotations from Jeremiah to illustrate the mercy of God: “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (from Jeremiah 31:34). It is essential we have the right reaction in our hearts to the mercies of God. We next read in Hebrews, “Therefore … since we have a great High Priest (Jesus) … let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith …” (verses 19,21,22). Our hearts must now be “true” and constantly feeding on God’s word, and developing a real relationship with our High Priest. As we properly absorb the divine word into our minds we will build up the full reality of that sense of ‘truth’ in our relationship with God. This will lead us to “consider how to stir one another to love and good works” (verse 24). May our daily diligent reading of God’s word help in stirring our hearts and minds to remain “true”. As a result we will be busy “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (verse 25).
Our chapter ends with a quotation from what God said to Habakkuk (which we will read next week), God told him “my righteous one(s) shall live by faith, (but) if he (or she) shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him (or her)”.
May we all be among “those who have faith and preserve their souls” – which are the words which end the chapter – leading to the start of tomorrow’s chapter and it’s challenging description of real faith as “the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen”. Those who develop a “true heart” will also develop that “conviction”.