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Daily Devotional

January 11

The Heart Is Desperately Sick

by the Rev. Henry Huenemann


The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (or sick); who can know it? (Jer. 17:9).

Bible Reading

Jeremiah 17:1-14:

1The 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;
2Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
3O 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.
4And 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.
5Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
6For 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.
7Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
8For 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.
9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10I 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.
11As 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.
12A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
13O 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.
14Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.


In our day people do not believe that the human heart is wicked. The doctrine of total depravity is discredited. Juvenile deliquency crops out everywhere; they have failed to find a remedy. There are many physicians but the true physican is scorned, or just lipservice paid to him.

Our condition is described by the prophet Isaiah: "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment."

All our religious meetings, tithes, and sacrifices are to no avail, unless we repent and turn to God, who said, "I am the Lord, that healeth thee." It is He, who forgiveth all our iniquities, and healeth all our diseases. It is He, that healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. But He does this only for Christ's sake, who atoned for our sins by his suffering and death. "Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness." The justice of God had to be satisfied, before God's mercy could be extended to us. But Christ has made full satisfaction, and we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Only those who believe this can claim the promise: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."


Our Father, Thou seest us and knowest us. Thou knowest our hearts. Nothing is hid from Thee. Teach us to know the greatness of our sin and misery, so that with contrition of heart we may implore Thy divine mercy, knowing and believing that the blood of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, cleanses us from all sin. Keep Thou us from all false worship. Help us to serve Thee in all humility of heart, using our gifts, which Thou hast bestowed upon us, for the benefit and welfare of our fellowmen, the extension of Thy kingdom, and the honor and glory of Thy name. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Scripture in Devotional: Isa. 1:5, 6; Ex. 15:26; Ps. 103:3; 147:3; Isa. 1:27; Heb. 10:10; Isa. 1:18.

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