The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
“I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”
Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
are those who gain riches by unjust means.
When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them,
and in the end they will prove to be fools. Jeremiah 17:9-11
These three verses contain three wisdom sayings: (1) “The heart is deceitful above all things and is beyond cure”. (2) “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind”. The word “mind” used here is the Hebrew word for heart and the word “heart” here is the Hebrew word for kidneys. The “mind” and the “heart” are hidden elements of a human personality, but God see them perfectly. (3) The “partridge (perhaps a sand grouse) hatches eggs it didn’t lay”. Some people amass wealth via the sweat of others, but like the these birds, they will discover that their wealth does not last forever.
The heart represents a person’s inner being, including one’s desires, feelings and thoughts. Contrary to philosophies and worldview that are based on what is perceived as the “best” human values, efforts and achievements, human nature is not essentially good. It is not good advice to “follow your heart” if that heart is not in communion with the heart of God. Apart from God, the human heart is desperately evil and and corrupt, and the path it would choose leads to destruction. Human nature leans towards selfishness. It seeks ways that are contrary to the ways of God. The corrupt human heart cannot change by itself. The only remedy is to experience God’s grace-his undeserved mercy and favor-to be forgiven and “born again” spiritually through faith in Jesus Christ. Only God can totally transform a person’s life and give him or her a new heart that hates evil and delights in doing what God desires.