Jeremiah 17 contains one of six texts that have been called: “Jeremiah’s confessions.” These are not Jeremiah’s confession of sin, but rather his “anguished conversations” with God about what God is doing and how God is involving Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s anguish is real, and it is used by God in this book to reveal how conflicted God is about His dealings with Israel. You will find these “confessions” in 11:18; 12:6; 15:10-21; 17:14-18; 18:18-23 and 20:7-18.
I find most frightening these words in chapter 17: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
It’s one thing to find yourself drawn into sin you didn’t mean to commit. It is another to throw yourself headlong into sin because you love it so much. The difference is a matter of heart. Psychologists might call it “addiction,” but it’s more about what you’ve become through chasing sin.
I want to believe that no matter how bad we are, none of us is irredeemable. But I know better. It’s not because God won’t redeem us. It is because redemption would require a change of life, and we just don’t want to change.
Did you catch the echo of Psalm 1 in Jeremiah 17:7-8? It is the cure for a diseased heart.