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What Happens When People Follow After Their Own Stubborn Evil Heart?
What do you think of a Preacher who promises peace and security to those who are stubbornly following after their own evil heart?
Could it be true that such preaching is going on even in our day? Absolutely! It's happening all the time. There are Preachers everywhere who are advocating a Gospel which promises prosperity and good things to a people who violate God's laws of morality...put away His Word...cast it behind their backs...persist in their sins...and slight His authority in doing so. These "believers" are worshippers of idols...slaves to their own lusts...and devoted to pleasures. The course of life that they have chosen leads them to live according to the lusts and dictates of their own wicked, carnal heart. They walk after the flesh and not the Spirit. They do not live in accordance to the will and word of God.
Believe it or not! These "believers" are never warned about their spiritual condition. They are never threatened with the evil of punishment (the terrible consequences of sin in this lifetime or eternal Hellfire in the next). They are told that they will have "peace" even though they "walk after the imagination of their evil heart."
The Prophet Jeremiah had to deal with such Preachers in his day. The people of Israel were constantly evil - so much so that he used the phrase - "walking every one in the imagination of their evil heart" - seven times in his writings to describe them.
We first find this phrase in Deuteronomy 29:18-19 which says - "Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:" We see the initial trait of these people is that they turn from the Lord to go and serve the world's idols. They also become as a poisonous plant - spreading forth their bitterness far and wide to all who come in contact with them. They are self-absorbed and presumptuous sinners. They consider themselves safe from the wrath of God - flattering and congratulating themselves with the promise that it will never reach them. They think themselves secure from the curse of the law. They are filled with vain hopes - telling themselves that all is well and that they will enjoy only safety and prosperity. They are governed by their own imagination. They don't follow God's commands. Rather they walk in their own self-chosen path.
In Deuteronomy 29, these "idolaters" congratulated or "blessed themselves" in their own heart. In Jeremiah 23:17, we find the Preachers "blessing" the people - "They say still unto them that despise Me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you."
Imagine telling a people who "despise" the Lord God that "no evil will come upon you." Imagine telling them that they will only prosper - no matter how they live in this world! They will only have security - eternal security!
The truth of the matter is - People who "walk after the imagination of their evil heart" are rebels! They themselves or some self-appointed Preacher can flatter or "bless" them in their sin, but God's Word still stands as the final Word - which says that if they don't repent, they will spend eternity in Hell!
In Jeremiah 7, we read of a people who trusted in lying words...broke all of God's commands...heard not His warnings...received no correction...and cut off all truth from their mouths. Jeremiah 7:24 specifically says - "But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." Does this describe a people headed for Heaven?
In Jeremiah 11, we find a people depicted by the Prophet as being cursed because they refused to obey the words of God's covenant. Jeremiah 11:8 describes them as such - "Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not." Where are these going to spend eternity?
In Jeremiah 13 and 18, we find a "marred" people - a people who had become profitable for nothing. They are compared to a soiled linen girdle and a broken clay pot - "This evil people, which refuse to hear My words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing"(Jeremiah 13:10) "And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart"(Jeremiah 18:12). Both had become useless in the hands of the Master due to their corrupt practices.
Lastly, in Jeremiah 16, we find a people who had forsaken the Lord to follow after other gods. Jeremiah 16:12 says of them - "And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto Me." Do a people who refuse to listen to and obey God go to Heaven?
In Jeremiah 3, we get a clear picture of the kind of Preachers God sends. They are the ones who are warning the wicked and calling them to turn from their evil ways. Jeremiah 3:3 says - "Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed." Notice that Jeremiah did not congratulate or "bless" these people in their sins. He did not promise them prosperity and security. On the contrary, God instructed him to call them to repentance - "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel...Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed My voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you..."(Jeremiah 3:12-14). When they obeyed, then and only then were they depicted as those who no longer follow after their own stubborn evil heart - "...neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart"(Jeremiah 3:17).
Who's going to heaven? Those who "walk after the imagination of their evil heart," or those who obey God and His Word?
No matter what any Preacher tells you - if you are not living right before the Lord, you will not make it to Heaven. You can find someone to flatter you in your sin, but never forget, Heaven is God's Throne, not man's! He gives the final call - based on His Holy Word!
Therefore, turn from all sin!
Don't let it be said - "Too late"!
May God Bless His Word.