Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in the first thirteen verses of the fifth chapter. RUN! RUN YE! RUN YE TO AND FRO! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM, AND SEE! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM AND SEE NOW! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM, AND SEE NOW, AND KNOW! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM, AND SEE NOW, AND KNOW, AND SEEK! RUN YE TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM, AND SEE NOW, AND KNOW, AND SEEK IN THE BROAD PLACES THEREOF! This particular passage of Scripture begins and opens with one singular word—a word that carries with it tremendous implication and significance! The Lord of hosts was calling for one to run within the land, and not just run within the land, but run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem. WHEN PROPHETS RUN THROUGH THE STREETS OF OUR CITIES! WHEN DISCIPLES RUN THROUGH THE STREETS OF OUR CITIES! WHEN SAINTS RUN TO AND FRO THROUGH THE STREETS OF OUR CITIES! I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the Lord which are recorded for us in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Second Chronicles—“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). With these words the Lord emphatically declares that His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth for one single purpose—to shew Himself strong. The ultimate and underlying reality surrounding these words is that while it is true the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, and while it is true that His eyes run to and fro throughout the earth to shew Himself strong, He shews Himself strong “in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” The Lord does desire to shew Himself strong, and the Lord can and will show Himself strong, yet that strength is shown, displayed and manifested to those who live a particular way. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to shew Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.
Perhaps the ultimate question that needs to be asked is whether or not the Lord desires to shew Himself strong, or whether the Lord desires those whose heart is perfect toward Him. What is the greatest display and manifestation in the earth—a display of the strength of the Lord, or that one whose heart is perfect toward the Lord. If you read the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will encounter a passionate plea from David king of Israel—a plea concerning the condition of his heart. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we understand the desire of David’s heart, and not so much the desire of David’s heart, but the desire for David’s heart. I would dare say that we spend a considerable amount of time focusing on the desire of our heart while we ignore, neglect and even reject the desire for our heart. Let me pause for a moment and ask you—not what the desire of your heart is, but what the desire for your heart is. THE DESIRE FOR YOUR HEART! Are you aware of the battle that rages within you—not a battle for the desires of your heart, but the battle that rages for your heart. In all reality and in all honesty, I would dare say we spend more time, effort and energy focusing on fighting for the desires of our heart rather than fighting for the condition of our heart. FIGHTING FOR OUR HEART! FIGHTING FOR THE CONDITION OF OUR HEART! How important is the condition of your heart? Do you recognize and understand that the condition of your heart far outweighs and even outranks the desires of your heart? It is true the psalmist declared before the Lord in the book of the Psalms—“delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”—yet I am convinced the first part of this declaration and promise deals with the condition of our heart, while the second part of this declaration deals with the obvious desires of our heart. We seem to have no problem fighting for the desires of our heart, yet are we willing to invest the same amount of energy in fighting for the condition of our heart. Let me ask another very pointed question at this moment—what is the appearance of your heart? FIGHTING FOR THE APPEARANCE OF YOUR HEART!
I am utterly and thoroughly convinced that we spend more time fighting for outward appearances when in all reality the Lord is concerned with that which is internal and invisible. FIGHTING FOR THE INVISIBLE NATURE OF THE HEART! Consider the word of correction the Lord spoke to Samuel when Samuel assumed that Jesse’s oldest son was the one who would be anointed as king. “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord Seth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 15:7). When reading and considering these words, it’s worth making a note of what the Lord had revealed to Samuel just a couple chapters earlier in the same Old Testament book. “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be a captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee” (1 Samuel 13:14). This reality is echoed in the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts where it is recorded “And when he had removed him, He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (Acts 13:22). I mention and include these passages to confirm one incredibly vital reality—the reality that the Lord of hosts is completely concerned with the condition and appearance of one’s heart. The Lord is not concerned with external appearance, nor is the Lord concerned with the desires of one’s heart, for the desires of one’s heart are directly determined by the condition of one’s heart. We dare not, we cannot, we must not spend more time focusing on the desires of our heart, while simultaneously neglecting the condition and appearance of our heart. When it came to the selection of a new king to reign over and govern the nation and kingdom of Israel, the Lord not only refused to regard external appearances, but the Lord of hosts also sought one incredibly important piece—that that man would be one after His own heart. The eyes of the Lord do indeed run to and fro throughout the earth to shew himself strong, yet He only shews Himself strong on the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.
THE EYES OF THE LORD RUN TO AND FRO THROUGHOUT THE EARTH IN SEARCH OF A HEART THAT IS PERFECT TOWARD HIM! SATAN, THE ADVERSARY MOVES TO AND FRO THROUGHOUT THE EARTH TO DESTROY HEARTS PERFECT TOWARD THE LORD! THE LORD INVITES US TO RUN TO AND FRO THROUGHOUT THE EARTH IN SEARCH OF A HEART THAT IS PERFECT TOWARD HIM! The book of the Psalms is actually quite remarkable, for the psalmists—especially David—have a lot to say concerning the heart. For examine, in the seventh chapter and the tenth verse, David declares that his defense is of God, which saves the upright in heart (Psalm 7:10). One of the things that’s so incredibly vital to this entire concept is found in the third verse of the tenth chapter—“For the wicked boasters of his heart’s desire, and blessed the covetous, whom the Lord abhoreth” (Psalm 10:3). It is abundantly and perfectly clear when reading these words that the desires of one’s heart are not the most important factor within one’s life, for David declares that the wicked boast of their heart’s desire. It is an incredibly tragic day when we boast more concerning the desire of our heart than we do the condition of our heart. Please understand that I am not in any way suggesting that we go around bragging and boasting to others how our heart is somehow better or vastly different than theirs. I am in no way suggesting that you compare your heart to that of others and somehow set your heart on a pedestal above theirs. What I am speaking of is the very real and tangible desire for our heart to be upright and pure before the Lord. Remember how Jesus declared that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” for in the tenth chapter we find these words played out within the heart of the wicked. Consider first how the wicked “said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.” Consider also how the wicked “said in his heart, God hath forgotten: He hideth His face; He will never see.” What’s more, the wicked has “said in his heart, “thou wilt not require it.” Consider the words which Jesus spoke—words which are recorded for us in the twelfth chapter of Matthew’s gospel in the New Testament. “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idol word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37).
I have long and often said that if you want to truly understand the nature and condition of your heart, you need do nothing more than listen to the words which come out of your mouth. There is perhaps no truer revelatory marker of one’s heart than the words which proceed and come forth from one’s mouth. Have you taken the time to listen to the words which come out of your mouth? Have you taken the time to listen to and pay attention to your speech? When was the last time you took a step back and strongly considered the words which have come forth and flowed from your mouth? Jesus declared that it is out of the abundance of our heart our mouths will speak, and I am strongly convinced that our heart is the filter for our mouths. Even this morning I found myself praying and asking the Lord that the words which may proceed forth from my mouth would pass through a filter—a filter which is directly connected with my heart. THE DIVINE FILTER OF THE HEART! I am convinced that there is no greater witness to the condition of our heart than the words which proceed forth from our lips. If Jesus declared that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, I am thoroughly convinced that there is the sound of our heart, and it is heard and expressed through the words which proceed forth from our lips. THE SOUND OF YOUR HEART! Are you aware of the sound of your heart? Are you aware of the sound your heart is making? What’s more—what sound is your heart making before others? What do others think of the sound of your heart? There was a famous play entitled “the sound of music,” yet I am convinced we aren’t and shouldn’t be as concerned with “the sound of music” as we are with “the sound of the heart.” Whether or not you choose to believe and accept it or not, your heart has a very distinct sound to it. Your heart has a very distinct appearance to it—an appearance which only the Lord of hosts sees. THE SOUND AND APPEARANCE OF YOUR HEART! It’s absolutely necessary that we understand the sound of our heart is how others become aware of the condition of our heart, while the appearance of our heart is visible only to the Lord. THE SOUND OF YOUR HEART IS HEARD IN MAN’S EARS, WHILE THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART IS VISIBLE ONLY TO THE LORD! MAN HEARS YOUR HEART WHILE THE LORD SEES YOUR HEART! Your heart has a distinct sound which is heard by those whom you interact with on a daily and regular basis, while the condition and appearance of your heart is seen by the Lord of hosts and Him alone.
HE THAT WALKETH UPRIGHTLY, AND WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND SPEAKETH THE TRUTH IN HIS HEART! HE THAT HATH CLEAN HANDS, AND A PURE HEART! THE LORD IS NIGH UNTO THEM THAT ARE OF A BROKEN HEART! AND THY RIGHTEOUSNESS TO THE UPRIGHT IN HEART! CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD! THE SACRIFICES OF GOD ARE A BROKEN SPIRIT: A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART! MY HEART IS FIXED, O GOD, MY HEART IS FIXED! TO SUCH AS ARE OF A CLEAN HEART! SO HE FED THEM ACCORDING TO THE INTEGRITY OF HIS HEART! I WILL WALK WITHIN MY HOUSE WITH A PERFECT HEART! A FROWARD HEART SHALL DEPART FROM ME! O GOD MY HEART IS FIXED! SEEK HIM WITH THE WHOLE HEART! These are just a few of the various references to the heart as found within the book of the Psalms—words which help reveal the condition of the heart. It is true the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth to shew Himself strong on the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him, and yet I am convinced we spend more time focusing on the display of the strength of the Lord than we do with the condition and perfection of our heart. “Be ye perfect, even as I am perfect.” These were the words which the Lord of hosts spoke while here on the earth must be carefully considered, for the Lord called us to a deeper level of perfection and accountability. The Lord desires to shew Himself strong, yet so many times we demand the display of the strength of the Lord without understanding the requirement of our heart and its direct connection to that manifestation. We spend more time with the Lord’s connection to that promise while neglecting the responsibility associated with the promise. OH HOW OFTEN WE SPEND MORE TIME FOCUSING ON THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISE THAN WE DO THE RESPONSIBILITY CONNECTED TO THE PROMISE. Jeremiah called for those to run to and fro throughout the streets of Jerusalem, and see, and know, and seek in the broad places therein, if he could find a man—a single man—one who executeth judgment and sought the truth. In other words, the eyes of the Lord were running to and fro with that man in search of something very specific. WHEN THE EYES OF THE LORD RUN IN STEP WITH THE FOOTSTEPS OF MEN! WHEN THE EYES OF THE LORD ACCOMPANY THE PATH AND JOURNEY OF A MAN!
The Lord had instructed Samuel to set forth in search of one whom the Lord required, yet little did Samuel know that the eyes of the Lord had already run to and fro ahead of him. WHEN THE EYES OF THE LORD MOVE AHEAD OF THE PATH WE HAVE BEEN SET ON! The Lord might very well be calling us to run to and fro throughout the earth—to and fro throughout the streets—yet His eyes have already gone ahead, and gone before us. In fact, I would dare say that before the Lord ever invites us, calls us, and even instructs us to run to and fro throughout the earth, His eyes have already gone ahead of us. Samuel would make the journey to Bethlehem—to the house of Jesse—in order to find the one whom the Lord had chosen and anointed as the next king of Israel. The Lord instructed Jeremiah to run to and fro throughout the streets of Jerusalem for one who executed judgment and sought the truth, yet he could not find one. I’m reminded of the words of the prophet Ezekiel as recorded in the twenty-second chapter of the prophetic book bearing his name—“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 22:30-31). DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART CAN SPARE A NATION? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE CONDITION OF YOUR HEART CAN SPARE A PEOPLE! The Lord is looking for something very specific in this generation and in these Last Days, and we must ask ourselves two question—will the Lord find it, and will the Lord find it within us. If the Lord can indeed find it within us, can we and will we go out and find it in others? Moreover, not only can we find it in others, but will we draw it and bring it out of others. Oh that we would draw out that which the Lord desires within the hearts of others in this generation and in these Last Days.