What is our greatest threat? Is it Isis and the possibility that the images we’ve all seen of their inhumane treatment of people of other countries coming to the shores of our own land? Is our greatest threat the policies of our own government that are continuing to foster a more pagan, immoral culture in our society? Or could it be a growing racial tension among the people groups that make up our nation? I’m sure each of you have your own idea of what poses the greatest threat to our nation, but I doubt that any of you would list what I’m about to share with you. The greatest threat doesn’t come from outside forces, but from within. God shared this great threat through the prophet Jeremiah when He said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)
At the root of all of society’s ills is this self-deception spoken of by God in Jeremiah 17:9. Our “hearts” convince us that we know better than God. Our “hearts” convince us that we know what is best. Our “hearts” convince us of all kinds of things that sound good, that sound prudent, that sounds beneficial, enjoyable, and right. Yet, God tells us that our “hearts” are deceitful, they will lead us astray and away from God’s best for us.
Our day is not unlike the days of the Judges. Four times in the book of Judges we read that “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) Yet, over and over again in the book of Judges, we read, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (Judges 2:11; 3:7, 12; 6:1; 13:1) What was it about the Israelites that led them into sin? Well, it wasn’t their eyes, it was their hearts. They forgot to set their hearts on God and make His will preeminent above all things. We must guard our hearts and the only way we can guard it is to root it in the Word of God, water it with the Word of God, and allow the Spirit of God use the Word of God to prune it at every turn.