by Julia Bruce
CEO, Author, and Conference Speaker

I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

If God were to look at your heart and take only the portion that you have given to Him… the part that is completely surrendered to Him… how much would he take?  Would you hand over 25% of your heart and say, “That’s enough God.” What about 50%? 75? Maybe 99.9%? Are you satisfied with just enough of God to gain your entrance into heaven?

A sign of two baskets

When God spoke to Jeremiah and told him about the sign of two baskets of figs, one basket had very good figs and the other basket had nothing by very bad figs that could not be eaten. God explains to Jeremiah that the good figs are like the remnant of Judah that had gone into captivity and God will return to their land. He told Jeremiah, “For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land.” Then God says, “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”

In the literal sense, there does not appear to be any special connection between the figs in the parable, and the conditions of the two classes of the Jews – the ones who chose to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar and live or the ones you stubbornly stayed in Jerusalem and died. Rather the connection appears to have a spiritual meaning.

Spiritual implications of the fig baskets

In the Bible, figs represent conduct of a person with good figs representing a person who obediently follows after the laws of God and a bad fig representing those who reject God’s way and live their own way and a life of sin and rebellion. In other words, the figs represent the state of the man’s will, or the heart. “A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, brings forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, brings forth evil things” (Luke 6:45). In the parable, the two baskets of figs represented the two opposite kinds of people: the good and the evil, when developed in character. It is said that the good figs were very good, like the figs that are first ripe.

When a nation turns their heart against God and plays the “Harlot”

The Israelites were God’s chosen people, but they had sold their hearts to idols and false gods. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, God says that the nation of Israel played the “harlot.” In other words, they cheated on God by worshiping carved wood and stone statues that they called gods and turned their backs on the one true God. They broke the covenant they had made with God back at Mt. Sinai after Moses had led them out of Israel.

For many generations, God sent prophet after prophet and warning after warning, but the people didn’t listen. Finally, God had enough and he sent the Babylonians and the Assyrians to conquer them, take them captive, and carry them out of the land God had given them. Those who did not surrender and go in to exile died in battle, from famine, or from disease – just as God told them through the prophets.

God wants our whole heart – not just a part of it

When we don’t give God our whole hearts, then we allow other things or people to creep in and we give them a higher place in our lives than God, making them our idol. God wants our whole heart…not just a part of it.  As such, He gives us a heart that seeks to know Him…not with a head-knowledge, but with an intimate, heart-knowledge.

Think for a moment to when you were dating the person to whom you are married. When the question of marriage was asked and she said yes it’s because you thought you knew each other and were in love. However, it doesn’t take too long of being married to know you still have lots to learn about each other. Marriage should then be a lifetime of learning heart-knowledge of the person you are married to. How do you gain that kind of knowledge? By spending time with that person, by studying them, by having meaningful conversations with them, by learning their expectations, by understanding what’s important to them.

Having a heart-knowledge of God

Likewise, having a heart-knowledge of God requires the same. God wants us to have that kind of knowledge about Him so much that He gives us a heart that is always seeking Him. We often try to fill that place in our lives up with other things, such as relationships with other people, alcohol, drugs, pornography, hobbies, etc. when what our heart really longs for is a closely knit, intimate relationship with God.

God wants us to know His heart

God wants us to know Him as a God that is gracious and merciful, a God that is slow to anger, a God that is eager to pardon our sins, a God abundant in goodness, a God that is the everlasting I Am and the unchangeable Jehovah. He want us to know that He is a God that keeps his promises. He is a God that is faithful, true, and wise. There is absolutely nothing that is impossible for Him to do, but He does all things for our good and through His omniscience. He is a God of everlasting and unconditional love. He comforts us, guides us, protects us.

Can you add to the list? In what intimate, personal ways have you experienced God in your life?

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