A person’s innermost desires are oftentimes difficult to decipher. Yet, it’s no secret that God knows your heart, but what do we really mean when we say that? Let’s explore this very interesting topic.
What Does the Bible Say About God Knowing Your Heart?
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The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Yet throughout the centuries, human beings have continuously tried to design a god for themselves. Interestingly, none of the things we do come as a surprise to God who knows our hearts.
Over and over again, He shows us that we cannot hide from Him. The verses below offer just a glimpse into the miraculous fact that God knows the heart.
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2 ESV
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27 ESV
And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, Acts 15:8 ESV
Would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. Psalm 44:21 ESV
And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15 ESV
God Knows Your Heart Meaning
Usually, when someone says “God knows your heart” the speaker is thinking of one of these two verses:
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV
These passages of Scripture teach us that God looks at things a little differently than we do. People tend to look at the surface: how a person looks, acts, or dresses. We look at a person’s qualifications, accomplishments, or possessions and think we know their character.
But God sees a little deeper, okay, a lot deeper than men do. He sees our secret desires, dreams, thoughts, and intentions. He sees the things we don’t want our friends to know and the things we refuse to admit to ourselves.
God knows our hearts and thoughts
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful and that no one can know it. But God, through the prophet, goes on to say He understands the heart. Let’s spend a little time unpacking Jeremiah 17:9-10 to see if we can get a better understanding of this seemingly contradictory statement.
The word translated as the heart is the Hebrew word lêb, (pronounced labe). Lêb is also used figuratively to represent feelings, will, and even one’s intellect. The lêb, or heart is considered to be the center of anything.
Related: 4 Simple Ways to Guard Your Heart
The word translated as deceitful is the Hebrew word ʻâqôb, (pronounced aw-kobe’). It’s could also have been translated to mean fraudulent, crooked, or polluted.
If we think about that for a second, we’d see that it is the truth. The heart is often hard to figure out. Just think about those times when what you wanted was so hidden you couldn’t figure it out.
Or maybe you can remember a time when someone’s intentions towards you were so hidden it came as a complete surprise when they were finally revealed. We don’t know the heart, but God does.
Let’s look at the second verse that we’re unpacking.
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 19:10 NLT
The King James Version says, “I try the reins” which always gives me the impression of a horseman trying to control a very wild horse.
Interestingly, the word translated as “secret motives” or “reins” is the Hebrew kilyâh, (pronounced kil-yaw’). Kilyâh is used when referring to a kidney (as in the actual organ). It is also used figuratively to mean the mind as in the interior self.
But why kidneys?
I was curious to understand why the Bible would compare our inner motives to our kidneys, so I did a little research. The kidneys are our innermost organs and are located below the ribs on either side of the spine. This organ is surrounded by fat and is very hard to get to.
In fact, when the priests were dissecting the animals that were brought as offerings, the kidneys were the last organs uncovered.
Isn’t that just like our innermost thoughts and desires? They are hidden, sometimes dark, and often covered up with “stuff”. They can be pretty hard to visualize or understand.
But God knows the desires of your heart. Not only that, God knows our hearts better than we do.
God judges the intent of the heart
Sometimes, because we know that our desires are hidden from people (or because we have done such a great job of not acknowledging them to ourselves) we think no one can figure out our secret intentions.
The truth is that even if no one ever figured it out, God knows your heart. He knows the things you keep hidden, the things you hope no one ever finds out. Not only that, but He also judges the intent of your heart.
He understands your motivation and why you want what you want. He also knows what you would do if you got all that you wanted. Now that can be a scary thought, especially if you have some less than admirable desires and intentions.
But my friend, you don’t have to be scared because God knows your heart. You can ask Him to create new desires in you. God is capable of changing your heart. We can pray, as David did, for God to create a clean heart in us. We can ask Him to renew our spirits (Psalm 51:10).
Let’s do that now.
Father, You know our hearts. You know those secret things that we keep hidden from everyone and even those things we don’t want to admit to ourselves. Remove anything that is unlike You.
Restore Your image in us and give us the desires of Your heart. Create in us clean hearts and renew right spirits within us for we ask it in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
God knows your heart. As a Christian, that’s a reason to celebrate. He knows everything about you and still, He chose to send His Son to die for you.
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