“A true heart” – we took that phrase from our reading of Hebrews 10 with a question in our mind. There are many passages in Scripture which emphasise the deceitfulness of the human heart, such as Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:21,22 but who has a “true heart”?

We finished reading Jonah today and it illustrated the lack of mercy in his heart and how God tried to get him to see the situation from the divine perspective. Let us remember the teaching of Jesus on this: read Matthew 5:44-48. History shows that Nineveh’s repentance did not last into the following generations, but that is not the point. When printing was first invented the Bible became the first book available for all to read, and it was read eagerly in the 17th Century, but that spirit did not last.

In Hebrews 10 we see how the writer (Paul?) uses two quotations from Jeremiah to illustrate the mercy of God: “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (from Jeremiah 31:34). It is essential we have the right reaction in our hearts to the mercies of God. We then read, “Therefore … since we have a great High Priest (Jesus) … let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith …” (verses 19,21,22). Our hearts must now be true and constantly feeding on God’s word. We must develop a real relationship with our High Priest. As we absorb the divine word into our minds that sense of truth will grow, as will our relationship with God. This will lead us to “consider how to stir one another to love and good works” (verse 24). May our daily diligent reading of God’s word help in stirring our hearts and minds to remain true. As a result we will be busy “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (verse 25).

The chapter ends with a quotation from Habakkuk; God told him “my righteous one(s) shall live by faith, (but) if he (or she) shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him (or her)”.

May we all be among “those who have faith and preserve their souls” (the words which end the chapter). Tomorrow’s chapter has a challenging start, a description of real faith as “the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen”. Those who develop a “true heart” will also develop that true conviction.