Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The Heart-Knowing God
05/08/2010 - Tur8infanOne of the unique characteristics of the LORD God is his ability to know the heart of man. Others may have some remarkable insights into human psychology. Nevertheless, God alone knows the heart. We see this taught in the Old Testament:
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
Proverbs 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
Jesus is shown to be God in this way, for Jesus knew the thoughts and heart of men.
Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.
Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?
One of the most poignant testimonies to Jesus' knowledge of the heart is seen in Jesus' admonishing to Simon Peter (notice that Jesus is still calling him "Simon, son of Jonas" after Matthew 16 ... the name Peter is a surname, not a change of name):
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?"Notice that Peter is attributing omniscience to Jesus, but particularly Peter is attributing to Jesus a knowledge of Peter's own heart. We see the same thing in the Apostles' prayer to Jesus about replacing Judas.
He saith unto him, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."
He saith unto him, "Feed my lambs." He saith to him again the second time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
He saith unto him, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."
He saith unto him, "Feed my sheep. " He saith unto him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, "Lovest thou me?" And he said unto him, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee."
Jesus saith unto him, "Feed my sheep."
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
In case there is any question that the "Lord" here is Jesus, consider the preceding verses:
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
And for the connection between Jesus being Lord and Jesus being the Lord God, consider the basis upon which the apostles prayed over the casting of lots.
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
Finally, perhaps we should conclude with a quotation from Jeremiah that brings us back to the point of the post:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
This too connects us back to Jesus:
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
There's an additional link back to the prophets here:
Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
Perhaps you'll say that the salvation who comes is Jesus, but this verse doesn't specifically say that the salvation is God. That argument has been anticipated:
Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
Even so, let us praise our God with the words of Psalmist:
The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. (Psalm 118:14)
UPDATE: An alert reader (Manu) brought to my attention a further evidence consistent with this theme:
Revelation 2:18 & 23
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; ... And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
That also relates back to Jeremiah 17:9-10.