And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God…
It was "for good" that God sent the captive portion of his people "into the land of the Chaldeans" (ver. 5.) The germs of the better life of the future were preserved in them, and their very tribulations were the instruments of his gracious purpose and blessings in disguise. In the "evil figs" - the refuse left behind - there was nothing worth preserving (ver. 8). Of all the beneficent Divine purposes, this had in it the promise of highest good - "I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord."
I. A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD HAS ITS SEAT IN THE HEART. Intellect cannot solve the mystery of his being. Reason alone cannot even demonstrate his existence. "Who by searching can find out God?" "The world by wisdom knew not God." It is a matter of pure spiritual sensibility. Moral sympathy is the true key to this knowledge. Reverence, humility, love, trust, submission, affections of the heart, are its conditions. Even right ideas of God depend very materially on the state of the heart towards him. The exhalations of a vain, frivolous, corrupt, or carnal heart pervert the soul's vision and obscure his glory. Only as our hearts are purged from every form of earthly defilement can we behold him as he is. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
II. GOD HIMSELF CAN ALONE IMPART THIS KNOWLEDGE. "I will give them," etc. It is a matter of direct Divine revelation; a Divine science in which mere human teaching is of little avail. A secret, silent, gracious power above all natural influences can alone awaken in us those moral affections which lie at the root of it. A true knowledge, like a true Christian faith, must stand "not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." The blindness of the man of science to the deeper meaning of nature, and of the skeptical philosopher to the manifestation of God in Christ, and of the worldling to the Divine presence in his own life, does but indicate the lack of this power. God must unveil himself to us, by drawing our hearts into lowly and loving fellowship with himself, before we can truly know him. - W.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.