Ponders our heart Prov 21:2 – Ponder is to view with deliberation. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” A man looks at his way and says, “I’m doing the right thing.” Yet the Lord doesn’t look at what he’s doing but why he’s doing it. He ponders the heart. Maybe you’re doing a good thing unto man but not unto God [Gal 1:10; Eph 6:5-8]. Maybe you’re doing a good thing for your own personal recognition [2 Cor 4:5]. On the other hand, maybe, as in David’s case, your “every way” isn’t right. Yet, like David, if you’re a man after God’s heart, others can criticize some of the things you do; but God won’t criticize your heart.
Paul going to Jerusalem against the counsel of the Holy Spirit wasn’t a good way to go. But the Lord knew his heart and still blessed his move. In Acts 21:4, 10-14 Paul was warned not to go to Jerusalem. In Rom 9:1-5, 10:1 Paul’s heart’s desire was for Israel to be saved. In Acts 23:11 God blessed his way despite his disobedinece. It was in prison that Paul wrote some of his epistles: Eph, Phil, Col, Phile and he references his bonds in Heb 10:34. Paul said in Phil 1:12-14, “the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” In Phile 10 Onesimus got saved. In Phil 4:22 some “of Caesar’s household” were saved.
Tries our heart Prov 17:3 – the fining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold. Thus, this trying could be very intense. It’s not just a little test. Ps 26:2 try is to prove by a test, like a school exam, or like testing a product. David said try my reins and my heart… In Jer 12:2-3 Jeremiah said, “thou hast seen me and tried mine heart toward thee.” He did what God said to do; and he knew that he had passed the test. Of his adversaries he said, “thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.” 2 Chr 32:31 Hezekiah, “God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.” God proved Hezekiah by a test. Hezekiah failed the test.
Searches our heart Jer 17:9-10. The Lord searches the heart because he knows it is deceitful and desperately wicked. Search is to look through for the purpose of finding something, to find by seeking, to seek till found. In Ps 139:23-24 David asks the Lord to “see if there be any wicked way in me.” David wanted the Lord to keep looking until he found it, so that the Lord could lead David in the way everlasting. In 1 Chr 28:9 David told Solomon to serve God with a perfect heart because “the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.” That is, if Solomon’s heart wasn’t perfect, he wanted God to search it and find out the imperfection. When he searches the heart, God is looking for something bad so he can get it out of there and correct it. The worst thing you can do is deny it and cover it up.
Discerns our heart Heb 4:12-13. The word is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” We are “naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Discern is to discover, to have knowledge of. The Lord “reads us like a book.” When you read the Bible, the Lord discerns your heart and shows it to you. We need to see ourselves the way God sees us. And we must accept that what he sees is the real condition of our heart.
In Lk 6:6-11 Jesus knew that the scribes and Pharisees were looking for an accusation against him when he healed the man with the withered hand. In Matt 9:1-4 Jesus knew that, in their hearts, certain of the scribes were accusing him of blasphemy. In Matt 22:15-22, Jesus perceived the wickedness of the Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees when they asked about giving tribute to Caesar.
Jesus knows what’s going on in your heart all the time. He knows what’s in your heart right now. And he knows whether what’s in your heart lines up with him or against him, no matter what you say or want others to believe about it. And he’s the one “with whom we have to do.”
Conclusion: what’s in your heart right now? The whole time I’ve been preaching, the Lord has been exposing your heart to the truth of his words. The Lord is dealing with you right now about something in your heart that he wants you to admit and change. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to deny it like the Pharisees. In Jn 7:19-20, Jesus asked the Jews, “Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” Or are you going to admit it and deal with it? You know he’s right. If you’re not saved, you must be born again. If you’re not right, you must get right with God.