The heart is mentioned in Scripture many times. The term “heart” is a very important word because Elohim is so deeply concerned about the inner man or the condition of the heart.
1Sa 16:7 But יהוה said to Shemu’ĕl, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him, for not as man sees, for man looks at the eyes, but יהוה looks at the heart.”
Jer 17:9 “The heart is crooked1 above all, and desperately sick – who shall know it? Footnote: 1See 7:24, 16:12, 18:12, 23:17. Jer 17:10 “I, יהוה, search the heart, I try the kidneys, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.
These passages teach us that Yahweh looks at and searches the heart, the inner person. Why is the heart so important? Because the issues of life—our actions, works, pursuits, etc.—all proceed from the heart Pro 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For out of it are the sources of life. ;Mat 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also. Mat 12:34 “Brood of adders! How are you able to speak what is good – being wicked? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Mat 15:18 “But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and these defile the man. What we do in word and deed is first of all a product of what we are on the inside.
In His Sermon on the Mount, the Messiah spoke strongly against the mere external, performance-oriented hypocrisy of the religious Pharisees. In Matt 5:17-48, no less than six times He contrasted the mere external approach to the Old Testament Scripture, as it was taught by the Pharisees, with His own teaching which, of course, was accorded with the true design of Elohim's Word. He did this by the following statements:
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 21-22)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 27-28)
“It was said … but I say to you …” (vss. 31-32)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 33-34)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 38-39)
“You have heard … but I say to you …” (vss. 43-44)
What was Messiah showing the people? He was calling their attention to the moral precepts they had been taught by their religious leaders for years, precepts which had their source in the Old Testament Scriptures. But then, with the words, “but I say to you,” He readdressed those same issues as, first and foremost, matters of the heart. This and only this is the true way to live out the instructions of the Father. A true walk for the believer is in an inward, intimate walk with Elohim by faith. Anything else is nothing more than religious hypocrisy. We then walk according to the instructions as a demonstration of our love for the Father.
As an example, Messiah teaches us that adultery and murder begin in the heart. You may not have literally committed adultery, but if you look at a woman or a man with that in view, you have already committed adultery. Where? In your heart! Mat 5:28 “But I say to you that everyone looking at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. . Our walk with God is always a matter of the heart. This is where the Jews became confused regarding the Father's instructions for His set - apart people. It was so much more than what was taking place on the outside.
However, as one of the consequences of the fall, people look on the outward appearance. Elohim, however, is always concerned with the heart, with the reality and condition of what is on the inside. Why? Because if the inside of the cup is clean, so will be the outside.