31 July 2008

Hard Heart – 11.30.07

Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. (Psalm 95:8-11)

The story of the children of Israel in the wilderness and the warning not to harden your heart is repeated over and over again in the Bible. The warning is three fold; because the Hebrews hardened their hearts…

  • God was grieved
  • They did not learn his ways
  • They could not enter into the rest God intended for them

The danger is that if we harden our hearts to God or His word in unbelief, we'll never be able to enter into the fullness of all the blessings He intends to give us. And never doubt for a moment that His only desire is to bless us. But He can't and He won't if we harden our hearts to His word.

Let's take another example; that of Pharaoh. The Bible says in Exodus 8:15; 8:32; 9:34; and 1 Samuel 6:6 that Pharaoh hardened his heart to the word of the Lord. He wouldn't let God's people go. Then in Exodus 9:12; 10:1; 11:10; and 14:8, the Bible says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. (Exodus 8:19; 9:7; and 9:35 mention Pharaoh's heart being hardened without reference to who was responsible for it.)

The lesson from Pharaoh is this: if you harden your heart to God's word, He might just return the favor. If you refuse what He gives you, He might just refuse to give you anything else ever again. If you defile your conscience, He'll allow your conscience to become seared.

Don't harden your heart. Receive God's word. No matter who delivers it. The Holy Spirit, the preacher, a friend, your parents, a book, whoever. Keep you heart open and soft. Don't allow yourself to miss out on the blessings God wants to give you.

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

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