Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as [a]when they provoked Me,
As in the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me,
And saw My works for forty years.
“Therefore I was angry with this generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they did not know My ways’;
As I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.”
For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had a conversation with a friend about a struggle they were going through and afterward it seemed as if every person you came into contact with was dealing with the same issue? So often I preach a sermon and then the week after find myself challenged in the area I spoke about in the sermon, or find myself in conversation after conversation with people who are struggling with that very issue. Call it coincidence, but I believe the Lord brings things to light in His perfect time.
After last Sunday’s message, I found myself engaged in conversation after conversation with people discussing areas of their hearts that have become hardened over the years. Our hearts don’t have to be completely hardened to be rendered jaded; at times it’s just areas of our hearts that have been hardened to certain aspects of Christ’s work in our lives. I believe a hardened heart is the enemy’s greatest weapon in completely debilitating Christ’s Church. A hardened heart desensitizes a believer to the point where not only do they not hear the voice of the Lord, but they also stop feeling…they stop discerning…they stop caring…they stop serving…they stop fulfilling the great commission. When we started our relationship with Jesus, it began with a heart that was softened and moldable, a heart that was vulnerable and ready for change. Through tough circumstances in life, it is easy for our hearts to lose that sensitivity to the Holy Spirit if we do not continue to lay our hearts before Jesus every day and ask that “HIS KINGDOM COME, HIS WILL BE DONE”! Let Jesus have your heart, and by that I mean ask Him every day to guard your heart from becoming hard and desensitized.
I pray that all the situations you go through in life, whether in our eyes good or bad, would be used to fulfill God’s great and redemptive plan on this earth. I pray you would be the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. I pray you would be sensitive, vulnerable, caring, compassionate and gracious men and women of God. May JESUS be glorified in you and through you this week as you deal with your own hardened hearts and as you come into contact with those whose hearts have been hardened. May HIS grace abound in your lives.
// Chris Lauri