DON’T HARDEN YOUR HEART

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

AUGUST 06, 2023

TOPIC: DON’T HARDEN YOUR HEART

BY T. O. BANSO

“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:15 New King James Version)

In the Old and New Testaments, the Bible talks about hardened hearts. A hardened heart is a stubborn heart. The first mention of a hardened heart was about Pharaoh who would not allow the Israelites to leave Egypt as God had commanded them. Pharaoh was a wicked king. From Exodus 7-9, the Bible records about nine times that Pharaoh hardened his heart, God hardened his heart, and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

The LORD had foreknowledge that Pharaoh would harden his heart and would refuse to allow the Israelites to go. Therefore, He decided to harden his heart further and use his stubbornness for His glory – to demonstrate His power so that His name might be proclaimed in all the earth (Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:17).

The LORD told Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21 New King James Version).

Just as the LORD had said, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Exodus 7:13-14 says, Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had said. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go’” (New American Standard Bible). The Bible also says in Exodus 8:15, 32, and 9:34 that Pharaoh hardened his heart. He refused to let the Israelites go as God has commanded them. Continual disobedience to the Word of God will make someone’s heart hardened.

Exodus 9:12 says the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed Moses and Aaron, just as He had spoken to Moses. Also, in Exodus 10:1, the LORD told Moses to go to Pharaoh, for He had hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants. Other verses also record that the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10:20, 27, 11:10; 14:8). 

Pharaoh’s heart was not hardened because the LORD hardened his heart. Rather, because he hardened his heart, the LORD hardened his heart further. God only strengthened Pharaoh’s heart to do what he was bent on doing: not allowing the Israelites to go. He continually rejected God’s warnings. Consequently, the LORD inflicted the land with ten plagues, the last one being the death of all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast. After the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, Pharaoh changed his mind and wanted to bring them back.

The LORD hardened the hearts of the Egyptians, and He allowed them to pursue the Israelites so that He would gain honour over Pharaoh and all his army, chariots, and horsemen (Exodus 14:17, 23). Eventually, the chariots, horsemen, and the army of Pharaoh perished in the Red Sea as they pursued the Israelites (Exodus 14:28). 

Don’t harden your heart. Destruction may be the consequence, as it happened to the Egyptians. Man is a free moral agent. If anyone hardens his heart after God has spoken in His Word, by the Holy Spirit, through His servants and other means, God will allow such a heart to be hardened. He will harden a hardened heart.

Holman Concise Bible Dictionary defines hardness of heart as “A stubborn attitude that leads a person to reject God’s will.” When God tells you to do something, do it. If He warns you, respond quickly before it is too late. Don’t procrastinate or postpone obedience.

Hebrews 3:15 says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (New King James Version). The Greek word translated hardened is qashah. It means “to be hard, to be severe, to be fierce, to be harsh” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon).

This scripture is a quotation from the book of Psalms.Today, if you will hear His voice: ‘Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest’” (Psalm 95:7b-11 New King James Version).

God was speaking about the Israelites in this scripture regarding how they provoked Him in the wilderness by their unbelief and murmuring against Moses because of lack of water. This showed their faith in God considering all the miracles he had done for them in the past. This happened twice in the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness. Moses struck the rock with his rod and water came out for the people to satisfy their thirst (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13). The place is also called Massah, which means testing. It is also called Meribah, which means rebellion, strife, or contention.

Exodus 17:6-7 says, “And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?’” (New King James Version).

Take note of what God says in Psalm 95, which I cited earlier, as He warned against the hardness of the heart. “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest’’’ (Psalm 95:11 New King James Version). If you want to enter God’s rest or His place of rest, don’t harden your heart. If you’ve been hardening your heart, stop it. Don’t be stubborn or rebellious. It is a dangerous thing to harden your heart against the Lord.

Proverbs 28:14 says, “Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (New King James Version). The children of Israel hardened their hearts; they rebelled against God. Eventually, their enemies conquered them and took them into exile. They suffered the consequences for hardening their hearts (Jeremiah 9:13-16; 11:7-8; 16:10-12).

Sinners who harden their hearts against the Word of God will not escape His wrath. Their enjoyment is only temporary It is self-delusion to think that there would be no consequences for continually ignoring or disobeying God. No unrepentant sinner will escape the punishment of God.

Romans 2:4-6 says, “Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?  But no, you won’t listen. So you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself because of your stubbornness in refusing to turn from your sin. For there is going to come a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, will judge all people according to what they have done” (New Living Translation).

Don’t harden your heart. Respond to the Word of God; respond to the Holy Spirit; respond to godly counsel or correction.  “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13 New King James Version). Don’t let your heart be hardened by the deceit of sin.

When one’s heart is hardened, one can’t understand what God is saying. Mark 6:52 says the disciples of Jesus didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the multiplied loaves He performed, the feeding of the 5,000 men, because their hearts were hardened.

In Mark 8:15-16, when Jesus said they should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod, they misunderstood Him, reasoning among themselves and saying it was because they had no bread. “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, ‘Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up? They said to Him, ‘Twelve.’” (Mark 8:17-19 New King James Version). The hearts of His disciples were hardened.

Their conversation continued: “‘Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?’ And they said, ‘Seven.’ So  He said to them, ‘How is it you do not understand?’” (Mark 8:20-21 New King James Version).  

Jesus also referred to the hardened heart of his listeners when He answered His disciples’ question on why He always spoke in parables. He said, Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them’” (Matthew 13:13-15 New King James Version).

If you have hardened your heart, repent and receive a new heart. The LORD told the Israelites, “‘Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 18:30-31 New King James Version).

Earlier in Ezekiel 11:19-21, the LORD said, “‘Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,’ says the Lord God” (New King James Version).

The LORD also said in Ezekiel 36:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (New King James Version).

If you’re born again, you have received a new heart. The new birth gives you a new heart. Old things are passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are born again but you must be transformed by the renewing of your mind; then, you will be able to know the will of God what is good, pleasing to Him, and perfect (Romans 12:2).

You should not have a defiant and rebellious heart (Jeremiah 5:23). Because God loves you, love Him also (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19). If you love Him, obey His commandments (John 14:15). “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 New King James Version). Obedience is the fruit of love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30).

Don’t harden your heart. Repeated rejection of the Word of God will lead to the hardening of your heart. In other words, your conscience will become seared, dead, or lose all feeling. If you harden your heart, God may allow you to have your way (Mark 10:4-6; Matthew 19:7-8). Don’t harden your heart.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of hardening my heart against You. Father, forgive me. I will no longer harden my heart against the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and godly counsel. Holy Spirit, convict all sinners who have hardened their hearts and are living in rebellion against God so that they will surrender their lives to Jesus.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org