The Danger of a Hard Heart - Charles Stanley Daily Devotional (June-24-2020). A hardened heart can slowly but surely draw us away from the Lord.
Hebrews 3:7-19 ( 7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, 8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, 9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. 10 THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, `THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS'; 11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, `THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'" 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 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. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME." 16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. )
When we go to church and hear God’s truth, we’re responsible for how we respond to His instructions and convictions. It’s easy to accept and practice things we find effortless or enjoyable, but if the Lord convicts us about a truth we don’t like, we could be tempted to rationalize our disobedience. Perhaps we decide that a certain command doesn’t really apply to us or that God understands there are good reasons why we can’t comply.
All excuses are displeasing to the Lord. A willful refusal to obey His Word has a hardening effect on the heart and, over time, can make us less receptive to the stinging conviction of the Holy Spirit. This may seem to make life more pleasant in the short term, since we don’t feel as guilty. But the end results are painful.
The next time you’re tempted to ignore a divine commandment, remember the cost of Israel’s hard-hearted disobedience. Instead of trusting God, they refused to enter the Promised Land. As a result, they missed settling in their own homeland and instead wandered in the desert for 40 years until that generation died. Let’s learn from the Israelites’ mistakes and pray for softened hearts that are open to the Lord’s voice.