Mar6SatDo not harden your heart? March 6, 2021
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Psa. 95:7–10 ESVi)
•Do not harden your hearts! Words of caution. A strong admonishment from the Father. Do not harden your hearts. Do not do it! Why? It grieves God. Verse 10 in the Passion translation says, “So for forty long years I was grieved and disgusted by them. I described them as wicked wanderers whose hearts would not follow my ways or keep my words.” A hardened heart is of no use in Gods kingdom. Because it is hard ground it doesn’t accept seed, nothing can grow there. It’s cold to the things and ways of the Lord. It’s a heart that goes astray and does it’s own thing, and it sure isn’t sensitive to hear and obey Gods voice.
•How does a heart become hard?
•disobedience. A heart is hardened when it’s in the position of disobedience. It’s consistently choosing to not do as God and His word directs.
•unbelief. Israel saw the miracles, the provision, the protection of God, yet still didn’t believe God would come through for them. Unbelief hardens the heart to where it can no longer see. Unbelief was the reason many of them didn’t see the promised land and died in the wilderness.
•being ignorant of Gods ways. Verse 10 says, “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.’” The word know, in this verse is the Greek word dā’āh and it means to seek; or ask about. Israel did neither. They didn’t seek Gods ways or ask about them. Because they weren’t concerned about knowing His ways, their hearts were led astray. They were led away from His teachings and followed after the enemy. It all starts with the heart. When the heart goes astray, the lifestyle soon follows. Your heart is your “control room”.
Verse 8: Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness The word Meribah means : quarreling and strife. The word Massah: despair, testing, calamity. I was reading these definitions and thought, well, one thing is for sure, you’re definitely not going to hear Gods voice above the noise of quarreling and strife! Quarreling isn’t of the Lord, it causes separation, and yes, it hardens hearts. It doesn’t solve problems, it creates them. God loves unity and peace. Where did quarreling and strife lead the people of Israel? It lead them to test and try God because they weren’t confident in Him. They put Him to the proof time and time again, testing if He was genuine, despite having seen what He did. It led them to despair instead of hope. It eventually led many of them to defeat and death.
So, when you are in a wilderness season, or in a dry spell if you will, here’s some good advice:
•First, if you hear His voice, (and you do, since you are His sheep, John 10:3: my sheep hear my voice) listen and obey. Don’t waver. Don’t hesitate. If you do, too often you’ll talk yourself out of it.
•Second, don’t quarrel. Don’t cause strife by your words. A tongue on fire for the enemy is like a raging fire out of control, spreading destruction wherever it goes. If you have to speak, speak the truth in love. Avoid getting into vain and senseless arguments. It distracts from the real issue. Jesus is the message and if we can’t speak him, let us not speak at all. (Wow, I’m really speaking to myself, here!)
•Lastly, and most important, is getting to know God and His ways. Seek after His heart! What pleases Him? What does He like and dislike? What are His promises to you? Study His word to get to know His heart. You’ll find that as you’re in His presence, He blesses you with what you need for the day. His Word is life! And being in relationship with you is what Jesus gave his life for. If he thought it so essential, don’t you believe it’s important for us to find out why? Seek after Him, it’s the best pursuit you’ll ever make.
Remember this: verse 7: He is your God! You are the people of His pasture and you are under His care! Under His care! There is so much in that word care. It gives me good news goosebumps! It’s being under His protective mighty Hand. Under this umbrella is not only protection, but there is strength, power and direction. To be a sheep in the care of the Shepherd, means He has the authority and the power over all my enemy. His staff,( the word) leads and guides me. Where does He lead and guide? To green pastures and still waters. He leads to paths of righteousness. David says in psalm 23: I will fear no evil, for You are with me! That is the confidence and hope of one who is dwelling under the care of almighty God! There is no better care-giver in this world then the Good Shepherd. He is our God, we are His people, and we are under His protective care.