“Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Heb. 4:7

 

Have you ever met anyone that was hard-hearted? Was there ever a time in your life that you can say that you were hard hearted? Could anyone look at your life today and say you are that now? You may ask, what exactly do you mean by that? Well, firstly, the effect of the hardened heart is par-evident all around us in society today. We can see our unsaved friends, family and those we witness to in the street rejecting Jesus more and more. We can see churches falling for the world at alarming rates for this very reason. Far too many brothers and sisters in the Lord refuse to be obedient to the Bible by refusing to join themselves to a local church for the purpose of serving and faithful attendance. Christians are personally failing to be diligent in searching the scriptures daily and hence, failing to trust God in His Word in attending unto sound doctrine. A massive majority of Christians today are weak and tepid much like the church of Laodicea, one of the seven churches that are represented in these end times. They could be described as lukewarm; fence sitters that are not in the game, as it were. They are increasingly worthless for the cause of Christ and worthy to be spewed out of God’s mouth. I know this sounds unkind but, these are not my words! These are God’s words as found in his scripture in the book of Revelation. My dear friends, pray, let it not be once said of us as believers. These are the basics, folks! Anyone failing to be obedient to God through His Word will lead to a hardened heart.

I know these are examples of cause and effect and that we did not really define what we mean by being, “hard-hearted”. So, to better understand, we need to look at what God’s Word says about the hard hearted in history by looking for the first occurrence as found in the scriptures. How does God himself define this and what should we do to avoid getting a hard heart?

 

Pharaoh & the Egyptians

To see how the God defines the hard heart we must begin by studying the history in scripture. Herein, we locate the first occurrence of it in the Bible through an Egyptian King. This was the Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world of that day: Amenophis; father of Sethosis or Ramesses; son of Ramesses Miamun; who only reigned for 20 years from 1511 to 1491 B.C., according to Ussher’s famous book, “Annals of the World”. The sun rose and fell at this man’s command, or so the Egyptian people believed. He was, for all their intents and purposes, “God Almighty”, alongside with Ra, or Horus, their sun god. Most likely, you all know the story of Moses and the ten plagues, a most amazing account of the power of the True God who proved He was the great I AM, The Almighty God over all of Egypt’s’ little gods whom He set at naught. This account of hard-heartedness is first found in Exodus 4:21; then, 7:3; :13; :14; :22; 8:15; :19; :32; 9:7; 9:12; :34; :35; 10:1; :20; :27; 11:10; 14:4; :8; :17. Interestingly, in these verses you will find Pharaoh hardening his heart after each of the plagues was wrought at Moses’ request to God. You can read about these ten little gods in one of Jack Chick’s comic tracts available here at Christ The Way Bookstore entitled,It’s The Law“: (click on title for Chick tracts page)

Hapi – the Nile River God; the river was turned to blood.
Heqt – the frog goddess; Egypt was covered with frogs.
Seb – the earth god; lice and flies covered Egypt and its’ people.
Hathor – the mother goddess that had the head of a cow; all cattle were killed.
Imhotep – god of medicine; boils.
Nut – goddess of the sky; hail and locusts from the sky.
Horus – the sun god; darkness
Amun-Re – god of the first born; the final plague killed all the first born in Egypt, including the Pharaoh’s own son.

It is clear that Pharaoh did not believe in the God of the Israelites. In his hardened state He mocked God by asking Moses, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?” He tried to upstage Moses with his sorcerers before the Egyptian court and punished the Israelites by increasing their burdens, but God prevailed for Moses and showed His great signs and wonders even in the midst of His unequalled mercy to the Pharaoh. So, the effect of Pharaoh’s cause of unbelief was his not listening, or, hearkening, as the Bible calls it.

“And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” Exodus 7:3-4

The evidence of a hardened heart is not listening. When you stop listening in obedience to God, His Bible, or those in scriptural authority to you, you stop growing and moving forward and you begin to backslide. You start to move in different directions of your own choosing. You stop up your ears, because, in your heart you do not believe God’s will is best for your life. Do we not strive against God and His will by casting our own rod to the ground before Him? Then, are we not just as guilty Pharaoh’s sorcerers who did the same? Do we not thereby state, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice”? Are you not sinning more and more having a hardened heart while living with unrepentant sin? After God gave Pharaoh so many chances, see what the verse says about him in verse at Exodus 9:34, “…he yet sinned more, and hardened his heart,…”. Has God ever given you ten chances to come clean and repent from a stubbornly held sin; or perhaps, ten times ten chances?

 

The Hard Heart Defined

So far we have a good example of the final consequences for having hardened hearts in Pharaoh and the Egyptians: the destruction of Egypt, the death of the king, his first-born successor and those chosen to protect him. In other words, it cost him everything; a very high price to seek your own way. Now let us look for some definitions of hard-heartedness from God’s Word.

The Bible is an amazing book! If you trust God at His Word, you will find you do not even need a dictionary; the Bible has a dictionary built right in! So, let us use the following verses to help us define God’s intended meaning. Firstly, Jesus’ own disciples had hard hearts because they did not consider the miracles that they had personally witnessed.

“For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” Mark 6:52

Also, later, after Jesus had risen from the dead, Jesus rebuked them for their disbelief of the witness of the brethren.

“Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.” Mark 16:14

Naturally, the unbelievers of the day did not believe;

“But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” Acts 19:9

And, even until today, contrary to God’s perfect will many Christians exercise the fleshly desires of their hearts to divorce from their spouses.

“He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” Matt 19:8

As well, synonyms for hard-heartedness found in God’s Word could even be likened unto worship of the devil! Words like, rebelliousness and stubbornness, or, witchcraft and idolatry.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” I Sam. 15:23a

We see from the study of the scriptures how God defines the hard heart; the disciples were hard-hearted because they did not believe and were rebuked by God; the multitudes were hard hearted because they believed not. Clearly, hard-heartedness is that stubborn unbelief which leads to sin, even the sin of witchcraft; proof that sin will certainly take you farther than you ever intended to go.

 

Unbelief

The scriptures are clear. It is the lack of belief that separates the sheep from the goats, the believers from the unbelievers.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16

So, unbelievers in Jesus’ blood atonement shall be damned, (by the way, it does not say that those who are not baptized are damned, only the unbelievers are damned; consider also the thief on cross who was never baptized). Also, God cannot bless you the way He desires to if you do not believe;

“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Matt.13:58

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

And what happens when you have this evil heart? You will backslide and go your own separate way:

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Heb. 3:12

“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Heb. 4:11

 

Do not turn Him away!

“Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?” 1 Sam. 6:6

Finally, after a study of God’s Word, we now know what the Bible tells us about having a hard heart. Pharaoh, through his deafness to God’s commands fell through pride and unbelief, which cost him everything. Also, the disciples did not consider God’s wondrous miracles or listen to God’s people who were sent to tell them the truth, which lead to God’s chastisement. Can we say we are guilty of having a hard heart in any matter? Do we have that evil heart of unbelief? How many chances has God given us to repent from some sin? How many chances has He given us to forgive? How many more chances does He need to give us? You know, the Bible teaches that God will not always strive with man. So, is it not time to take inventory in our lives? Let us unstop our ears and begin to listen again. Let us all turn back to His Word and commence a healthy relationship through prayer and faithful attendance to His house of prayer with likeminded believers. Has God been trying to tell you something? Turn not your heart away from Him. He is willing to forgive you from all unrighteousness if we but turn from our hard hearts! ~R.

“Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Heb. 4:7

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