Harden Not Your Hearts

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Hebrews 3:7-11 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

I want to talk today about hardening of the heart. I’m not talking about

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a hardening of the physical heart. We have had people in our Church afflicted with congestive heart failure. I myself take statins to keep my cholesterol levels down and so protect my physical heart. When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries (this is called atherosclerosis), which hurts that muscle in your chest that they call “the heart”. The “heart” I’m talking about today is not the pump in your chest that causes your blood to flow, but the spiritual center of your soul.

The Bible Considers The Spiritual Heart To Be The Driving Force Of Our Lives With God

What is in the heart, the spiritual heart, determines what type of person you are. Solomon said:

Proverbs 23:7 for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

God looks at the heart of a person to determine whether they are His, or whether they are lost. God told Samuel when He rejected Saul as King of Israel:

1 Samuel 16:7 … Look not on {Saul’s face}, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

When God chose David to be King over Israel, the Scripture says “the LORD sought a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine Own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (Acts 13:22). God has a heart, a spiritual heart, and He looks at our spiritual hearts.

The Bible tells us that the source of all sinfulness is the wayward heart. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote:

Proverbs 14:10 … the heart knoweth his own bitterness …

BITTERNESS comes from the heart, as does PRIDE:

Proverbs 21:4 An high look, and a PROUD HEART … is Sin

WORRY and SORROW come from the restless heart:

Ecclesiastes 2:23 For all his days are SORROWS, and his travail GRIEF, yea, his HEART taketh not rest in the night …

REBELLION against God comes from the heart:

Jeremiah 5:23 … But this people hath a REVOLTING and a REBELLIOUS HEART …

Our Lord Jesus told us that what defiles people is what comes out of the mouth:

Matthew 15:18-20 … those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

The Spiritual Heart of a person is very important. A person without Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will have a lost heart, filled with sin. But praise God, Jesus came to save sinners. The Bible says:

Romans 10:9-10 that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

It is the HEART that must repent and believe on Christ. The HEART must be surrendered to God for salvation to occur. What are the two greatest commandments? Jesus said:

Matthew 22:37-40 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We are to love God with ALL OUR HEART. Our hearts are to be devoted to Him. When God has ALL of our HEART, and ALL of our SOULS (the life essence of humanity), and ALL our MINDS (our intellect), then we are where He wants us to be. When we love God with our ALL, then we will love the others around us as we want to be loved.

A person who treats those around him like furniture has a heart problem.

Illustrate I hate to text! I do, if I must, but I hate to text. Just yesterday someone texted my little flip phone, “This is Susan”. I texted back, “Who R U?” The text returned, “Don’t you know Susan?” My reply was, “If you don’t tell me who u r, I will block your number”. The message that returned stunned me. “I’m Susan’s husband, and I found your name and number in HER phone.” I still don’t know who this is, so I texted again, “Who R U?” He started texting more gibberish, and so I blocked his number. When I got home I told Sherry my wife about it, and she said “Don’t you remember you helped someone named “Susan” with groceries and gas money?” Well, then I remembered. Listen, I help a lot of people, and I can’t remember everyone who comes by needing help. But I digress. My question is this: WHY wasn’t this man asking his WIFE about my name and number? And WHY is he snooping in his wife’s phone? He obviously has a HEART problem, as well as a marital problem. If he loved and trusted his wife with his heart, he wouldn’t be snooping and irritating me with needless texts!

The heart needs to be given to Jesus.
The heart needs to be focused on serving the Father.
The heart needs to heed God’s Word, to be conformed to God’s heart.

God said “Let thine heart retain MY WORDS: keep MY COMMANDMENTS, and live!” (Proverbs 4:4). The Psalmist said:

Psalm 28:6-7 Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

When the heart trusts in God and His Word, there is joy in the heart. When the heart is focused Christ-ward,
there are songs on our lips!

The Heart Can Be Hardened To God

What you pursue is what you will become. You become a Christian by surrendering your heart to Jesus. You grow as a Christian by reading and studying God’s Word, by feeding your heart the Scripture. God said “Let thine heart retain My Words” (Proverbs 4:4). Jesus prayed for His Church.

John 17:5-6, 8, 14 … O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. … 8 .. I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. … 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. … 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

When the Word of God is heard and received into the heart by faith, then the heart drives the hand of the believer to do what God has said do. The healthy heart is open to God’s Word and His guidance.

The hardened heart rejects the Word and
the leadership of God.

Hebrews 3:7-8 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness …

The Holy Spirit saith. This is a word and a warning from God, and a quotation from

Psalm 95:7-8 … For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

What caused the hardening of the hearts of Israel? There were several things.

  • To day if ye will hear his voice”. They hardened their hearts because they would not listen to what God was saying. God was talking, but no one was paying attention. God showed them grace, but no one was looking.

Israel’s FIRST failure was at Marah:

Exodus 15:23-25 … when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,

The people complained instead of going to God in prayer. They grumbled, and murmured. God showed Moses a tree to drop in the bitter waters, and they became sweet. After this God told Israel:

Exodus 15:26 … If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

God told Israel, “Do what I tell you to do. Hear what I command you to do. I am the YAHWEH Who will heal you – UNLESS”. God is to be honored by His people. We are to trust Him, and trust that He knows what is best for us.

Israel’s SECOND failure was at Rephidim:

Exodus 17:1-2 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?

When Israel got to Rephidim there was no water there. Rather than pray, and seek God’s face, they murmured at Moses. Now Moses was God’s spokesman. As soon as they murmured (complained), Moses warned them: “Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?”. Moses has no power to give Israel water – Moses is not God. They need to be seeking God in prayer. God took Israel through the Red Sea – surely He can provide water.

When Moses asks “why do you TEMPT Yahweh?”, the word “TEMPT” is the Hebrew נָסָה nâçâh, (pronounced naw-saw), meaning “to put God to the test, to provoke Him”. The warning should have sufficed. But Israel ignored the great miracle at the Red Sea, and ignored the pillar of cloud that guided them by day and the pillar of fire that guided them by night. Israel ignored the lessons learned at Marah. They allowed their thirst and their opinions to drive their demand.

Moses went to the Lord in prayer, and the Lord told him:

Exodus 17:5-7 … Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah (means temptation), and Meribah (means strife), because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?

God had the elders – the leaders – stand up front while Moses struck the rock. The Bible tells us “that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). Israel saw Moses pray. They saw God’s provision. They were to watch and learn from this, to draw this lesson into their hearts. Yet they would not learn.

Hebrews 3:10-11 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Israel refused to cross over the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land. They sinned repeatedly against God, but never really repented. God told the first generation of Israel that:

Deuteronomy 1:35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers

God did not punish all of Israel. He allowed Joshua and Caleb to enter the land 40 years later. God also said:

Deuteronomy 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

Unconfessed and unrepented of sin causes the heart to harden, so much so that God cannot bless you. Taking advantage of the grace of God can also harden your heart. God punishes the hardened heart!

How Do I Avoid The Hardened Heart?

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

How do I avoid a hardened heart? First of all, I need to examine myself daily. Take heed, brethren. Look at my own life. Examine myself. Am I living in the Kingdom of God. Is God my Father. Am I a brethren? Many Christians are like Pharisees, comfortable with their status in life, and always looking for fault in others. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote {speck of dust} that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam {the 2×4} that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote {speck of dust} out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam {the 2×4} is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam {the 2×4} out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote {speck of dust} out of thy brother’s eye.

Jesus is NOT saying that we are not to tell others that they are in sin when they indeed in sin. No, for later in our text we will see that we are to:

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

The word exhort is the Greek παρακαλέω parakaléō, (pronounced par-ak-al-eh’-o), which means “to call to the side so as to encourage, admonish, console, or beseech, to teach”. In the Church we are to encourage one another to put away sin. However, we are not to be like the Pharisees, who judged everyone else, but never themselves. The Bible tells us:

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Examine yourself daily. Ask the hard questions. “Am I in the faith? Is God the Father in my life? Is my daily goal to exalt Jesus, and to honor my Father? Am I devoting enough time daily to read and heed God’s Word?”

There is no such thing as a part time Christian. You are either dedicated to God and His Kingdom, or you are not. The Scripture says:

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end

Those who continue to look to God daily, trusting in Him, are those who are partnered with Christ. God will not bless a part time, spare tire sort of faith. As God wrote to the Churches in the Book of Revelation, one word stands out. See if you can find it:

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (see also Revelation 3:5; 3:12; 3:21; 21:7)

Do you see a pattern here? What does it mean “he that overcometh”? It refers to the person genuinely saved by God. The Apostle John said it clearly:

1 John 5:4-5 For {whosoever} is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior look to Him one day at a time, one step at a time. We live as Christ’s Kingdom people. We live by faith in Him. We are to look unto Jesus. We who are saved are of the House of Christ. The faith that saves is the faith that endures. I’ll end with these words:

Hebrews 3:6 but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

My hope is built on nothing less,
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

May God the Holy Spirit fasten His Word into your hearts this very day. God bless you all. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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