The Danger of Hardening your Heart

The danger the title speaks of is the greatest danger that anyone is open to. It is not a danger from any person, or power outside of yourself, but a danger from within you: the danger of hardening your heart against the voice of God. The title comes from Psalm 95: 7-8, and is repeated in the New Testament in Hebrews 3: 15. The background is called the ‘rebellion’, or the ‘provocation’, referring to a time when the Israelites hardened their hearts against God in spite of the fact that He had miraculously delivered them from slavery in Egypt. The results for that whole generation were catastrophic. With the exception of two people, none of them entered into the Promised Land.

This sad situation is held up in the bible as a warning to us, not to harden our hearts against the voice of God: “Today, it you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”, Hebrews 3:15. What does it actually mean to harden our hearts against the voice of God? It sounds like something which only a really hard-hearted person would do. But this is not necessarily so. This is something the loveliest of people often do. They would not dream of rebuffing or ignoring a gracious ¬†invitation to come to a wedding, or something of that nature, which had involved much planning, great cost and sacrifice. Indeed they would gladly accept the invitation, even if it interfered with plans that they had already made. Yet these same people may ignore and put aside God’s invitation to come to the greatest feast that anyone had ever prepared, the feast of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This was the costliest feast that was ever prepared in the history of this world. God gave His Son to this world in order to suffer and die in the place of sinful human beings, and so save them from the eternal destruction which they deserved. Not only so, but to give them a guaranteed eternal inheritance with Christ in heaven, where there is “fullness of joy, and pleasures forever more” (Psalm 16: 11). The invitation is to all human beings without exception to come freely and willingly to this great feast.

Your response may be, I have no intention of refusing this great invitation, indeed I have every intention to respond some day, or even soon. Please listen to me, my very dear friend, that is actually hardening your heart to the voice of God. The invitation is, “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart”. That implies that today you are hardening your heart, if you put it off even for one other day. Perhaps you may say to yourself, I would like to accept God’s invitation, but this is not a good time for me, tomorrow will be better. That is Satan’s evil plan to bring you to destruction. He never says to someone who is weighing up God’s invitation, ‘Forget it’. He will always say, ‘There is plenty of time”, and if you take His advice today, he has you where he wants: on the slippery slope of ‘another day’, when God says, ‘today’. “Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is ¬†the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

(I will be on holiday for two weeks, but I hope to leave some ‘Holiday Notes’, while I am away.)

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