“If we harden our hearts toward the Lord we can’t hear him.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 6, 2021
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9: 9-10
I once read an article about a man who said he always knew that he and his wife were meant for one another but never realized how much until one day while reminiscing about their childhoods. They had been chatting for a few minutes about the old days when the man discovered that both he and his wife had visited the White House during their elementary school years and that both remembered having their photographs taken with the President.
No doubt this was a joyful surprise, but it was nothing compared to the delight they experienced when the man pulled out an old box of photos from his trip to Washington, D.C., to find the two of them standing shoulder to shoulder in the photo with the President. Wow! Two kids in the presence of true love—and they didn’t even know it at the time.
This story reminds me of how it can be when we go through hard times and our hearts become hardened toward the Lord. Even when we’re smack-dab in the presence of love, even when we’re standing right next to it, and even when it died on a cross, we still can’t see it.
It’s like a couple who have had considerable strife between them. They’ve been arguing for several months, and the tension has been building. The wife holds a grudge against her husband. Rather than choosing to forgive, a poor response to pain causes her to harden her heart so that every little thing he does is filtered through this hardness.
One night as he starts to rub her back before bed because he wants to her to feel loved and accepted, she becomes angry because she believes that he just wants to use her for sex and his own gratification. The next day when he sends her flowers, she thinks he’s trying to manipulate her, when nothing could be farther from the truth.
It can be the same way with God. Along comes a job loss, and rather than believing God wants to help us through it, we believe He’s punishing us. We develop a physical problem, and hardness of heart leads us to believe that God doesn’t care, when He loves us deeply.
Not only can hardness of heart cause us not to sense His love, it can also cause us to become deaf to His words. In Mark 8:18 Jesus asks the disciples, “Do you have . . . ears but fail to hear?”
The instruction and counsel of God can be spoken to us through the Bible, someone close to us, our circumstances, or the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, if we harden our hearts toward the Lord, we can’t hear Him from these sources because hardness of heart makes us deaf.
Hardness of heart also can cause us not to remember the works of Jesus. In this same passage, Jesus asks his disciples “Don’t you remember?” Hardness of heart can cause a kind of “spiritual amnesia.” We forget what God has done and our history with Him. But remembering God’s faithfulness is a powerful antidote for a broken, hardened heart.
When life is difficult, keeping a soft heart toward the Lord helps us sense His love, hear His voice, and remember how He has worked in our lives.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Lord, you are faithful, even when life doesn’t make sense. Help my heart to stay tender toward you. I need you in my life. Amen.
If you are angry with the Lord, confess your disappointment to Him and let Him minister to you.
Psalm 32:7-8; Isaiah 30:15; Psalm 34:17
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