As I began to read the book of Exodus this week, the Lord began to unfold to me characteristics of “The Hardened Heart” and how when one has one, it can grow increasingly hard, and is indeed Identifiable. I’ll show you the hardening heart’s progression in these verses from Exodus that are in progression as well.
I am speaking of a person’s heart, their real inner self, and how their heart responds to God, when His Words and His Will are revealed.
The Number One characteristic of a hardened heart is that it WILL NOT LISTEN TO GOD. Indeed something IS going into the ear or heart, is heard, and its meaning acknowledged, but a hardened heart will not heed what is heard or respond to God in heart-felt obedience. A person with a hardened heart may temporarily respond, for RELIEF, but then will continue back into their own way. God will continue to speak, that He may be heard, until the hardened heart is stone cold.
None of us is exempt from the possibility of a hardening heart. Therefore try recognize yourself as well as others around about you in these identifiers. These are the last days and many will have hardened hearts. It is good, therefore, for all of us to be able to recognize what a hard heart will be like in those around around us, and know the identifiers so we can avoid a hard heart ourselves. In this case, preventative maintenance is indeed better than damage control.
You may desire to print this and follow along in your Bible, as a personal bible study, and I will bullet point the identification of a hard heart. If you don’t have the time to look up the corresponding scriptures, at least glance through the bullet points…please..for I believe that the Holy Spirit gave this important revelation for this hour. God and Christ Jesus must want these identifiers noted… for the Spirit does not reveal things that have no need to be revealed.
Friends, we are and will be surrounded by those with hardened hearts. Let’s see now what the Word of God reveals concerning one with a hard heart.
Exodus 7: 22-23
- Easy to turn away from the truth of God, his words or instruction, even having heard it clearly declared.
- Easy to walk away, to disengage from the reality of what they’re facing
- Easy to ignore and to go back into their comfort zone
- Don’t even take it to heart; no thought wasted upon it. Conscience seared.
- Because the world and the occult mimics what God does, oftentimes His Acts don’t receive consideration.
- When to call upon the Lord?
- Always “Tomorrow”.
- Hard hearts always want to yield or to make change “tomorrow”…never TODAY…never NOW.
- When RELIEF was received, back came the hardened heart... and the “not listening”.
- This is how to differentiate between “worldly sorrow” and “godly sorrow” (II Cor 7:10)
- Even those in Satan’s camp, those into the occult practices, the magicians could not help but believe when they experienced the Finger of God …. But One with a hard Heart can still resist great signs. (This also gives indication that those in the occult may not have hard hearts, but misplaced alliances, and can and will be brought to salvation through Christ, resulting in them “changing sides”.)
- A hard heart will try to bargain or compromise with God. (Sacrifice “here” not there)
- Even conceding, seemingly, One with the hard heart will not go as far as what God commands. (God said, a distance of three days. Hard heart “don’t go very far”)
- Hard hearts deceive, over and over, to get their own way… All they are after is “relief.” Then they go back to their own will and way.
- Even knowing the righteous would “receive favor” and that those of hardened heart would “receive judgment”, a hard heart will remain.
- Even if they notice the aspects of sin or judgment in the view of sufferings, griefs, pains around them, One with a hard heart will remain hard.
- A Hard heart acts arrogantly against the people of God.
- A hard heart will not heed a warning, even when given the option to receive grace! Whereas, when one has the “fear of the Lord”, they will at least take the warning “just in case”.
- A hard heart can speak words of repentance: “I have sinned” and can acknowledge God: ” The Lord is the righteous one and I am guilty” yet…
- Though they speak words, to get relief, God knows the real hearts. He revealed his heart: “I know that you still do not fear the Lord God”
- True repentance is of the heart… not with words.
- Again, when relief comes, from God’s heavy hand… Those with a hard heart will sin again, and their heart will harden all the more!
- At the hardhearted harden still more, they will bring others to the same hardness of heart that they have. (Note, “and his officials”, was added.)
- Hanging around with someone with a hard heart? Warning: Your own heart will become hardened!
- God’s words to those of hardened heart: “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?
- God gives you “TODAY” to repent of your hard heart.
- Devastation realized… those with a hard heart will try ” to control the situation” even in their choice to yield. (men only… ) (God had said: Everyone, with the herds)
- When the discover that they cannot cause God to compromise with them, anger will ensue from their frustration of not having the control.
- A hard heart may again be speaking words of repentance and even go so far as to speak words of apology to the person representing the Lord (“and against you”), Or who they sinned against…But…”Please forgive my sin once more” remain empty words…for they only do this “for relief” of God’s heavy hand (I.e. a change in circumstances)…. Not because of any genuine fear of, or belief in, the Lord.
- When they have received grace… in other words, they get RELIEF… they go right back to “resisting” God.
- A hard heart, when going into another time of some kind of conceding to God…will then compromise a little bit more with God… but will still not let obedience or concession be full, or obedience complete.
- A hard heart STILL wants to have SOME control. Humility Is just out of the realm of possibility!
- A hard heart is afraid of losing control, power, or the right to dictate. It still holds itself up “as God” and “self” rules.
- When one of God’s servants is continuously standing up for and declaring God’s will, one with a hardened heart will not desire further contact with that person.
- Even a murderous heart will become resident within a person with a hard heart, if he refuses to let God dictate to him.
- A hard heart can even resist a warning “against LIFE” and will even sacrifice “human life” (of others) just to have its own will and way.
This is why it is called “a hard heart” ….there’s no life in it toward God. It is a heart of stone.
If you walked through these identification points regarding one of a hardened heart, you will receive an understanding of what the end times are going to be like.
Let’s look at a few more related Scriptures too:
“They are darkened in their understanding; alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”
- They don’t desire to know what God has to say.
- People around us with hard hearts will not care about understanding, for they don’t want the life of God… and their ignorance is quite notable.
- Their hard hearts and pride, and self-rule, have kept them from the word of God, or from listening to any one who witnesses to them or preaches the word.
- Consciences seared, they are alienated from even the great grace of having a guilty conscience to steer them toward God.
“He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them, shall have Mercy. Happy is the man that is always reverent before God, but whoever hardens his heart falls into trouble, mischief, and calamity.”
- Trouble will mark the life of those with hardened hearts.
NOW HERE IS HOW TO AVOID THE HARDENED HEART YOURSELF:
The book of Hebrews, especially chapters 3 and 4 talk about “TODAY, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled!” A “Rest in the Lord” is available as our reward… a promise obtained from our obedience!
But the operative word is TODAY.
Hebrews 3:13 says, “Exhort one another daily, as it is TODAY, so you won’t be deceived by sin and become hardened in your hearts.”
“So God sent another time for entering his rest, and that time is TODAY. God announced this to David much later in the words already quoted: TODAY when you hear his voice don’t harden your hearts.”
Psalms 95: 7 – 11
…”TODAY if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. I said they are people whose hearts go astray and they have not known my ways…”
Today is the time.
Tomorrow may bring judgment, consequences, reaping of our wrong choices, etc.
But we have TODAY…To affect any “future outcome”…through our heeding the Lord God and Honoring Christ through our obedience and following.
As we choose to soften our own hearts to humbly listen and obey God, we ourselves can avoid a hardened heart.
The most tremendous judgment of God in this world is the hardening of the hearts of men. This occurs when they continually Make Choices Daily NOT TO HEED HIS WILL when it is known.
By the way I read a quote, recently, sort-of a side-line to the subject but not OFF the subject. Hardened Hearts will affect people’s health too! This is the quote:
Hardening of the Heart ages people more quickly than the hardening of the arteries! (Author Unknown)
Proverbs 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
In this case, too, I repeat: “preventative maintenance” is way better than “damage control“, for when it is too late…our hearts have become as stone.
Encouragement: If you are at all concerned about this topic, having read it, I assure you that you do not have a hard heart that is unable to become pliable in the Lord’s hands. So simply guard yourself, turn toward God and make necessary changes, and have your resolve to use TODAY to heed God’s voice. You will be led into sweet victory!! Amen!
Written by Elizabeth Norland January 25, 2013 http://www.theimageofchrist.com