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The Definition Of A Hard Heart

Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years.
–Hebrews 3:8-9

The writer of Hebrews said, “Do not harden your hearts” (3:8). What is a hard heart? A hard heart is one that continually refuses to trust God when tested and to obey God when ordered. You may find it more and more difficult to feel anything in your spiritual life. Nothing in a worship service moves you; you think you have heard it all before. You find it harder and harder to find time to read the Bible. It just seems like a dry book to you. There is nothing in it for you. You have less of a desire to talk to God, and when you do you just feel like it’s a one-way conversation. You are in danger of developing what the Bible calls a hard heart. You find it more and more difficult to say yes to God. You find it more difficult to trust God when you face difficulties in your life.

What causes a person to develop a hard heart? The writer of Hebrews gave an illustration of a hard heart from the Old Testament. Look at Hebrews 3:7-9: “Just as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years.’” The writer took his readers back to the reign of King David, when David wrote Psalm 95. This psalm was written not to unbelievers but to believers. Look at Psalm 95:6-7: “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” David was talking to believers. And then he issued the warning: “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as in the days of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though they had seen My work” (95:7-9). David used an experience from Israel in the wilderness to demonstrate how people could develop a hard heart in the area of faith. In Exodus 17, the people came to Rephidim, and there they ran out of water. So what did they do? They began to complain to Moses: “Did you bring us all the way out here into the desert to die of thirst?” Why would they think they were going to die of thirst when they had just seen the miracles of God? God was angry with them because they had failed to trust God in this time of testing.

You may be in a time of testing now. You may be facing a health concern in your life or in the life of somebody you love dearly. Perhaps you are facing a financial hardship and do not know where your next paycheck is going to come from. Maybe you are facing the breakup of an important relationship in your life, and you are wondering if God can really take care of your need. God says, “Remember what I have done for you in the past. Remember how I rescued you from Satan’s domain, saved you, forgave you, and gave you My own name. Remember how I miraculously provided for your every need. Do you think I am going to let go of you now?” God says we need to trust Him in times of testing.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Danger Of Unbelief” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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