The Impenetrable Heart

The Impenetrable Heart

When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart.
–Exodus 9:34

Jesus spoke in parables to obscure the truth from people who had rejected Him and His message. Why doesn’t everyone who hears the message of the kingdom receive the message of the kingdom? Israel was an agricultural society, so Jesus used an illustration from agriculture to explain why some people receive the gospel and others reject the gospel. Look at Matthew 13:3: “Behold, the sower went out to sow.” In Jesus’s day, a sower would simply put a bag of seed around his shoulder and scatter the seed as he walked down the road.

Jesus later made it clear that the seed represents the Word of God, and the sower represents anyone who spreads the Word of God. It could be a pastor or Sunday School teacher. It could be you sharing your faith with an unbeliever or sharing a word of exhortation with another Christian. Why do some people accept the Word of God and other people soundly reject it? It all has to do with the condition of a person’s heart, and that is represented by the soil in the story.

There were four different kinds of soil that Jesus said the seed fell on. First of all, there was hard soil. Verse 4 says, “As he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.” This was the soil that was closest to the road, where it was pounded day in, day out. When the seed fell on this hard ground, it could not penetrate the soil. It would just lie on top, and the birds would come and snatch it away. This hard soil could not receive the seed.

In verse 19, Jesus said the hard soil represents the impenetrable heart: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” This hard heart is the result of someone who has rejected over and over the truth that has been shared with him. It is possible to so reject the truth that you become no longer able to receive the truth.

We see a great illustration of that in the story of Pharaoh in the book of Exodus. Moses came to Pharaoh asking for release for the enslaved Israelites, and God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he could not obey God. But did you know the Bible says Pharaoh hardened his own heart seven times before the first time that God hardened his heart? You see, when we reject the truth that God has given us, there comes a point when God will harden our hearts so that we cannot believe. This is the heart that Jesus was talking about here–the impenetrable heart.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Matters Of The Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.