Hardening of the Heart!
by Pr. Dave Mann
! Hardening of the heart! This is a topic of consternation for many. First, let’s get the data.
Exodus 7:13 — Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard...
Exodus 8:15 — Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses...
Exodus 8:32 — Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.
Exodus 9:12 — But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses ...
Exodus 9:34 — Pharaoh and his officials hardened their hearts.
Exodus 10:1 — Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials ...
Exodus 10:20 — The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
Exodus 10:27 — The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.
Exodus 11:10 — The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go...
Exodus 14:8 — The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt...
It is clear that at the start; it was Pharaoh himself who hardened his own heart. Then, it was the Lord who continued the process so that Pharaoh and his officials would not willingly agree to let the Israelites go. First, Pharaoh acted according to a human choice to resist the Lord, then the Lord allowed the human heart to arrive at its chosen destination.
In John 3:19 we find the words of Jesus: "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." The judgment appears to be people judging themselves in that they loved darkness rather than the light.
We also find in Romans 1:21-24 this same process of God allowing wicked human hearts to go where they will — "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts." These are among the saddest words in the entire Bible. Sometimes the Lord’s judgment is simply his decision to remove his restraining hand and to allow humans to continue in the wrong direction. It’s as though he were saying to us, “Okay, if you insist, have it your way.”
Some say that this indeed is the sin against the Holy Spirit when people resist God so much and so consistently that God finally lets go. Lord, have mercy!
God of all mercy, we acknowledge that our hearts are self-centered. We are bent on our own ways, and we resist your leading. We implore you to give us the gift of true repentance and faith, that we may return to you to find forgiveness and healing of our hard hearts, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.