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Hardness of Heart

Words of Faith Final

Hardness of Heart
Words of Faith 9-22-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Exodus 4
[19] Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead." [20] So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
[21] The Lord said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. [22] Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, [23] and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.' "

Moses agreed to return to Egypt without knowing that all those who wished to kill him there were now dead. It was important that Moses trusted in the Lord and not in the changing political circumstances in Egypt. Moses packed up his family and started for Egypt with the staff of God in hand. The Lord gave the plan to Moses again. He was to perform miracles before Pharaoh, but Pharaoh's heart would be hardened. It would finally take the death of Pharaoh's firstborn to free the firstborn of God, Israel.
We are often rather intrigued by the statement, "I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go." What does this mean? If God hardened Pharaoh's heart, what was the point of all this asking? And an even more important question might be, "Could my heart be hardened by God against my will?"
There are ten places in Exodus where the "hardening" of Pharaoh is ascribed to God (4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8, 17). But we should quickly point out that Pharaoh hardened his own heart in another ten passages (7:13, 14, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34, 35; 13:15). It appears that the hardening of Pharaoh's heart was not against his will but was in keeping with his prideful choices and defiant character. The hardening was as much Pharaoh's act as it was the work of God.
Pharaoh had five chances to respond. God's first hardening of Pharaoh's heart came after the sixth plague. Pharaoh hardened his heart again in response to the seventh plague. God hardened his heart after each of plagues 8-10. This was not something "unfair"; it was entirely in keeping with the character of Pharaoh.
What about us? The concept of "hardening" of the heart is heard throughout the Bible. Jesus was distressed by the hardened hearts of religious people who were more concerned with rules than with people (Mark 3:5). Even the hearts of the disciples were hardened at one point such that they did not understand the miracle of the loaves (Mark 6:52). Apparently God can break our hard hearts and open our eyes to His love and mercy. It would seem that the sort of hardening that God did to the heart of Pharaoh comes only after repeated resistance to God.
The writer of Hebrews warns against hardening our hearts toward God (3:8). Hebrews warns that our hearts can be hardened by sin's deceitfulness (3:13) and by resisting the voice of the Lord (3:15). These seem to be the two key factors. Our hearts become hardened by repetitive sin that sears our conscience.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy that a person's conscience can become "seared as with a hot iron." Our hearts also become hardened when we resist the leading of the Lord and shut His voice out of our lives. We can avoid hardness of heart through a lifestyle of daily repentance and by learning to trust His voice in our lives as we respond to Him.
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Heb. 4:7). The Lord is very willing to give us a new heart. "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 11:19). "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).

Lord, break my heart before You. Give me a new heart that is sensitive to sin in my life. Give me a heart of true repentance. Break through any hardness. I am listening for Your Word and guidance. I will trust. I will obey. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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