Monday, August 22, 2016
So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
Hebrews 4:6-7 (NLT)
What is the difference between a softened heart and a hardened heart? It’s the difference between life and death!
Physically our hearts have a two-layered sac which covers the inner portion of our heart muscle. This is the pericardium, and it helps the heart work and protects it as well. But this pericardium can become inflamed and also can develop sclerosis, or hardening. When this happens the heart’s activity is constricted and can be fatal.
The remedy for hardening of the heart is sometimes nothing less than operating, where the surgeon will slit the pericardium, allowing the heart to expand and do its work. I read years ago of this procedure, and the physician described seeing the sick heart as lethargic, gray, and nearly lifeless. Then, with the slightest skilled move of his scalpel, the pericardium sac opened like a bursting rosebud, revealing a pink, pulsating heart ready to go to work.
I don’t know that any of the prophets or apostles sat-in on open heart surgery to see such a miracle, but they were spot-on about the spiritual condition of a hardened heart!
In today’s reading God’s Word declares that God’s rest (or salvation) is available to anyone who will come. It also describes the all-too familiar reality that many do not enter into that relationship because they prefer to hold onto their sins (disobedience).
The Scripture pleads…don’t harden your heart; in that way you shut yourself off from the very relationship your heart wants…fellowship with your Creator. The hard lining of a spiritual pericardium is an impenetrable shield against every invitation God extends, because we refuse forgiveness when we hold on to our disobedience.
There is a great sweeping movement today of the kind of disobedience clearly named in Scripture which people prefer to ignore, blithely (and ignorantly) stating that God has changed His mind, and now permits whatever man prefers.
Hardening the heart against God in the name of a soft-heart towards sin is the very image of apostasy; it is calling evil good, and will bring judgment. It is the pathway which seems right to many people, but ends in death of the soul.
Pray for those with hardened hearts; but also pray for yourself, inviting God to do a spiritual X-Ray on your heart’s lining.
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