The Back story and how the Author of Hebrews writes the ending of Hebrews 3. He is using their own history to prove a point to them. An illustration. He’s already mentioned Moses, and now he talks about the people that were with Moses, “The People of Israel.” Their hearts had once become hardened to the things of God, and because of that, they suffered and wondered for years, so the warning is, Learn from the past and refuse to become cold hearted towards God. He is calling now, respond.
What does the Bible say about Hard Hearts?
The back story of Moses and the People of Israel.
Read Hebrews 3:7-19 – READ
– The people of Israel had been in Egypt for over 400 years, and the last 200 years they had been slaves.
- God issued ten plagues against the Egyptians and Pharaoh in order to get the attention of Pharaoh and to get his people out.
- He parted the red sea and swallowed up Pharaoh’s army.
- He lead them by a pillar of Cloud and fire.
- He gave them food and mana from Heaven.
- They were only satisfied briefly and then demanded more miracles and signs from God.
- They quickly got over their trust of God, and became hard hearted. God got angry and they wondered for 40 years until that generation died.
HOW DO YOU GO FROM BEING STUNNED BY THE MIRACLES OF GOD TO BECOMING HARD HEARTED OR COLD HEARTED TO HIM?
Let’s inspect the scripture, I believe you will see the slow gradual slide into a hard heart.
- Hard hearts actions are inside you before they are outside you. Vs. 10
Hebrews 3:10, “Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, “they always go Astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways.”
Astray = Out of the right way, off the correct or known road, path. Away from that which is right, into error, confusion, or undesirable action or thought.
This is the danger of becoming hard hearted, it starts inside with thoughts before it becomes evident outside with behaviors.
The little secrets, obsessions, thoughts, will become actions, but not only that they harden your heart.
“You ever heard someone say, They thought they would get away with it.” The first time you are nervous, the second time is easier, and before you know it, it doesn’t affect you anymore.
WHAT DID THEY GO ASTRAY FROM?
“AND THEY DO NOT KNOW MY WAYS.”
Straying from what you know to be true about God. Spiritually you should know better.
2. Hard hearts are marinated in Unbelief. Vs. 12
UNBELIEF NEVER HAS ENOUGH PROOF.
John MacArthur, “Nothing is more illogical or unreasonable than unbelief. It refuses to accept the most overwhelming evidence – simply because unbelief does not want to believe.”
LOOK AT HOW THEY WERE ACTING –
Vs. 9, “Where your fathers tried Me by Testing Me, and saw my works for Forty years.”
It was never enough. We need another sign.
God has been doing everything He can, (NOT THAT HE HAS TOO) to get your attention, prove He is here, but it’s never enough. STILL WANT MORE, ALL THE WHILE YOU ARE ALREADY STRAYING FROM THE TRUTH.
LOOK AT THIS –
The testing of unbelief leads to PROVOKING GOD.
Vs. 8, “Do not harden your hearts as WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”
3. Hard Hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Vs. 13
Vs. 13, “So that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Deceitfulness = Trickery or stratagem.
Sin is tricky, it seldom appears as it really is.
Sin will harden your heart, and trick you to think you’re not as bad off as you truly are.
2 WARNINGS FOR ASSESSMENT OF A HARD HEART BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.
- Take Care
Vs. 12, “Take Care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.”
Take Care = Be careful, make sure of, inspect.
That you “Don’t Fall away.”
Warning to those who should know better, and know about a living God.
Hebrews 6:6, “Have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.”
2. “TODAY.” Vs. 7 &13
Vs. 7, “Today IF you Hear His voice.”
Vs. 13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is STILL “TODAY,”
TODAY signifies “PRESENT TIME OF GRACE.”
TODAY has a time frame on it. We don’t know this time frame. But if we do not respond as the Holy Spirit prompts and God moves, you will wake up one day and it will be tomorrow and not today.
YOU NEVER KNOW HOW LONG/ OR THE LENGTH OF YOUR TODAY.
Respond now at His prompting and deal with the hard heart.
SINS DECEITFULNESS will make one’s own perspective assume you are not that bad, and you have plenty of time.
Satan will steal your today if you don’t fight him.
SO HOW DO WE RECOGNIZE A HARD HEART –
Early Warning signs by Carey Neuwhof.
- You don’t really celebrate and you don’t really cry. Emotions gone.
- You stop genuinely caring.
- So much of what’s supposed to be meaningful feels mechanical.
- Passion is hard to come by.
- You no longer believe the best about people.
A little deeper –
- You focus on Patterns, not people. (Lumping everyone together, generalities, cynicism, instead of individuals.)
- You over-protect a broken heart. (Broken things heal back stronger.)
- You stop looking for what’s good in people and situations.
- You become accepting of the hard heart as your new normal. (Accept this as the new normal.)
OUTWARD BEHAVIORS OF HARD HEARTS – Kristi Woods
- A lack of understanding.
- Bitterness and resentment.
- Isolation from God and others.
- Denying forgiveness
- Refusal to get involved and serve or to accept help.
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH A HARD HEART.
- Draw near to God. (Today respond to him.)
The bible says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
2. Deal with the big hurt or forgiveness.
3. Dig In. Wear Humility. Pride will act as a strong hold on your heart. Be willing to humble yourself.
4. Dive In – LET GO. (Whatever it is.) You have a choice in this thing. Open your arms up and jump in. Illustration, (The diving board.)