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Part V: What brings about hard-heartedness?

BIBLE READING: Hebrews 3:7-19

KEY BIBLE VERSE: That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today you must listen to his voice. Don’t harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested God’s patience in the wilderness.” (Hebrews 3:7-8)

Hard-heartedness is the result of failing to obey God’s Word. In many places, the Bible warns us not to “harden” our hearts. This means stubbornly setting ourselves against God so that we are no longer able to turn to him for forgiveness.

The Israelites became hard-hearted when they disobeyed God’s command to conquer the Promised Land (“when they rebelled,” see Numbers 13; 14; 20; and Psalm 95). Be careful to obey God’s Word, and do not allow your heart to become hardened.

We must put forth a conscious effort to listen to what God is saying.

There is a difference between hearing and listening. The main difference is that hear is to receive or to become aware of a sound through your ears whereas listen means to make a conscious effort to perceive the sound. The difference between hear and listen is similar to that of see and watch.

Hear – Meaning and Usage

We use hear to say simply that a sound came to our ears. Here, we do not make an effort to receive or understand the sound; we are not paying attention or waiting for the sound. So hear means simply to become aware of a sound.  We always hear sounds, noises and voices around us, but we don’t actively pay attention to them.

Hebrews 3:15 (KJV)
15  While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

1 Samuel 3:10 (KJV)
10  And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

Part IV: What brings about hard-heartedness?

BIBLE READING: Mark 8:10-21

KEY BIBLE VERSE: Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said, “Why are you so worried about having no food? Won’t you ever learn or understand? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all?” (Mark 8:17-18)

Hard-heartedness is the result of persistent resistance to God. The Pharisees had tried to explain away Jesus’ previous miracles by claiming they were done by luck, coincidence, or evil power.

Here they demanded a sign from heaven—something only God could do. Jesus refused their demand because he knew that even this kind of miracle would not convince them.

They had already decided not to believe. Hearts can become so hard that even the most convincing facts and demonstrations will not change them.

Pastors, Prophets, Teachers, Bishops, and Elders need for God to open their eyes to what God is doing. I understand what a stimulus does but when it is a God thing the efforts of man become useless.

God has sent the signs already to us Hosea 4:6 spoke of.
6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

His people need not fear. Just as the three Hebrew boys said:

Daniel 3:17-18 (KJV)
17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 Not my will but thy will be done!

Part III: What brings about hard-heartedness?

BIBLE READING: Exodus 11:1-10

KEY BIBLE VERSE: Although Moses and Aaron did these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, the Lord hardened his heart so he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country. (Exodus 11:10)

Hard-heartedness is the result of deliberate rejection of God. Did God really harden Pharaoh’s heart and force him to do wrong?

Before the ten plagues began, Moses and Aaron announced what God would do if Pharaoh didn’t let the people go.

But their message only made Pharaoh stubborn—he was hardening his own heart.

In so doing, he defied both God and his messengers. Through the first six plagues, Pharaoh’s heart grew even more stubborn. After the sixth plague, God passed judgment.

Sooner or later, evil people will be punished for their sins. When it became evident that Pharaoh wouldn’t change, God confirmed Pharaoh’s prideful decision and set the painful consequences of his actions in motion.

God didn’t force Pharaoh to reject him; rather, he gave him every opportunity to change his mind.

In Ezekiel 33:11, God says, “I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people.”

I believe that God is calling the nation to repentance starting with the leaders.

Part II: What brings about hard-heartedness?

BIBLE READING: Exodus 11:1-10

KEY BIBLE VERSE: Although Moses and Aaron did these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, the Lord hardened his heart so he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country. (Exodus 11:10)

Hard-heartedness is the result of stubborn unbelief. You may wonder how Pharaoh could be so foolish as to see God’s miraculous power and still not pay attention to Moses.

But Pharaoh had his mind made up long before the plagues began. He couldn’t believe that someone was had more authority than he.

This stubborn unbelief led to a heart so hard that even a major catastrophe couldn’t soften him.

Finally, it took the greatest of all calamities, the loss of his son, to force him to recognize God’s authority.

But even then he wanted God to leave, not to rule his country. We must not wait for great calamities to drive us to God, but must open our hearts and minds to his direction now.

My prayer today is God rule my life. Please don’t leave me to self destroy.

Have hearts become to harden to Repent?

God called Pharaoh to humble himself and acknowledge that God along has supreme authority.

Philippians 2:10 (KJV)
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Pharaoh’s reply came from a harden heart

Exodus 5:1-2 (KJV)

And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Many today would rather make the crisis of the nation a political battle while others would just want to dismiss it as science. Then there are those who just don’t know the Lord.

Exodus 7:16 (NLT2)
Then announce to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, “Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.” Until now, you have refused to listen to him.

It is my belief that God is calling us to repentance. I feel much like Isaiah.

Isaiah 53:1 (MSG)
Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought GOD’s saving power would look like this?

Jonah preached in Nineveh and the people repented starting with the King.

God has a stimulus package called repent and turn.

How has the mighty fallen?

I come from a rural town in South Carolina named York just south of where I live now. We were sharecroppers and owned nothing. It was a time when you borrowed enough money to buy seed to plant and at the end of the year the owner of the farm would bring out the books and tally up how much you had borrowed for seed, fertilizer and grocery.

For the span of eighteen years of my life we broke even. We never made a profit. We never had an abundant nor did we have an increase.

What we had was a relationship with God the Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. We had his Word written in the bible filled with Hope!

We had a clear understanding of being thankful and the power of humility.

Through the years God has blessed and sent an increase and I have found these verses of scripture to be an anchor:

Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (KJV)
10  And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
11  And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
12  Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

One of Satan’s greatest tools to defeat God’s people is found in this passage.

Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)
18  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Pride is: An inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable feeling of superiority as to one’s talents, beauty, wealth, rank, and so forth; disdainful behavior or treatment; insolence or arrogance of demeanor; haughty bearing. Pride can, more rarely, have the good connotation of a sense of delight or elation arising from some act or possession. Some synonyms of pride are egotism, arrogance, haughtiness. (Source: Insight into the scriptures)

Pride can be deceptive. The proud person takes the way most beneficial or profitable for him, but he does not consider things from God’s viewpoint. The bible encourages us to be humble and meek and not to be feeling that we are better than others. We need to realize that we are not the sharpest tool in the shed.

1 Peter 5:5 (KJV)
5  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

How has the might fallen?

Daniel 4:28-30 (KJV)
28  All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
29  At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
30  The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

The king had been warned of what was in his future but he refused to pay attention to the prophet and allowed pride to get the best of him.

Success and accomplishment are wonderful until you allow them to turn to pride and you forget the Lord who made it all possible.

Throughout my life I have learned that the battle belongs to the Lord and the victory is His also!

I am not by any means saying what is happen now is going to destroy the nation but I am saying it is a warning that we have forgotten the Lord. We are too boastful about how great we are and not how great our God is.

Once you finish reading this would you quote Psalm?

Psalm 103:1-18 (KJV)
1  Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6  The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
7  He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
8  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15  As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16  For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17  But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;
18  To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

WHAT CAN CHURCHES DO WHILE WE ARE IN CRISIS MODE?

We should be reminding worshippers of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

  1. They belong to the Lord and the power of his name.
  2. How to walk humbly before him.
  3. How to pray according to his will.
  4. How to seek his guidance and direction in this season.
  5. How to repent for known and unknown sins.
  6. How to turn away from temptation and sin.
  7. Wait and listen for God’s forgiveness and healing for our land.
  8. While spending time alone it is a good time to rekindle your relationship with the Father through his Son Jesus Christ.

I believe that these times require someone to be the watchmen for the people. Yes I can see with the natural eyes what is happen but we need the spiritual eyes open to what God is doing.

Our God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek after him. (Hebrews 11:6) Can we honestly say we have been seeking after God or has each man been seeking his own?

I would much rather be an encourager speaking positive good prophecy today but I must share what God has placed on my heart as a watchman!

Ezekiel 3:17-21 (KJV)
17  Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
18  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
20  Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
21  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 (KJV)
1  Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2  Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
3  If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4  Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5  He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6  But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
7  So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8  When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9  Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Is this more important that your relationship with the Father?

GOD KNOWS YOUR PURPOSE, DO YOU?

Acts 26:15-17 (KJV)
15  And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this PURPOSE, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

 Acts 26:17 (NLT2)
17  And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles

God was working in your life long before you began working with Him.

The Lord knew you before time began, and He knew what He wanted to do with your life (Jer. 1:5; Ps. 139:13).

Before the Apostle Paul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus, Jesus already knew Paul and had a specific assignment for him.

But Jesus only revealed this assignment after Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:15).

So misguided was Paul that in his sincere efforts to serve God, he had actually been waging war against Christians!

Although God knew what He wanted for Paul, He waited to reveal it to him until He gained his attention and became his Lord.

Our Lord does not come to us to discover our purpose or what we would like to accomplish for Him.

He encounters us in order to reveal His activity and invite us to become involved in His work. An encounter with God requires us to adjust ourselves to the activity of God that has been revealed.

God never communicates with us merely to give us a warm devotional thought for that day. He never speaks to us simply to increase our biblical knowledge.

Our Lord has far more significant things to reveal to us than that! When God shows us what He is doing, He invites us to join Him in the work He is doing.

Are you prepared to meet God today?

Don’t seek to hear from God unless you are ready to ask, as Paul did, “What shall I do Lord?”

Today church must pay more attention to the message as the end of time draws nearer.

 Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (NLT2)
20  But any prophet who falsely claims to speak in my name or who speaks in the name of another god must die.’
21  “But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the LORD?’
22  If the prophet speaks in the LORD’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the LORD did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.

The message of the Living God will set you free. Luke 4:18 (NLT2)
18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,

I am seeing people become disillusion with the church and its message about God’s Kingdom. They are becoming so dishearten that they are existing the church.

There is a Macedonian call to clarify the message not to change the message of the gospel.

The word gospel means “good news,” so the gospel of Christ is the good news of His coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who will believe (Colossians 1:14; Romans 10:9). … Because everyone breaks God’s perfect law by committing sin (Romans 3:23), everyone is guilty (Romans 5:18).

The men and women in the pulpit cannot promise what God has not promise. We must be careful to only say what God has said and not add or take away from the WORD.

It is hard to restrain from preaching what is popular but as you see the end coming be more careful to rightly divide the word. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT2)
15  Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.

Our behavior should reflect our release from the present world.

2 Peter 1:4 (NLT2)
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

We must live in this fallen world and not be overtaken by the lustfulness of a fallen world.

James 1:14-15 (NLT2)
14  Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
15  These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

1 Corinthians 8:1 (NLT2)
1  Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.

Love is more important than knowledge. Knowledge can make us look good and feel important, but we can all too easily develop an arrogant, know-it-all attitude. Many people with strong opinions are unwilling to listen to and learn from God and others. We can obtain God’s knowledge only by loving him (see James 3:17, 18). And we can know and be known by God only when we model him by showing love (1 John 4:7, 8).

2 Peter 1:5 (NLT2)
5  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,

We must continue to grow as Christians in our faith and not just grow in knowledge:

Let’s start adding:

2 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT2)
6  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,
7  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

We should neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8 (NLT2)
8  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If God permit let’s address the latter blessing:

Job 42:12-13 (ICB)
12  The Lord blessed the last part of Job’s life even more than the first part. Job had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels. He had 1,000 pairs of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys.
13  Job also had seven sons and three daughters.

 After you have read the text in its entirety and you have read what comes before and after the text what would you conclude with?

Did you see suffering precede blessing?

Did to see Job waiting on the blessing?

Did you see Job trusting the one who blesses?

“What if your church was in the chicken business rather than the church business?”

Ephesians 5:16 (NIV)
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The culture of the church has been engrained in the past. We are called to Rethink the church for the twenty-first century.

We are not called to change the message but the method by which we reach the lost and keep the saved in the Kingdom of God.

In order to have a successful church today

An atmosphere of trust must prevail.

A spirit of forgiveness must be present.

A spirit of unconditional love must exist.

A spirit of obedience must live in each of us.

A spirit of working together  for the Kingdom.

There is a greater need to understand the times we live in:

1 Chronicles 12:32 (NLT2)
32  From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.

•Leadership in the past only needed to know bible verses. “Information”

•Leadership today need to understand human behavior, finance, and rule of law

The culture of the church has been engrained in the past. We are called to Rethink the church for the twenty-first century.

We are not called to change the message but the method by which we reach the lost and keep the saved in the Kingdom of God.

If we fail to be in the right position we run a great risk of missing the move of God. Proper placement of the gifts that God has placed in the body is very important.

1 Peter 4:10
10  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

The gifts are for the body:

Ephesians 4:12 (KJV)
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

1 Corinthians 12:1-7 (KJV)
1  Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2  Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3  Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

God promises us an abundant life, but we can’t have abundance unless we position ourself in the greatness of God.

The failure to live an abundant life comes from being out of position with God?

He wants the church to conqueror the world. He wants to give you a new belief and expression of the power of prayer in your own life. He wants to give you a new freedom in your walk with Him. God is preparing you. He wants to impart to you new life. His training is supernatural training. You and I are in the process of becoming. We are changed from glory to glory as we grow into a Christ-like person.

I need you to get this. It is not natural abilities but spiritual giftedness that will touch the heart of God. It will be what God placed in you. It will be your obedience to him.

We need to be able to attract people to the organization that’s going somewhere, that’s doing something. And that want to changing the world. Some of those people will be like:

Peter

Paul

James and John

Even a few Judas

Are you ready for abundance?