Hardening of the Heart
"But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said."1
"While sitting on the bank of a river one day, I picked up a solid round stone from the water and broke it open. It was perfectly dry in spite of the fact that it had been immersed in water for centuries. The same is true of many people in the Western world. For centuries they have been surrounded by Christianity; they live immersed in the waters of its benefits. And yet it has not penetrated their hearts; they do not love it. The fault is not in Christianity, but in men's hearts, which have been hardened by materialism and intellectualism."2
Some 4,000 years ago, when God called Moses to deliver the ancient people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, Pharaoh refused to let the people go. God kept sending plagues on the Egyptians so Pharaoh would agree to let the Israelites go, which he did. But as soon as there was relief from the plague, Pharaoh changed his mind, hardened his heart and refused to let the people go. After continual resistance, eventually God hardened Pharaoh's heart.
When we continually fail to adhere to God's Word and His message of obedience and salvation we end up hardening our hearts. Eventually God may harden our hearts too—a dangerous course to follow.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me a heart that is open to Your Word, that accepts Your free offer of salvation, and the desire to always live in harmony with Your will. And please soften any areas of my heart that I may already have hardened. Gratefully, in Jesus's name. Amen."
1. Exodus 8:15 (NIV).
2. Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889–1929)