A read through the prophets of the Old Testament reveals that God took a lot of time warning His people in the two nations of Israel and Judah, that they had to change their ways.
Many prophets, including others whose writings are not recorded in the Bible, were sent by God to call God’s people away from idols and to right living.
Yet most people ignored those prophets.
What’s more, there were many other people who claimed to be prophets who told the people what they were doing was fine. On several occasions we find the prophet of God as a lone voice against a crowd of others who claimed to be prophets.
The people had hardened hearts to God’s call to repent. They kept up their own ways, which were often a mixture of worshipping God and worshipping other things they thought would bring them success.
The people would go to the Temple and make the sacrifices God instructed through Moses, but then go off to high places where they would make an offering to various idols they also trusted in.
It was probably not unlike organisations today who support opposite political parties, so which ever party is in power they will get some favour.
It’s a form of insuring against problems by keeping in with various sources that supposedly bring good in some form or another.
God made it perfectly clear that His people are not to look to any other source than God, Himself. They are not to have idols or to trust in things that would replace God in their lives.
Yet when God called His people to return to worshipping God and only relying on God, they resisted that message. They felt sure things would work out fine for them. They were supported by the positive messages of the false prophets.
History reveals that what the prophets of God said came to pass, and what the false prophets said proved to be lies. Yet the people would rather trust the false prophets, since they permitted people to do what they wanted.
If God wanted to challenge His people today, would it be the same? If God brought a challenge to your heart would you resist it and keep going the way that suits you?
If someone brought you a challenge from God, and other voices patted you on the back and said “Just keep doing what you are doing”, which voice would you listen to?
Today we don’t need someone to stand up as a prophet from God, much as such a voice might be helpful, because we have the Bible. It is a more reliable voice of prophecy than any other.
“We have also a more reliable word of prophecy; to which you do well to take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” 2Peter 1:19
God’s Word is a light shining in dark places, revealing things you need to pay attention to.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
If you don’t have the light, then you are walking in darkness.
“If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:23
If you are not paying attention to the light, God’s Word, then you are walking in darkness. You will choose to listen to the voices that affirm you, and not hear the words of correction and direction God has for your life. You will think you are doing yourself a favour, but you will be stumbling, without any true direction.
What makes the difference is the state of your heart. If you have a tender heart toward God and want to please Him, you will pay attention to His Word. You will listen to God’s prophetic voice instead of the many other voices that want to lead you along.
If you have a hard heart toward God you will ignore His Word and find reasons to scoff at it. You will elevate man’s ideas and the voices that support your choices.
Have you noticed that Christians at times seem to throw out whole sections of the Bible on some pretext or other. Some Christians ignore the Old Testament, saying it has been replaced by the New. Some Christians ignore the miracle power of God saying it was only needed at the birth of the church, and not today. Some Christians treat Bible writings as the ideas of man with a few spiritual gems within them. Some Christians decide that certain Bible writers have wrong attitudes that are to be ignored, such as discounting the Apostle Paul’s remarks about women.
The psalmist had a tender heart toward God and God’s Word.
“I delight in Your commandments because I love them.” Psalm 119:47
“My soul has kept your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.” Psalm 119:167
The Apostle Paul made a similar declaration.
“I delight in the law of God, in my inner being” Romans 7:22
We might think of a hard heart as being someone who is aggressive or stubborn. But we can be stubborn against God’s Word and still seem like a nice person.
The prophetic voice of God is speaking to you right now. And that might include rebuke and correction, as in Old Testament days. But there are other voices also calling to you and distracting you from what God is saying. Will you hear the voice of the Lord? Will you let God’s Word speak to you? Will you accept it all? Or will you ignore it, or discount it so you can keep doing what you want to, your own way?
I call you to have a tender heart toward God and his Word and to be ever free from anything like a Hardened Heart.