God in His sovereignty choose Israel (which in our current dispensation is the church), to become a light and salt to the nations [II Corinthians 3:2-3]. But Israel as a people missed the mark terribly, and forgot the purpose of their election [II Peter 1:10-11]. Let’s examine the state of our hearts.
The question would be why did such a chosen people fail terribly? We can only find the answer if only we can understand the nature of Israel’s heart as from the day of Moses in the wilderness. The Bible tells us that these people had a stiff-necked heart just as the majority of us are today.
How they responded
Even after a miraculous deliverance from captivity and having crossed the Red Sea, they still doubted God and put Him to test [James 1:8]. They even questioned God’s ability to provide for them in the wilderness. The psalmist displays this clearly in Psalms 78:17-19.
Psalms 78:17 But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?
In their apostasy, God still showed them mercy,but they never changed. They still did not trust in God’s saving power and had no faith in Him. [Hebrews 11:6].
But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned to become their enemy and Himself fought against them.
They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a molten image. [Exod. 32:4.]
Thus they exchanged Him Who was their Glory for the image of an ox that eats grass [they traded their Honor for the image of a calf]!
They forgot God their Savior, Who had done such great things in Egypt,
Wonders and miracles in the land of Ham, dreadful and awesome things at the Red Sea.
Therefore He said He would destroy them. [And He would have done so] had not Moses, His chosen one, stepped into the breach before Him to turn away His threatening wrath. [Exod. 32:10, 11, 32.]
Sin hardens the heart
Psalms 66:18 declares that if we regard iniquity in our heart, The LORD will not hear our prayer, and proverbs 28:9 declares that, if anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.” sin leads to a worse state in which our hearts becomes hardened and can no longer be redeemed [Hebrews 6: 4-8].
What to do before it’s too late.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tried [My patience] and tested [My forbearance] and found I stood their test, and they saw My works for forty years.
And, so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.
Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest. [Ps. 95:7-11.]
Today therefore, if you indeed hear His voice, friends harden not your hearts, but let Him in. [Revelation 3:20].
What does The LORD desire?
God desires an intimate relationship with His people. He declares in Psalms 51:17, that;
My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise.
He also declares in Jeremiah 3:22 that He will heal us of backsliding if only we return to Him.
The LORD is ready to renew our hearts if only we are willing to accept Him ultimate sacrifice of His son Jesus in our hearts.
A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.