God in His sovereignty chose Israel (which in our current dispensation is the church), to become a light and salt to the nations (II Corinthians 3:2-3, NIV). 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.
Then, why did such 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 the 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.
“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?” (Psalms 78:17, NIV)
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).
“Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” (Isaiah 63:10, NIV)
“At Horeb, they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them--had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.” (Psalms 106:19-23)
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.
The answer is to hearken to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" (Hebrews 3:7-11)
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, “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17). 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 His ultimate sacrifice of His son Jesus in our hearts.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
A hardened heart needs to be plowed by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.