August 17, 2015

Hard Hearts and Hard Bread

Psalm 95

“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah.”

—  Psalm 95:8

A hard heart is as useless as a hard loaf of bread.

At Meribah the Israelites complained to Moses because they had no water (Exodus 17:1-7). They were so convinced that God couldn’t provide for them that they simply lost their faith in God.

When someone’s heart becomes hardened, that person is so stubbornly set in their ways that they cannot turn to God. Hard hearts don’t turn that way overnight; it is the result of a long series of choices to disregard God’s will. Because that generation of Israelites persisted in stubborn disobedience, God chose not to let them enter his “rest,” the land he had promised their ancestors.

What would keep people from the ultimate blessing of entering God’s rest? Unthankful hearts, to begin with. Not listening to what God calls them to do. Being stubborn about doing things their way and not God’s way. Doubting that God is working in love in their lives.

In Hebrews 4:1-11, we are encouraged to enter the eternal rest that Jesus has won for us through his death and resurrection by being faithful followers of Christ.

The good news of salvation in Jesus is that there are no hearts so hard that the Holy Spirit cannot soften them. Jesus encountered many hard hearts in his teaching and preaching ministry, yet he died to offer salvation to all.

Soften our hearts, Holy Spirit, that we may hear your voice and come and worship with songs of joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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