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Hardened Hearts

We find a warning in today's passage. "Today, if you will hear His voice: Do not harden your hearts" (vv. 7,8). The context is the nation of Israel in the wilderness. From Egypt to Canaan, they saw God at work. He led them out of Egypt, through the wilderness and into the Promised Land. And what did they do in return? They hardened their hearts.

How do we harden our hearts? It's a process that occurs gradually as we complain about God's work and ignore His Word. The Israelites complained about the way He led them and the way He fed them. They heard God's Word and deliberately disobeyed. This is called tempting God. "When your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation" (v. 9).

When you see God at work and you complain instead of rejoice, when you hear His Word and deliberately disobey it--you're tempting Him. It's like a little child just daring mom or dad to discipline him. When you harden your heart, you miss God's best for your life. The people of Israel saw the miracles. They heard the messages. They were fed day after day. But in a period of 40 years, that whole older generation died. They did not enter into the fullness of their inheritance.

What should you do to prevent a hard heart? Repent. Listen to God's Word and respond to it tenderly. Watch God's work and respond to it thankfully. Stop complaining and disobeying. Worship the Lord and keep a tender heart before Him.

* * *

When you take God and His provisions for granted, you become less thankful and less responsive to Him. Heed the warning of these verses: Keep your heart open to God's Word and obey Him.

Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group ( Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from Baker Publishing Group.

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