As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15
People will often harden their skin in order to be able to do more things without as much pain. In the martial arts there are some who will strike their fists into sand in order to harden the skin on their hands. This allows them to hit something harder, such as a brick, without feeling as much pain or getting hurt. In this type of hardening, it can be a good thing to do.
However, along with hardening their hands or other parts of the body, there are many who will harden their hearts or minds. Many people have hardened their hearts against someone because they had been hurt by that person. They refuse to talk or be with a family member, because of a past hurt. They have hardened their heart.
Hardening of any type, does not occur instantly. It is a slow, built up process that takes time and effort to occur. Hardening the heart or mind against someone also takes time.
One thing that many people have hardened their hearts to is God. They refuse to listen to Him and do what He says. Some have hardened and never come to hearing God’s voice in their lives. Others have believed, but hardened against Him.
This is seen in a believer who begins to purposefully live in sinful ways, refusing to repent anymore. It is seen in a believer who refuses to do what God is calling Him to do.
This type of hardening usually occurs slowly over time. They start out sinning a little. They feel God’s tug on their hearts, but ignore it and keep on sinning more and more, refusing to listen to and obey God.
Eventually, they no longer hear God at all. Their heart is hardened against hearing Him.
The writer of Hebrews repeats the words of Moses saying do not harden your heart. Take a look at your life. How well are you hearing the voice of God in your life?
As you hear Him say not to do things or to do something, how well are you following those instructions?
Do not allow your heart to get hard against hearing God. Be willing to always listen and obey God in every situation. God is always speaking. Are you listening?
I pray today that you will know God’s voice; that you will obey what God says; that you will keep your heart soft and open to God; and that you will never turn away from God.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
After Jesus had risen from the dead, He began to show Himself to different people. The disciples were in a locked room when Jesus first appeared to them. They were scared, but His first words to them were to be at peace. Then He sends them out to do a work for God.
When a person is going through a difficult time, the last thing he wants is for all of his friends to reject him, or walk away. He needs the help and support of his friends.
While some get the needed support, many have a lot of friends who walk away. They do not support. This is especially true if the situation is very negative.
Very often when a person is accused of a major crime and sentenced to prison, most of his friends reject him. They do not understand how he could have done such a crime. Many people do not want to be associated with someone who has committed a major crime.
People who have been abandoned by another person in great time of need, will often come back later with accusations against that person. He will be angry for being rejected and left alone to suffer.
Jesus did not do that with the disciples. Every disciple had abandoned Him as He was being accused, beaten and crucified.
Later when Jesus rose from the dead and met with them, the first thing He told them was to be at peace. He was not angry with them for abandoning Him. Jesus forgave them and gave each one a chance to start over. There was no accusation or blaming done at all. They were forgiven.
You may have had a friend who has hurt you or abandoned you in your time of need. Instead of throwing accusations and judgment upon him, forgive him and make peace with him.
There may also be times you have let God down and abandoned Him. Allow Jesus to forgive you and make peace with Him. He is there to bring peace, not condemnation and judgment.
God wants you to have peace in your life with Him. Do not be afraid to meet with God after making a mistake and sinning. He is there to forgive you and restore the peace.
I pray today that you will know the peace Jesus brings; that you will go to God when you make a mistake and sin against Him; that you will not fear approaching God; and that you will make peace with those who have done wrong to you.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Luke 13:34
Jesus had been told by some of the Pharisees to leave Jerusalem, they did want any part of Him. He, then, wept for the city, longing to gather them up and care for them. Even though they did not want Him there, Jesus continued His mission, knowing they would crucify Him.
When people are treated badly by someone or a group, they usually will leave that person and move on to someone else. People know when they are not welcome and do not want to stick around. Very few people are willing to be hated and hurt by someone else continually.
Looking at things as the world does, it makes sense to move on, to forget the person or people you are trying to reach.
This type of attitude is also common among Christians. A believer is treated badly by someone and so they leave that person on his own. They no longer reach out to that person because of the pain being inflicted.
Jesus went to Jerusalem, knowing that they hated Him as a whole. He also knew that they would kill Him the next time He went into Jerusalem. Yet, His hearts desire was to take all of the people of the city under His arm and show them love and care.
His love was greater for them, than their hate was for Him. Jesus knew that He had something that was worth everything to give them. He wanted to give them life, abundant life, despite their not wanting it. Since they did not want what He had for them, Jesus wept over them. He shared His heart’s desire to be with them.
There may be someone or a group of people who treat you badly. Although it is easy to just walk away, it may be that God wants you to continue to reach out to them with His love and compassion.
God wants everyone to know the gospel message and be saved. You may be the only one to reach out to that person. Weep before God for their lost souls and continue to reach out to them. Do not give up on them right away.
I pray today that God will open your eyes to the lost around you; that you will have God’s compassion for the lost; that you will not fear persecution, but trust in God; and that you spread the gospel message to all you meet.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Luke 9:54-55
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and He had sent some disciples ahead into a Samaritan village to get it ready for Him. After the people rejected Him, James and John wanted to destroy the people. Jesus rebuked John and James for wanting to do that.
People are very quick to judge and want to destroy other people. This is very true when the other people do not act or think in the same way. This explains why there are so many different wars and battles going on around the world. People do not agree, so they choose to fight.
Just as John and James were quick to want to destroy the people, so are many believers. Sometimes they are quick to want to destroy another believer, but it is very common for them to want to destroy non-believers.
The world will act a certain way or promote a sinful action because that is who they are. Many believers are very quick to condemn them and want God to destroy them. This has been seen with abortion clinic doctors or terrorists.
Jesus said that the world would reject believers because it rejected Him. Jesus did not go out and start condemning the world because they rejected Him. He still showed love and compassion.
Condemning someone who is doing what they do because of who they are is not showing love. It is not giving the person a chance to change. If Jesus would have destroyed that village, the people would never have had another chance to believe in Him.
Believers can condemn the action, but must be careful not to condemn the person. That is the job Jesus is to do.
When people are not acting correctly or are working against you, know that you are going through what Jesus had gone through. You are not above Him. He went through rejection and still loved the people, so will you.
Take time to pray for the person. Be a shining light of who Jesus is and how He would react. Do not be like the world and condemn right away and be willing to have the other person destroyed. Show God’s love and compassion.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for all people; that God will give you strength when people reject you; that you will not be quick to condemn others; and that you will show God’s love to all people.
After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Hosea 1:8-9
God had Hosea marry a woman who was a prostitute to point out the sin of Israel. The nation had prostituted themselves against God. Her second child to be born was called L0-Ammi by God. With giving this name God was telling the people that they were not His people anymore and He was no longer their God.
The people of Israel had been chosen by God and were always considered His people, His nation. However, when the people had chosen to follow idols and reject God, He turned His back on them. God rejected them as His people for a time.
Most people would be willing to say that they reject the idea of prostitution and would not have any part of it. Yet, they are doing the very same thing with God on a daily basis. Churches have many people who attend just to look good or to do their weekly duty. They are not there to serve and worship God.
During the week, their hearts and minds are on anything but God. They are running hard after the things of this world. They are serving themselves and the gods of this world, lust, passion, greed, selfishness, pride, fame, fortune, and much more. On Sundays they may claim to be a believer, but their hearts are far from it.
Israel had been living in this same way, and so God had rejected them, for a time. He refused to call them His people because they had turned away from Him.
If you call God your God, then you must serve and worship Him alone. You cannot allow yourself to run after other gods and put God on the side. God will not share Himself with another god of any type.
Be willing to reject the gods of this world so that you may serve the one true God. Do not live your life in a way, in which God will have to say that you are not His child or people. Jesus made a way for you, do not reject Him in your day-to-day living. Worship Him and serve Him seven days a week.
I pray today that you will serve and worship God alone; that God will be able to say you are His child; that you will not be rejected by God; and that you will be His witness in this world.
“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:23
King Saul had chosen to not completely destroy the enemy after being told to do so. He had rejected God’s word to him. Samuel told him that it is better to obey God than to offer sacrifices. What King Saul did was seen as rebellion and arrogance, both of which are sinful like idolatry. Since Saul had rejected God’s word to him, God had rejected him.
Very few people would consider themselves as a rebellious person. To most people, the rebellious person is the one who goes against all rules and norms and fights everyone.
It is most common to look at teenagers as the rebellious person. Later it is the people who fights the system, or dresses extremely wild ways, or dies their hair strange colors, or covers their bodies in tattoos.
Many believers in Jesus, however, can be seen as rebellious. Yes they claim to believe in Jesus and go to church and read the Bible all the time, but they reject doing what God has told them to do.
Going to church and reading the Bible are only surface or outward things in your life. It really comes down to the heart and your actions. Once you hear a sermon at church or read a passage in the Bible, you must then put into action what you have heard or read.
God speaks through the minister or His Word–the Bible to you. He gives instructions in how to live life and what to do or not to do.
Are you being rebellious and not doing what God has told you to do? It is the same as going to false gods for guidance and help.
Are you being arrogant in thinking that you do not have to do what God has told you to do? It is the same as worshipping an idol. That idol is you.
Do not be rebellious against God’s word today. Take His word to heart and obey all of His commands. When you accept and obey God’s Word, He accepts you. God will never let you down or harm you. He is only looking out for your best. Do you trust Him?
I pray today that you will know God’s commands to you; that you will not reject His commands; that you will not be rebellious against God; and that you will obey God in every area of your life.