Chapter 17

Hardening of the Heart

Eph 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

When we conduct our physical lives with little to no difference than that of the Gentiles around us, we too become subject to futility of thinking. Thinking comes out of the mind. Futility means, fruitlessness, uselessness and ineffectiveness of our thinking. It is easier after years of thinking to look back and assess whether your life has fallen victim to futility of thinking.

Hardening of the heart darkens the understanding, but of greater significance is the fact it separates them and us from the life of God. Don’t be persuaded to think that only non-Christians can suffer from the effects of hardening of the heart. In the early stages of Jesus’ disciples, this law was at work in them. You will see the effects that this law had on His disciples, so don’t be under any allusions. It will, if given the opportunity, go to work in you.

Mark 6:48 Jesus saw his disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the forth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake they thought he was a ghost.

“If you do not process your encounters, you may not see the next encounter.” quote from Dr. Henry Blackaby.

Mark 6:51 They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

Jesus just finished the feeding of the five thousand and he understood that He needed to go immediately to the Father in prayer to process what just happened. The disciples on the other hand got caught up in life’s problems and did not know to take the time to ask the Father what this feeding meant to them. The same thing that blocked them from knowing to ask the Father, the significance of this miracle, is the same thing that would keep them from understanding the answer. Even if they would have asked, they could not comprehend the answer until the mind changed in their futility of their thinking. Only after this mind change came, did they understand and could see the meaning of the loaves and fishes relative to God’s mission for them.

Without recognizing your need to process your encounters through a mind that is not obstructed, your inescapable result is a harder heart. Miracles are displaying God’s goodness to us, but likewise they are communicating something personal that God wants to tell us, which can only be revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. A hardened heart is just a mind that is not tender towards the things of God.

Matt 14:31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

People of little faith are susceptible to hardening of the heart and very few in this category will overcome. The longer people live in this realm of little faith, the harder and harder it will become to ever move beyond their reality.

Little children will never have a problem with hardening of the heart, just like they will never have a problem with believing. Little children have no boundaries on their reality, and this is one of the attributes God wants for each of us.

Faith is a confidence that proceeds from a body to
the degree that body is pure.

When Moses went to Egypt to bring out Israel, Pharaoh stood in his way. After many miracles the only thing that happened is the king’s heart was hardened.

How and why did his heart become hardened? If miracles give you the ability to believe, this man should have been at the peak of his capacity to believe. And even after his only son was taken along with the first born in the land, by his own words, did he still choose not to understand who he was up against and humble himself, and repent? His heart was so hard it blinded him from reality and the ability to think rationally.

Anybody that would order his armies to go after God’s people after such a display of power must be considered out of his mind. What caused the most powerful man in the world to act in a manor that clearly shows he is out of his mind?

Heb 13:9 Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.

And the real question for us today is: Is there any way that my actions could some how line up with Pharaohs’, and thereby cause me to believe as he did? Is God warning me to avoid conducting myself in the same manner as Pharaoh, when he cautions us about when we sit and dine with a ruler?

Pro 23:1-3 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat, If you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, For that food is deceptive.

To deceive means to ensnare, to make a person believe what is not true; mislead.

Pineapples used to be reserved for Kings, but now this fruit is so plentiful it has become common for all, likewise all the thousands of other exotic fruits and plants from around the world. The banquets and smorgasbords of today would put any of the early king’s tables to shame on taste or variety, and who could resist and not be seduced by all the wonderful looking foods and dainty delicacies.

Pro 18:7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.

It is usually only after the heat of the orgy is over that a small reality of what was done to your body becomes evident. The heaviness in the stomach, the bloating and foul gas but next week we line up to repeat the debauchery.

Do you think our actions could be compared to a dog that keeps returning to his vomit?

The poisonous cocktails that we cook up as a result of our uncontrolled lusting is showing no respect for Christ’s body or displaying His wonderful works in our engineering. These chemicals can hold you under their powers to do what you ought not to do. God knew that controlling our desire for these tastes would take a most provocative picture to have any hope of alerting us to the pending dangers.

Obadiah 1:7-8 Your bread will set an ambush for you. (There is no understanding in him.) “Will I not on that day,” declares the Lord, “Destroy wise men from Edom and understanding from the mountain of Esau?”

(NASB) Luke 21:34 (Jesus speaking) “Be on your guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.” “But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order to have the strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

There are several realities of living, which have the potential to impede the function of the inner man, to a point where he is not cognition of the signs of the times, and therefore, makes no provisions to avoid the reality. Drunkenness, or excess of wine, are obvious threats and the worries of life produce only stress, but the one which we have all seemed to disregard completely is this word “dissipation”. Dissipation has the number 2897 for the reference in the Greek Dictionary, which states; properly a headache (as a seizure of pain) from drunkenness, ie. (by implication) a debauch (by analogy a glut): - surfeiting. Surfeiting means; an indulging in too much food, drink, etc… In the dictionary the definition of dissipation is; to indulge in pleasure to the point of harming oneself.

In his word dissipation, Jesus is warning us to be on guard and not allow ourselves to indulge in the pleasures of over eating because it will blind us and rob us of everything that is good. This is not what we think is overeating, but what God’s word tells us is eating that causes evil.

A poor man, of little means, will not have the money to indulge his desire to eat. He rations his food as to sustain his life not to use it as pleasure. The probability of being seduced by variety or abundance is greater to though who have the exposable recourses. Don’t let the great taste and all the wonderful combinations of all these foods seduce you. Your appetite is always going to lust for more, but don’t think when you give in you are getting something good, for these actions propagate evil that will rob God of worship as it hardens your heart.

Pro 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong.’

It is interesting that God’s word here says nothing about sexual intercourse outside of marriage in describing His adulteress. The question is: Do we have the eyes to see the correlation God is making and the foresight to redeploy this epiphany in the reading of His word?

Hosea 2:5 For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, “I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.”

Most, if not all of us, have been raised by parents who have played the harlot and now we are raising our children to go after that which we have been conditioned to desire. Is this why the sins of the father are visited to the fourth and fifth generation?

Jer 9:14 …walked after the stubbornness of their hearts and the Baals, as their father taught them.

Hosea 2:11 “I will also put and end to all her gaiety, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbath, and all her festal assemblies. And I will destroy her vines and fig trees, of which she said, ‘These are my wages which my lovers have given me.’ ”

Why would God want to put an end to all our joviality, our banquets, Thanksgivings, our Sunday dinners, Christmas’ and New Years celebrations? God is going to take away our food and drink to put an end to our shameful surfeiting.

Change the circumstances in the situation where she would normally resort to harlotry and there becomes nothing to seduce her. In other words, remove all her festal assembles by placing her in the house of mourning and remove the object that is the reason for her gaiety, namely food, and time may bring her to understanding that she was playing the harlot.

Stop paying the harlot, and she stops being the harlot.

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