Harden Not Your Heart
by George Kirkpatrick


Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
E-mail: Vitalwords@aol.com
A complete listing of books at: http://www.newfoundationspubl.org/titles.htm


The Bible is a book of warnings. It is also a book of promises. When we walk in God's will, we can claim His promises. When we ignore God's will, we can depend on His judgments. God has warned the disobedient in many ways. He has given us many examples in His Word of those who were disobedient to His will. By looking in His Word we can know the end of our disobedience. We can also expect His prescribed judgments.

Many today believe because we live in a modern time, God does not understand the circumstances in which we live. These are ignorant of an all-knowing, everlasting God. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed concerning our God:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure:" Isaiah 46:10

God has declared the end from the beginning in His Word. Our modern way of life is no surprise to Him as some would have us believe. He was able to declare the end from the beginning because He is the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving God. He is also a God of judgment. Only one Psalm is ascribed to Moses. In his Psalm he declared:

"For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." Psalm 90:4

God is timeless. Man is bound by time and place. God is not bound by time nor space. To God a thousand years in His sight is as yesterday. Another unknown Psalmist wrote:

"But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end." Psalm 102:27

Man with his finite mind cannot understand an eternal God. We also cannot understand judgment without vengeance. John, the beloved, informed us:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is love." I John 4:8

God is love. God does not love. He is love. When we come to this understanding, we know we can love because the love of God is in us. Because God is love, His judgment upon mankind is also bathed in love. God's judgments are always tempered with mercy and love, but His judgments are also sure and just. Those who believe God is out of touch with the times need to consider the words that flowed from the pen of the writer of Hebrews:

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8

Jesus was given as our example of how we should walk in this life. Peter recorded:

"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:" I Peter 2:21

The phrase should follow means "to tread upon one's footsteps". How should we walk in this life? The same as our example walked. Many make excuses for the way they walk. Their excuses are not acceptable in the sight of God. We need to understand the Bible was given to man so He could know how to live his life pleasing in the sight of God. Man does not need to suffer God's judgment. It is only when man wants to walk his own way that God's judgments come. Jesus' life is to be our example.

God also gave us ancient Israel to be an example of His judgments. Ancient Israel did not heed God's words. They refused to walk in His ways. The Apostle Paul enlightened us to the fact:

"Now all these things happened unto them (Israel) for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." I Corinthians 10:11

God's judgment came upon Israel because of their disobedience. God's judgment on Israel is an example to us who live in the end of this age. Israel was not only disobedient, they were rebellious. They were not ignorant of God's Word, they knew God's Word and rebelled against it. It behooves us to study the Old Testament to know Israel's sin, and how God dealt with it. The Apostle James wrote:

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17

God does not always judge sin by our actions. He also judges sin because of our inaction.

When we know what God desires us to do, and we refuse, it is accounted to us as sin. The word sin is HARMATRIA and means "missing the mark". When we miss the mark, we are missing God's intended purpose for our lives, and it becomes sin, and God always judges sin. An unknown Psalmist warns those who live in the end of this age:

"Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:" Psalm 95:8

The word provocation means "to provoke". The Psalmist warned all who would read,

"Harden not your heart".

Israel hardened their hearts (minds) against God in the wilderness, provoking God's wrath. When we harden our hearts toward God we, too, provoke His judgment in our lives.

Israel wondered in the wilderness for forty years because they were disobedient to the voice of God. Both Moses and the prophet Jeremiah called this wilderness place the "Iron Furnace". Israel's experience in the Iron Furnace was not pleasant. It was God's desire for Israel, His chosen people, to honour and worship Him, instead they rebelled against His grace, mercy, and supply.

The Iron Furnace was Israel's place of refinement. God was preparing Israel to inhabit His promise land. In the natural, one of the uses of the furnace is to soften metal. Today those who do not have a soft, malleable heart of repentance toward God will be tried in God's Iron Furnace of His judgment. The prophet Isaiah, speaking of Israel declared:

"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

God will again sit as a refiner of His silver and gold. We, too, will be tried in God's Iron Furnace of Affliction. Moses recorded God's words against Israel:

"Because all those men which have seen My glory, and My miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice;  Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:" Numbers 14:22-23

Those who provoked God in the wilderness did not see the land He had promised them. All those over the age of twenty, except two, died in the wilderness. Moses recorded:

"And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them." Deuteronomy 2:14

Only two over the age of twenty at the time of God's pronounced judgment would enter into their promise land. All the rest died in thirty-eight years in their wilderness journey. These were all buried in the place of their rebellion and disobedience. Those who rebelled against God's voice lost their promise land.

The only two over the age of twenty who would enter in to God's promise land were Joshua and Caleb. They were the two spies who proclaimed to the people "Let us go up at once and possess the land," Numbers 13:30. All the others rebelled and hardened their hearts against God who had delivered them from their Egyptian bondage.

Today many are proclaiming the Kingdom Age and speaking of the New Day. Many of these will never receive the promises of God because they refuse the voice of change. The writer of Hebrews gave the same warning as the unknown Psalmist:

"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:" Hebrews 3:8

God is warning His people not to harden their hearts as Israel our example did. The word harden means "to become hard, obstinate, and stubborn". When the Bible speaks of hardening our hearts, it is referring to our becoming insensitive to the Word of God. When our heart becomes hard, then we set up a resistance to His Word.

Many times without knowing it God's people become defiant to God's Word, and they resist any conviction God brings in their life. When they refuse to hear, they refuse to change, then they resist conviction. They have hardened their hearts to God's will and His way. These have closed their minds to anything God would speak to them. They want to follow their own will, and go their own way. In doing this, they allow God no access to their lives.

Unfortunately, the church is full of such people. When the pastor begins to speak of change, conviction, and crucifying the old man, these do one of three things:

1   they either complain to the powers that be in the church
2   tune out completely what the pastor is saying
3   or look for another church with an easier message

These totally resist and refuse to hear what the Spirit is saying unto the churches. What is the Spirit saying unto the churches?

"While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." Hebrews 3:15

The writer warns, "Today, if ye will hear His voice...". The today He is referring to is the day in which we live. Paul warned:

"For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." II Corinthians 6:2

Today is the Day of Salvation. Today is the day we should be seeking to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, so we can be made ready for the New Day God is preparing for His people.

When God records something once for His people they need to pay attention. When He records it twice we should take His warning very serious. When He records it three times, then it becomes an urgent message to His body. The Hebrew writer quoted the phrase, "Harden not your hearts" three times. The third time he wrote:

"Again, He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Hebrews 4:7

This is speaking of God's seventh day of creation. We are coming to the end of the sixth day. God's seventh day is the full, one thousand year day when death will be overcome in the lives of God's people.

When man sinned in the garden, God informed His creation:

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:17

Adam and Eve did not die in the twenty-four hour day in which they ate the fruit. In fact, Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years, Genesis 5:5. Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, declared:

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." II Peter 3:8

One of the Lord's days is a thousand years, and one thousand years is one day. Man has always died before he lived one thousand years. Methuselah lived the longest, nine hundred and sixty-nine years. Jared lived to be nine hundred and fifty. But no man ever lived one thousand years. This is why God has given us a millennium, a one thousand year day when death will be overcome in His creation man. Until man lives this one thousand year day, death will still have dominion in his life. The Apostle Paul spoke of the day when man would gain the victory over death:

"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" I Corinthians 15:54-55

Paul stated this change would come upon mankind in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. But this change will only come upon those who have heard God's voice, and have allowed the Holy Spirit to make the needed changes in their lives so when this change comes they will be in a place where God can bestow eternal life upon them.

The church has taught for years eternal life for mankind was in a place called "heaven". We need to understand heaven is not a physical place, but the Spiritual realm of God. Eternal life only exists in the Spirit. There is no eternal life in the flesh. Those who have hardened their hearts as their example Israel did will never walk into the New Day. The New Day is a day of rejoicing and praise before our God.

Israel's coming victoriously out of Egypt in the time of Moses is a type and shadow of God's deliverance in the earth today. Egypt symbolizes the world and the worldly governments in power today. God not only wants us to be free from the world, He also wants us to be free from godless governments.

Israel was in total slavery to Egypt. Today most of God's people are enslaved to the world and to worldly governments. Government has enslaved God's people through their "giveaway programs" and their control in every aspect of their lives. The worldly governments rule through fear and intimidation. We have God's Word:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:7

If we are allowing ourselves to be ruled by the spirit of fear, then we have no power, our love will be hindered, and we certainly will not have a sound mind.

God went into great detail concerning Israel's deliverance so we can understand how God's promises to His people will always be fulfilled.

"And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians." Numbers 33:3

God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt with an high hand. The raised hand has always been the sign of victory and power. When God delivered Israel, it was His victory and power that was displayed before the Egyptians. When Israel left they took all the spoils of Egypt with them. They had enough golden earrings for Aaron to make a golden calf. They had enough gold, silver, brass, linen, and lumber to build the tabernacle in the wilderness. They had all the sheep, cattle, camels, and asses left in the whole land of Egypt. When the Egyptian army pursued Israel it was destroyed in the Red Sea. Because of God's great power, Israel's victory was complete. They were totally set free from their Egyptian bondage.

God had kept every promise He made to Abraham concerning His people, and yet Israel hardened their hearts toward Him. Ten times they provoked Him to anger. Ten times they turned from God to serve self, ten times God brought judgment upon Israel, and ten times God forgave them and allowed them to possess their promise land.

Today God's people are no different. How many times have we provoked Him to anger because of our hardened hearts? We need to ask, "How many times will God's people provoke Him to anger before His judgment falls? The Apostle Paul warns:

"Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents." I Corinthians 10:9

Does our life bring glory to God? Do we tempt Christ to see how much we can get away with, or how much He will accept?

When Israel rebelled, God sent serpents in their midst, and many died, Numbers 21:6. Moses made a brass serpent and put it on a pole. All who looked upon Moses' brass serpent would be spared. Israel, like many today, took God's instrument of deliverance and made a god out of it. When Hezekiah became king, he rid Israel of all their idols:

"He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan." II Kings 18:4

Israel had taken the brass serpent and made a god of it, worshiping the symbol of their deliverance more than they worshiped God their deliverer. Today God's people are no different. They are more proud of the buildings and their instruments of worship, than they are of the God they pretend to be worshiping. They have made gods of things, and have raised up idols in their hearts. They have hardened their hearts, and no longer hear or heed the voice of God. Paul continued his admonition to the church at Corinth:

"Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer." I Corinthians 10:10

God's Word is sure and true. If we do not take heed to its warnings, then the church, as Israel, will suffer severe judgment. This we can be sure of. Israel murmured. They murmured about having no meat. They murmured about God's chosen leadership.

Murmuring is the sign of discontent and unbelief. Yet all we hear today in the church is murmuring: murmuring because their church is not quite as classy as the one down the street, murmuring because they don't have a new car, a bigger home, or a better job, murmuring because the leadership of the church is too hard or too easy. The people don't dress to suit, or their hair is too long, or someone has a beard. Maybe its because a lady wears slacks, or cuts her hair. Murmuring has become a habit in most churches because they have mislaid the reason Jesus died. They focus on issues instead of the risen Christ. Truly the destroyer is having a field day in the modern church. The writer of Hebrews warns:

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Hebrews 3:12

An evil heart is a hardened heart. A hardened heart is full of unbelief. A hardened heart has departed from the living God.

"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13

Sin is deceitful. Sin hardens the heart. When a hardened heart sins, the hardened heart will justify its sin. When those who sin are admonished, they become even harder. These continue to justify their sin, until their sin controls their whole life. Jeremiah spoke of those who are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. He proclaimed they...

". . .come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Jeremiah 7:10

The church has developed the mentality they have a license to sin because of God's forgiveness. Israel made this same mistake. They thought they could sin and offer a sacrifice for their sin, and they would be clean before God. They, as the church, forgot one thing: sin hardens. When we sin, even though we are forgiven, it becomes ever easier to sin, until God's conviction will no longer bring us to repentance. Then we are stuck with our sin. Our heart becomes hard and our judgment is sure. God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel:

"But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted." Ezekiel 3:7

God raised up Ezekiel to warn Israel of their sin. God told Ezekiel Israel would not hear what He spake because they would not hear Him. Why would Israel not hear God or Ezekiel? They would not hear because of their impudent and hardened heart. The word impudent means "allowing no change of mind, unrepentant". Paul wrote this same message to the church at Rome:

"But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;" Roman 2:5

Paul warned those who have a hard and unrepentant heart if they refuse to change they will suffer the wrath of God. As Paul declared, this is the righteous judgment of God upon the hard and impenitent heart.

 Saul and David

Israel was given us as an example. Israel's first two kings are examples of a hard heart and a repentant heart. Saul was a man who was hard-hearted. When Saul made a mistake, he justified himself and blamed others. When Samuel went to anoint Saul King, Saul hid himself. He knew he had no qualifications that enabled him to rule God's people. If Saul would succeed as King, it would only be by and through God's ability in him. There was nothing in himself to make him a successful king. After God anointed him king, Saul got high and lifted up in himself, and became disobedient to the voice and will of God. God ordered Saul to destroy the Amalekites, He gave him direct orders through the prophet Samuel:

"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." I Samuel 15:3

Saul was to leave nothing alive. God had given him explicit instructions about what he was to do. But Saul, in his self-exultation, did what he wanted to do, ignoring the Word of God:

"But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly." I Samuel 15:9

God sent Samuel to Saul. God's words to Samuel concerning Saul was:

"It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night." Samuel 15:11

God repented of making Saul, king. He became disobedient, rebellious, and would justify his rebellion and disobedience believing he was above God's judgment. After all had God not called and chosen him to be king? Many in the church today have made this same mistake. "After all are we not called and chosen? So how can God judge us whom He has called and chosen?" Saul continued to justify himself:

"And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord." I Samuel 15:13

Saul justified his actions before Samuel. Saul's words were, "I have performed the commandment of the Lord." Saul, like many today, especially pastors and men who stand in the pulpit, are high and lifted up in their position. It is more important to them to be recognized before men than to be doing the Word of God. They stand proud in their exalted position, proclaiming, "I am doing what the Lord has commanded me to do". Like Saul, they are high and lifted up in their own importance. They forget God does not judge us by what comes out of our mouths, but He judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.

After Saul's proclamation, Samuel simply asked:

"What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" I Samuel 15:14

God has promised our ways will find us out. Saul's sin was exposed in the ears of Samuel and the eyes of God.

"And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed." I Samuel 15:15

Who did Saul blame? "...THEY...". Saul was the perfect example of a hardened heart. It was not him, it was "they" who took the best of the sheep and oxen. Why? They gave the reason, "...so they could sacrifice them unto God".

A disobedient, hardened heart will not only justify and blame others for their sin, their explanation will be, "I did it for God. It is OK in the sight of God because I did it for him. Therefore I cannot be judged by man." Samuel spoke to Saul:

"And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." I Samuel 15:22

To obey God's voice is better than sacrifice. Today the church is full of "do-gooders". They serve on every committee, head up every club, and they are present at every function. Their lives would seem to be one of sacrifice, yet their lives do not reveal the life of Christ. Many times these "do-gooders" simply have a spirit of control, and want everything to be done their way. When they are left out, their fury is something to behold. These need to heed Samuel's words that to obey the voice of God is better than any sacrifice we can make in this life.

Saul spared Agag the King of the Amalekites. Being king, Saul exalted the office of king above being obedient to the one who made him king. In other words, the office was more important than his obedience to the voice of God. In Saul's mind the office of king was unapproachable. He could not destroy Agag without threatening his own position. Therefore he saved Agag alive. It was Samuel who put an end to Agag to fulfill God's will. Samuel's words to Saul were:

"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king." I Samuel 15:23

A hardened heart is a rebellious heart. A hardened heart is also a stubborn heart. Rebellion is as the practice of witchcraft in the sight of God. Stubbornness is as breaking God's laws and worshiping idols. Many of God's people have set up idols in their hearts when they exalt their own importance. Saul was rejected from being king over Israel that day. Samuel spoke to Saul:

". . .When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?" I Samuel 15:17

When Saul was little in his own eyes, God made him king. In his self-exultation, God rejected him as king. God spoke to Samuel to go to Bethlehem and anoint David to be king over His people, Israel. David was a shepherd. He knew how to care for His father's flock. David had one qualification Saul did not possess. God spoke this qualification through Samuel:

"But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee." I Samuel 13:14

David's qualification to be king was that he was "...a man after God's own heart". Although David made many mistakes, he had a repentant heart. His taking of Bethsheba and the killing of Uriah her husband was the most serious. When Nathan the prophet pointed out David's sin, he immediately repented and humbled himself before God. Many of David's Psalms speak of his repentant heart. One of the Psalms he wrote at this time was Psalm Fifty-One. It was a Psalm pleading to God for forgiveness. His words were:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me." Psalm 51:10-11

David knew sin hardens the heart and contaminates the mind. He also knew his sin would separate him from God's presence, and would grieve the Holy Spirit anointing on his life. David had a repentant heart. He was a man after the heart of God. Paul spoke of David in his sermon to them of Antioch:

"And when He had removed him (Saul), He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfil all My will." Acts 13:22

David fulfilled God's will. Today God is looking for men and women who will fulfill His will. He is looking for men and women who will hear His voice and have a repentant heart. It is only natural for mankind to err. God knew this, and provided for this in His covenant with His creation, man. The beloved John wrote:

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" I John 2:1

It is God's will we do not sin. But if we do miss the mark in any situation, then He has provided an advocate for us with the Father. The word advocate means "counselor or legal assistant". Today we call them "lawyers", our mouthpiece before God. The Greek word for advocate is PARAKLETOS, and was translated four times as "Comforter". Our advocate is Jesus Christ the Righteous. Our Comforter is also the Holy Spirit, John 14:26.

The Holy Spirit is the convicting power in our lives. When we are convicted we can do two things about it: we can repent and be restored unto our God as David; or, we can harden our hearts, make excuses, and try to justify our sin, as Saul did. If we do the later, we, too, will lose the Kingdom.

Nebuchadnezzar

Another man who lost his kingdom because of pride was Nebuchadnezzar. God raised up Nebuchadnezzar to rule the whole known world. God gave Nebuchadnezzar a vision that should have changed his life.

"I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:" Daniel 4:13-14

In this vision, God showed Nebuchadnezzar a tree cut down. The tree branches were cut off, all the tree's leaves were shaken to the ground, and all the fruit of the tree was scattered:

"Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him." Daniel 4:15-16

This tree represented Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom. The branches represented his kingdom outreach that would be cut off. The leaves represented his kingdom glory that would be shaken to the ground. The fruit represented all his accomplishments. These would be scattered. But in all this, Nebuchadnezzar's stump would remain in the earth. In other words, the root of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom would not be destroyed.

Around the stump would be two bands: one of iron and one of brass. Iron is the symbol of strength. Brass is the symbol of sin. The word band means "bondage or imprisonment". As many today Nebuchadnezzar had become imprisoned by the bonds of his pride and self-importance. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom would be held together by his own strength and his sin.

Nebuchadnezzar was given the heart of a beast because of his sins. Today man's sin is more vile then any time in history. This is because the people are serving a government who has the heart (mind) of a beast. When government justifies sin, then sin abounds. The Apostle Peter, who was given the keys of the Kingdom, spoke of the beast nature in man:

Those who are governed by the old, beast nature will perish in their own corruption. The word corruption means "moral decay". When man becomes morally debase, and the old beast nature is catered to, then, man's heart is hardened towards God, and he will perish in his own moral debauchery.

God gave Nebuchadnezzar a vision of the demise of his kingdom if he did not change his ways. God is speaking this same thing today to His people. But God's people, as Nebuchadnezzar, are not heeding God's voice.

"At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" Daniel 4:29 & 30

It only took Nebuchadnezzar twelve months to forget God's warning. Nebuchadnezzar took all the credit for what God had given him. His heart had become hardened to God's warning. He became high and lifted up in his own eyes, and demanded the glory God reserved for Himself alone. The prophet Isaiah spoke of those who want to share God's glory:

"I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images." Isaiah 42:8

God will share His glory with no man. Those who want the glory that belongs to the Father will be cut off and not receive the glory God has promised to those who love Him. The Apostle Paul spoke to those who are high and lifted up in themselves:

"For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" I Corinthians 4:7

Paul asked, "What have we got, we did not receive? If we received it, where did we receive it from?" If it is worth having, it came from the Father. Now if we have received it from the Father, why do we act like it is something that is resident in ourselves?

When God wants to use man, man generally gets high and lifted up in himself. When God brings chastisement to humble the soul of man, man either repents or becomes very hard hearted and begins to defy God in everything He tries to do in his life. Nebuchadnezzar soon discovered the swift judgment of God.

"While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." Daniel 4:31-32

God's judgment came while the words were still in Nebuchadnezzar's mouth and the vision of his kingdom's demise came to pass. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom departed from him. He was driven from men, and given the heart of a beast. He ate grass as oxen until God's judgment was fulfilled.

Approximately thirty-one years after this event Nebuchadnezzar's grandson Belshazzar was throwing a drunken party before all the leaders of his kingdom. He had called for the holy vessels from the temple in Jerusalem. His princes, wives, and concubines drank wine from these vessels that had been dedicated to God, Daniel 5:3. Because of these vile acts, God sent forth the fingers of a man's hand, and wrote on the wall of Belshazzar's palace:

". . .Mene, Mene! Tekel! Peres! Upharsin!" Daniel 5:25

Daniel the prophet was called to interpret the handwriting on the wall. During Daniel's interpretation, he revealed to Belshazzar the reason for his grandfather's demise. Speaking of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel proclaimed:

"And for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:  And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appointeth over it whomsoever He will." Daniel 5:19-21

Belshazzar should have learned from his grandfather's experience. But like Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar also became lifted up with pride. His heart became hardened toward the one who had given him his kingdom. Belshazzar, like many today, did not believe in God's Judgment. Those who do not believe in God's judgment are likely to lose their kingdom promises also. Daniel gave Belshazzar the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall. The interpretation was:

When God's judgment comes, there will be many who will be weighed in God's balances and found wanting. That night Darius, the Mede, took Babylon, and Belshazzar was killed. Belshazzar at this time was seventeen years of age. Today, there are those as Belshazzar, who will not heed God's warning:

"And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:" II Peter 3:4-5

Today those who deny God's judgment are willingly ignorant. They are not ignorant because they do not know, they are ignorant because they do not want to believe. Belshazzar was not ignorant of God's judgment, he was willingly ignorant because he wanted to do what he wanted, instead of doing what he knew was right.

How like God's people today. They know they should walk the way Jesus walked, but they would rather make excuses why they cannot walk this way. To walk as Jesus walked requires a changed way of thinking. They choose, instead, to do their own thing, go their own way, and think their own thoughts, with the attitude, "God can like it or lump it." God help them if God decides to lump it. Their hardened hearts will receive swift destruction in the day of God's judgment.

There was an end to Nebuchadnezzar's vision:

"This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." Daniel 4:17

Nebuchadnezzar's vision was only "until the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men". Nebuchadnezzar came to this place and His kingdom was restored to him:

"And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation:

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou?

At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase." Daniel 4:34-37

When Nebuchadnezzar learned it was God who had given him his kingdom, and the inhabitants of the earth were as nothing, himself included, then he blessed, praised, and honoured the one who liveth forever who has an everlasting dominion.

When man learns, as Nebuchadnezzar did, to extol and honor the King of heaven, and abase himself of his pride and his hardened, unrepentant heart, then God will return His Kingdom to His creation man.

God is calling His people unto Himself. What was the message Jesus had for His people while He walked upon the earth? "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand". Will this be your testimony, or will your testimony be as the multitude to whom Stephen spoke?

"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Acts 7:51

Israel resisted, and God judged them. God called them stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart. Their hearts and ears were uncircumcised. The flesh had not been cut away in their lives to expose the headship of Christ. They resisted the change the Holy Spirit wanted to bring in their lives.

Things have not changed much from the Old Testament. God's people are still stiffnecked and uncircumcised in their hearts and in their ears. They are still resisting the change the Holy Spirit desires to make. This is why the writer of Hebrews wrote:

"While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." Hebrews 3:15

God is speaking to us today. Will we continue to resist Him in what He is trying to bring forth in our lives, or will we repent and be restored so we can hear His voice? Luke summed it all up for our day when he wrote:

"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:36

Our prayer should be, "Make us willing vessels, to accept the changes God wants to bring in our lives, so we are truly worthy to escape God's judgment".

We need to remember the words of the All-Wise Solomon:

"Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief." Proverbs 28:14


Further Discussion

God's Warning of Coming Judgment
The Iron Furnace
Resistance to Change
Heaven, the Spiritual Realm
Freedom from Egypt (the world)
The Deceitfulness of Sin
The Do-Gooders
A Man After God's Own Heart
The Prideful "Nebuchadnezzars" of today
Willingly Ignorant


Questions

1.God's Word, the Bible, is a book of and a book of .
2.How should we walk in this life?
3.Define the following:
should follow
sin
harden
provocation
impudent
advocate
corruption
4.Man does not need to suffer God's . It is only when man wants to that God's judgments come.
5.To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is . James 4:17
6.Why did all those over the age of twenty, except two men, die in the wilderness journey?
7.Why was Israel's experience in the wilderness referred to as the "Iron Furnace"?
8.When the Bible speaks of hardening our hearts, it is referring to our becoming and to the Word of God. Explain how this leads to resisting conviction:
9.God's seventh day is the full, when death will be in the lives of God's people.
10.The change that comes in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye will only come upon those who have .
11.Heaven is not a but a .

12.Murmuring is the sign of and . What are many in the church murmuring about in our day?
13.An evil heart is a . A hardened heart has departed from .
14.What is the danger of a hardened heart?
15.Name three characteristics of today's "do-gooders" in the church.
16.When a hardened heart rejects God's Word and set in.
17.What qualification did David have that God desired in kingship?
18.Today, God is looking for men and women with repentant hearts who will .
19.Our advocate is .
Our comforter is .
20.When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin we can do what two things?
21.What will become of those who want to share God's glory?
22.To walk as Jesus walked requires .
23.What must happen before God's Kingdom can be restored to His creation man?
24.A stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart in which the flesh has not been cut away to expose the headship of Christ always resists .
25.Personal Questions
How should we walk in this life?
How many times have we provoked God to anger because of our hardened hearts?
How many times will God's people provoke Him to anger before His judgment falls?
How can God judge us whom He has called and chosen?
Does our life bring glory to God?
Do we tempt Christ to see how much we can get away with, or how much He will accept?
"Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand". Will this be your testimony?
God is speaking to us today. Will we continue to resist Him in what He is trying to bring forth in our lives, or will we repent and be restored so we can hear His voice?
Harden Not Your Heart Answer Key
1.God's Word, the Bible is a book of and a book of .
Warnings and promises
2.How should we walk in this life?
We should walk as our example, Jesus Christ, walked
3.Define the following:
should follow to tread upon one's footsteps
sin missing the mark
harden to become hard, obstinate, and stubborn
provocation to provoke
impudent allowing no change of mind, unrepentant
advocate counselor or legal assistant, Comforter
corruption moral decay
4.Man does not need to suffer God's . It is only when man wants to that God's judgments come.
Judgment; walk his own way
5.To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is _ _ _ .
Sin
6.Why did all over the age of twenty, except two men, die in their wilderness journey? Today many who proclaim the Kingdom Age and the New Day will never receive the promised of God. Why?
Because of their rebellion and disobedience
Because they refuse the voice of change
7.Why was Israel's experience in the wilderness referred to as the "Iron Furnace"?
The Iron Furnace was Israel's place of refinement. God was preparing Israel to inhabit His promise land. In the natural, one of the uses of the furnace is soften metal. Today those who do not have a soft, malleable heart of repentance toward God will be tried in God's Iron Furnace of His judgment.
8.When the Bible speaks of hardening our hearts, it is referring to our becoming and to the Word of God. Explain how this leads to resisting conviction:
Insensitive; resistance
God's people become defiant to God's Word, and they resist any conviction God brings in their life. When they refuse to hear, they refuse to change, then they resist conviction. They have hardened their hearts to God's will and His way. These have closed their minds to anything God would speak to them. They want to follow their own will, and go their own way. In doing this, they allow God no access to their lives.
9.God's seventh day is the full, when death will be in the lives of God's people.
one thousand year day; overcome
10.The change that comes in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye will only come upon those who have .
Heard God's voice and have allowed the Holy Spirit to make the needed changes in their lives
11.Heaven is not a but a .
Physical place; Spiritual realm
12.Murmuring is the sign of and . What are many in the church murmuring about in our day?
Discontent and unbelief;
murmuring because their church is not quite as classy as the one down the street, murmuring because they don't have a new car, a bigger home, or a better job, murmuring because the leadership of the church is too hard or to easy. The people don't dress to suit, or their hair is too long, or someone has a beard. Maybe its because a lady wears slacks, or cuts her hair.
13.An evil heart is a . A hardened heart is full of . A hardened heart has departed from .
Hardened heart; full of unbelief; from the living God.
14.What is the danger of a hardened heart?
Sin is deceitful. Sin hardens the heart. When a hardened heart sins, the hardened heart will justify its sin. When those who sin are admonished, they become even harder. These continue to justify their sin, until their sin controls their whole life.
15.Name three characteristics of today's "do-gooders" in the church?
Those who serve on every committee, head up every club,, present at every function
16.When a hardened heart rejects God's Word and set in.
Rebellion and Stubborness
17.What qualification did David have that God desired in kingship?
He was a man after God's own heart. He had a repentant heart
18.Today God is looking for men and women with repentant hearts who will .
Fulfill His will
19.Our advocate is .
Our Comforter is .
Jesus Christ the Righteous
The Holy Spirit
20.When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin we can do what two things?
We can repent and be restored
or, we can harden our hearts
21.What will become of those who want to share God's glory?
God will share His glory with no man. Those who want the glory that belongs to the Father will be cut off and not receive the glory of God.
22.To walk as Jesus walked requires .
A changed way of thinking
23.What must happen before God's Kingdom can be restored to His creation man?
Man must learn to extol and honor the King of heaven, and abase himself of his pride and his hardened, unrepentant heart.
24.A stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart in which the flesh has not been cut away to expose the headship of Christ always resists .
The change the Holy Spirit wants to bring in their lives
25.Personal Questions
How should we walk in this life?
How many times have we provoked God to anger because of our hardened hearts?
How many times will God's people provoke Him to anger before His judgment
falls?
How can God judge us whom He has called and chosen?
Does our life bring glory to God?
Do we tempt Christ to see how much we can get away with, or how much He will accept?
"Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand". Will this be your testimony
God is speaking to us today. Will we continue to resist Him in what He is trying to bring forth in our lives, or will we repent and be restored so we can hear His voice?


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