A Hardened Heart
December 22, 2020
Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:3-9).
The Jews believed the heart to be the repository of good and evil. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18). Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart (Psalm 97:11). The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart (Psalm 119:69). It was considered a person’s moral compass.
The first soil in our Lord’s parable is called ‘the wayside’ or pathway soil - hardpan. Nothing grows on it because the soil is impenetrable. Grass seed, even weed seed lands on it but cannot penetrate it, so it lays on top of the ground until the birds come and eat it. It is descriptive of a person who has a ‘hard’ or ‘hardened’ heart - the Gospel cannot gain inroads into the ‘heart’ of the person. Pharaoh’s heart was hard toward the words of Moses who demanded the release of the Jews from slavery (Exodus 7:13-14,22; 8:19; 9:7,35).
A hardened heart refuses to consider what is good, true, pure, holy, and righteous. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them (Matthew 13:13-15). We will deal with this passage later.
People can harden their own heart. They can hear the Gospel and reject it. The majority of the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees were prime examples, as was Judas Iscariot. They met Jesus face to face and rejected Him! Christians can harden their heart with regard to God’s will for their lives. They can refuse to live a life pleasing to God. I pray this cannot be said of you.
Kristi Woods lists 7 warning signs of a hardening heart:  lack of understanding - Mark 8:17;  bitterness and resentment - Ephesians 4:31-32;  isolation from God and others - Genesis 4;  refusing to forgive - Luke 17:3-4;  indifference - Hebrews 2:1-4;  pride - Proverbs 16:18; and  refusing to be ministered to - John 13:5-14.
“Lord Jesus, may my heart never be hardened toward You, Your will for my life, or toward the people whom You have brought along side me to minister the Gospel of Your Kingdom. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”