Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday December 15 Ask

His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. "Matthew 13:10-17 NLT

Hardened hearts. For me these are two of the scariest words in the Bible. The thought that a person could get to the point, through their own actions (or inactions) that the Word of God and the love of Jesus could not penetrate is nothing short of frightening and Jesus explains why in this passage. Not only would we not be able to understand more, but even the understanding we do have would be taken away. The result is getting to a place where, so Jesus says, we are no longer choosing to ignore Him, but in fact we are no longer able to understand, nor turn to Him. The consequence of this is that we cannot accept His healing. A dire consequence indeed, not only for this life, but more importantly for the life to come, when we need to be healed of our sins in order to dwell with Him rather than be eternally separated and cast into darkness. Fortunately, the converse is also true... to those who do listen and turn to Him, even more understanding will be given. In fact, he says, they will be given an "abundance of knowledge". We have only to seek knowledge and in humility ask for it: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV  In addition we have the Holy Spirit to teach us: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth...He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. John 16:13-14 NIV Are there any of us who do NOT wish to see more of what Jesus wants to show receive greater understanding of his teaching? Ask, seek and knock “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8 NLT

God of all knowing, we do come to You at this time to seek more understanding. Lead us, O Lord to seek You everyday and to long for and ask You to guide us in wisdom and truth. Lord, please never let our hearts grow cold and hardened to the point that we can no longer hear Your voice, but rather nurture in us the desire for that which You desire that our hearts would be aligned with Yours. We ask this in Jesus' name. AMEN!


Tim g said...

I am struck that in the OT book of Exodus, God hardens the heart of Pharaoh as a deliberate act. The Lord must have a purpose in the act of turning someone out, so to speak. Perhaps this explains the fearsomeness of God hardening the heart of the believer

Tracy said...

I'm with you Tim...the hard hearts in the above passsage are understandable because they result from the choice of the individual to reject Jesus. But the Exodus passage (and there is at least one more somewhere which eludes me now) I have never been able to get around. I still struggle with it greatly. The only thing I can come up with is that it was a case like this one until God simply hardened Pharoah's heart permanently because he was doing it himself all along. Still a frightening prospect especially for those who have loved ones who reject the Lord outright =(