When we speak of our hearts in this article we are not talking about the organ that pumps blood throughout our bodies. We are talking about the depths of our being, our thoughts, our intentions, our emotional make-up, etc. (Matthew 5:8, Matthew 5:27-28, Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 12:33-37, Matthew 22:34-40, Luke 2:8-19, Luke 9:46-48, Luke 12:22-34, Luke 24:13-32, John 14:1-3, John 16:1-22, Acts 2:36-46, II Corinthians 8:16, I Timothy 1:5, Hebrews 4:12, and I Peter 3:1-4). Our Lord looks upon our hearts to know us (I Samuel 16:7, I Chronicles 28:9, Proverbs 15:11, and Revelation 2:18-23). This fact should cause us to pay close attention to what is going on in our hearts. Think about this: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God” (I John 3:20-21).
We should know how important it is to have a good and honest heart (Luke 6:43-49, Luke 8:4-15, and Acts 8:5-24). The destruction of the majority of mankind, by way of the flood, came about because the thoughts of the hearts of humanity was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5-13). The plagues came upon Egypt because Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 7:14, Exodus 7:22, Exodus 8:32, Exodus 9:7, Exodus 9:13-35, etc.). Good and evil actions are born out of what goes on in our hearts (Matthew 15:1-20, Romans 2:1-29, Romans 6:17, Romans 10:8-10, and Hebrews 10:22).
If you have read all of the Scriptures referenced in this study already, you have learned a great deal about how important your heart is regarding your salvation. So, what do you think will happen if you have closed off your heart to that which is good and profitable to you? I would like to take us all back to a time wherein Judah had been punished for their transgressions. In this context the Lord was reminding them why they had been sent into captivity and had to suffer for their sins. Let’s think and learn from this (Romans 15:4).
Because Their Hearts Were Like Hard Stones
Zechariah was a prophet during the days of Darius (Zechariah 1:1). This would be the time that Judah had come out of Babylonian captivity and was in the process of rebuilding Jerusalem (Ezra 4:1-24, Ezra 6:1-15, Daniel 5:31-6:28, Daniel 9:1, and Haggai 1:1-2:23). During those days (Zechariah 7:1), we find this written: “Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying, Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain? And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate” (Zechariah 7:4-14).
We are supposed to learn from the heart problems that the children of Israel had in the past (Hebrews 3:1-4:12). We are supposed to learn that if we are going to properly obey our Lord to avoid His wrath, we have to make sure our hearts are not covered (Deuteronomy 10:12-20). We are supposed to learn from them that if we were to err, we have to fix our hearts to be able to properly be restored to the Lord (Jeremiah 4:1-14). The word of God WILL NOT work on us if our hearts are not properly prepared to receive it and obey it.
A Prepared Heart
The priest, the prophet known as Ezra shows us that we have to make ready our hearts for the word of God to take root and bear fruit. Notice: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:10). Each time you open the Scriptures, your heart has to be prepared. Each time you hear the word of God taught, your heart has to be prepared. Each time you examine yourself with the word of God, your heart has to be prepared. If your heart is not ready to have the word of God work in your life, you’ll not benefit from the Scriptures (Matthew 13:1-23).
When Stephen was stoned for teaching the truth, he stated that their problem was a heart problem (Acts 6:8-7:60). Humanity has long had a problem with being uncircumcised in the heart (Jeremiah 9:25-26). What about you? Is your heart open or closed? Do you set your mind on your way or is your mind open to the Lord’s way? Brethren, know your heart. We have proven our success or failure will ultimately be sourced from the heart.
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