In the sermon text this morning, Jesus will discuss biblical teaching on marriage and divorce, and he insists that Moses permitted divorce because the people of Israel had ďhard hearts.Ē This same description is given by the Lord in Markís gospel, and the word is used only once more in the New Testament in Mark 16 where Jesus rebukes the disciples after the resurrection because they refused to believe the testimony of others who had seen Jesus raised from the dead. The most famous episode of hard heartedness is in the story of the Exodus where Pharaoh repeatedly hardens his heart against the repeated pleas of Moses and Aaron to let Godís people go. Given the story of Pharaoh and the rebuke of Jesus in Mark 16, a pattern emerges that suggests that hardness of heart has to do particularly with refusing to listen to witnesses of the truth. Hardness of heart is fundamentally a refusal to listen, and it is the refusal to listen to Godís appointed messengers. And these messengers come in many forms. They are parents, they are spouses, they are teachers, they are elders, pastors, employers, friends, neighbors, and even children. And ultimately it is the Scriptures, the infallible record of Godís Word to you. Today if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts. Because to refuse to listen when God is speaking to you is to invite the judgments of God, and frequently the judgment of God is more of the same. The judgment is often God giving us the very thing weíve asked for. You may be pretending not to hear right now when your mother has asked you to do something, but donít be surprised when your make-believe becomes reality and you end up completely deaf, completely blind, and your hard heart becomes a heart of stone. If youíve been neglecting the counsel of God through his appointed messengers, repent now. Stop hardening your heart. Hard hearts only lead to sorrow, suffering, and death. Let go of your pride; let go of your sin. Come to Christ.
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