Back again? So glad you came! Here’s the eighth devotional in my series on woodworking.
My cousin built a little desk made of solid cherry wood. Soft pine would have been easier to carve, but when a pen pressed down on the writing surface, a dent would remain. The cherry wood’s hard surface resists the pressure of a ballpoint.
Hardness can be a positive quality, like firmness in a moral principle. But sometimes we harden our hearts to God’s direction.
Long ago, a certain pharaoh in Egypt refused to listen to a man named Moses when he told the ruler to release the Israelite slaves who labored in his fields. Pharaoh resisted, so Moses called down a plague on the land of Egypt. Pharaoh appeared to change his mind, but as soon as the crisis was over, he would harden his heart again and refuse to release the slaves. As Exodus 7:13 says, “Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard and stubborn. He refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted.” Over and over Pharaoh hardened his heart until it was harder than cherry wood. Eventually, that stubbornness exacted a high price. In the final plague, Pharaoh’s oldest son died.
The Israelites should have learned from Pharaoh’s example but later on God warned their descendants not to harden their hearts as their forefathers did at Meribah. And again in Jeremiah 7:26, God complained, “My people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful — even worse than their ancestors.”
Have you ever refused to listen to God’s voice? What keeps us from obeying God’s commands?
Word of Heaven, may I listen when you speak and be quick to obey.