Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Hardest Substance on Earth

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27).

Until recently the diamond was thought to be the hardest substance on earth, but recent studies have uncovered two minerals that are harder still: wurtzite boron nitride and lonsdaleite. Both materials are four to five times harder than any substance ever measured.

There is one substance even harder—the human heart. It can be the hardest thing on earth.

Do you live with a stubborn spouse, a rebellious teenager, a resentful mother-in-law?  God can create a new heart in that person: He can "remove the heart of stone from them and "give (them) a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).

The heart is that part of us that regulates our desires, thoughts and behavior. It can be redeemed. The most stubborn, obdurate, insensitive heart can become a heart of flesh—soft, reasonable, malleable and responsive.

And how does God melt the human heart? Through His love, a love that can "cause the rocks to flow.” And how does God's love reach our adversaries? Through our love. We have to take His love into our own hearts and then show it to them.

Years ago I saw a cartoon by Charles Addams on the cover of the New Yorker Magazine depicting an old curmudgeon, clad in rumpled pajamas and robe, barricaded in his room. He had just secured the door for the night with four locks, two deadbolts and a chain latch. Only after the last lock was fastened did he notice a small envelope that had been slipped beneath the door. On the envelope was a large sticker in the shape of a heart. Someone broke through his defenses with a valentine! Love found a way.

Ah, you say, you don't know the heart of the one I live with. He has a heart of stone.

No, I don't know that heart, but I do know this: God once drew enough water for millions of people from a slab of flint (Psalm 114:8). “Nothing is too hard for the Lord” (Jeremiah 32:17).

Having written that may I issue a caveat: I have framed my thoughts in an optative mood, for we can only be hopeful, not certain. God can soften any heart, but He has granted each of us the dignity of self-determination. We can resist His will.

Pharaoh “hardened his heart,” “hardened his heart,” “hardened His heart” (8:15,32), and so God “hardened his heart” (Exodus 9:12), a judicial hardening for which there was no remedy (Proverbs 9:21). God will plead with us, he will wait on us, but if we long resist His wise and loving will, He will give us what we desire. But, in consequence, He will send a swelling emptiness into our souls (Psalm 106:14).

David Roper

1 1.25.16

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