The Pharisees came to test Jesus and ask is it right for a man to divorce his wife for whatever reason? Jesus answered NO because, God intended marriage to be a life long. The only authorized reason is sexual immorality. So they test Jesus and ask why the Moses law permits divorce? Jesus answers that it is because you are hard-hearted. I am not here to talk about marriage and divorce, but one word ‘hard heart’ struck me. Does it mean if you have a hard heart, God will come to your terms rather than his? What are its implications? I like to point it from a few instances in scripture.
So if you’re a hard hearted person, does God come and do things your way? The passage above seems yes. If you’re stubborn God ‘might’ come and do in your terms, you may think you’re the winner. However, when you read further down the passage you see that you get it your way, but heaven does not call you a champion, but ‘adulterer!’
“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”” Matthew 19:3-9 NIV
As I stated above, my topic is not marriage or divorce, but about getting it your way. Here we see if you have a hard heart it might see heaven in agreement with you, but in reality you become a part of adultery. So what is God’s way? If you’re a Christian what should you do? As a Christian you must submit your problems to God in prayer and seek counsel from God who answers your prayer.
Yes, it’s true, people are different. There are people with very hard hearts who listen to no one and do things in their own way. It seems as if you’re talking to the wall! They don’t care how many others get hurt because of them.
In Acts of Apostles, we read a man called Saul. He’s very stubborn in his views that he starts persecuting anyone who become Christian. Acts 8:1 says Stephen-the first martyr for Christ- was killed with Saul’s approval, it reads later on he went with murderous threats and went into every house and dragged men and women and put them in prison. Because of him the early church got scattered, many ran for their lives to far places including Damascus. Later, when he heard there are more Christians hiding in Damascus, he got authority letters from the high priest to bring the people to Jerusalem and put them in prison. The early church which was persecuted, did not gather to fight Saul, instead they prayed for him! When Saul approached the gates of the City of Damascus, Jesus appeared before Saul and asked Saul, Saul why do you persecute me? And Saul then becomes a changed man and the aggressive oppressor who went to capture the Christians and bring them as prisoners, became the great apostle Paul! He who went into every house and persecuted Christians is visiting every house and preaching the Gospel! See the miraculous work of God when the early church prayed instead of taking matters into their hands!
See the change! See how heaven transforms someone. There are stubborn, hard hearted people you can choose either to fight them or you can pray and give to God. By fighting, you could win with small outcomes. On the contrary, if you submit to God in prayer, heaven can change this person’s entire life by transforming his habits into someone precious as Apostle Paul!
In Genesis we see God himself coming down to destroy the city of Sodom. He visits Abraham, who intercedes with God. Almighty God accepts the intercession of Abraham that he will not destroy the land if there are ten righteous persons. Unfortunately, there were none and the angels of God visit Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family and urged them to run to the mountains as God decided to destroy the town. Lot delays the angels, finally the angels bring them out of their house and ask them to run to the mountains. But he says he cannot run to the mountains, but to the next city to which the angels had to agree! Lot is showing stubbornness and thinks he wins as angels approved his request, but see the rest of history, it ended up in a big disaster. He lost his wife, and his daughters brought shame to the family. How sad! What a terrible thing to happen! God sent his angels to rescue Lot and his family, but look what his stubbornness has brought him! When angels asked him to run to the mountains God knew Lot could accomplish it. Instead, Lot didn’t want to run to the mountains and wanted to go to some other town. See for yourself what he has obtained from his obstinacy!
Speaking of Lot, it reminds me of Jonah the prophet whom God chose to warn the people of Nineveh. Jonah decides to leave for Tarsish instead. You can see where his stubbornness led him, he ended up being thrown into the sea and swallowed by a whale! He suffered three days and three nights inside a whale! Was this necessary if he obeyed God’s word? Later, God asked the same stubborn Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh who now obeyed and preached, bringing the city of Nineveh to repentance and saving its inhabitants!
On the contrary we see Jabez in the Bible. He was not born great, he didn’t have much. But he decided not to become stubborn and to pray to God. God heard his sincere cry from the heart and changed his circumstances!
Let’s examine ourselves today, are you stubborn and hard hearted or are you willing to be transformed to God’s plan? God has greater plans for those who obey Him. The Pharisees believed that they obtained their way by becoming hardhearted, but God called them adulterers. Saul was hard hearted, but when the persecuted Christians prayed, God changed the hardhearted stubborn Saul to Apostle Paul! We saw the life of Lot and Jonah, they had the chance to obey instead they showed stubbornness and both suffered for their actions! Jabez, he did not choose to be stubborn, but humble to pray to God and God heard his cry and blessed him!
Do you think you’re actually winning by becoming a stubborn and hard hearted person? Do you realize how many people are suffering because of your hard heartedness? Do you think taking your action by fighting with such people physically brings better results than submitting stubborn people in prayer to God? What do you choose? How do you like to be addressed in heaven?
Acts: 9: 1-5
Acts 9: 13-19
Genesis: 19: 15-38
1 Chronicles: 4:9-10