Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 29-30; Mark 16
17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. Deuteronomy 30:17
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. Mark 16:14
The problem of disbelief begins in the heart. This was true in the days of Moses and in the days of Jesus. It is still true in our day.
Moses warned the Israelites that their problem would not be that God’s law was too hard to understand. It was not too far above them to grasp. Their problem with the law was going to be a problem of the heart. Their hearts would turn away from God’s word. They would not love His law and that would result in their shutting their ears to it. This would not result in mere agnosticism or neglect of worship. They would begin to be drawn away to other gods. They would begin to serve those gods and not Yahweh, their true and living God who had delivered them by His powerful hand out of slavery in Egypt. Beware of your heart, Moses was saying.
On the first day of the week after Jesus was buried, several women went to the tomb with spices to anoint His body. They worried about how to get the big stone away from the opening. They were not expecting to find the stone rolled away and Jesus gone, resurrected, as they were told by a young man dressed in white. The women were afraid, but they didn’t doubt what they had seen. They told the disciples what had happened, but they got a disbelieving response. There was another sighting of Jesus by two disciples. Their report was similarly rejected.
Then Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples (the twelve minus Judas). He rebuked them for their “unbelief and hardness of heart.” Again it was a heart problem that accompanied their refusal to believe.
God’s truth revealed in His written word and through the living word, Jesus Christ, is not irrational. It is not hard to grasp with the mind. But to believe we need hearts inclined toward God. Pray that your heart will never be hardened or turned away from God’s word. Beware of heart problems.