“It’s obvious,” my brother said. “A southerly wind is a wind that’s blowing toward the South.” I tried to protest. He rushed out and picked up a dictionary, returning with the gleeful smugness of the elder brother. “Read it and weep!” he said. When I read aloud the final phrase of the dictionary entry: “concerning winds, southerly means from a southern direction” he grabbed the book from me. He read the entry again, blinking in disbelief before stalking off dejectedly. He couldn’t accept the truth at first, even after reading it for himself. He had been convinced that he was right.
When we’re sure we’re right, it’s often hard to see we’re actually mistaken. Pharaoh refused to acknowledge that God was speaking to him. The signs were irrefutable, but from the devouring serpent to the death of every first-born in Egypt (Exodus 7:8-13, 12:28-32), Pharaoh refused to accept the reality of what was going on. Far more than mistaken, he fought God with a hard heart right up to the loss of his army in the Red Sea! We’re mystified as we read these accounts, wondering how someone could ignore such clear signs (Exodus 7:13, 14:5).
The truth is, we can all be hard in our attitude toward God and His instructions. Paul wrote of God being obvious to all and that we’re without excuse in Romans 1:19-20. Then in Romans 1:21-24 he described how God turns people over to their own sinful desires if they choose to ignore Him. He did the same with Pharaoh and the outcome was disastrous for Egypt (Exodus 12:29-30).
God is loving and kind. He desires that we turn to Him and receive life and salvation. May we choose to do so today, for “it’s obvious” He wants us to be in right relationship with Him.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Mark 1:1-13
Read Romans 2:5-11 to see what awaits those who reject God with stubborn and hardened hearts.
How have you experienced a hard heart toward God in your relationship with Him? What has He done to reveal His grace and life-giving ways to you?