I’ve heard many Christians pray for God to soften their heart. That is a good prayer and I have also prayed it. Have you ever prayed for God to harden your heart? Would it shock you to hear that I pray this often? Let me explain.
One thing that had bothered me in the Bible was where God said he would harden Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses’ request to release the children of Israel. Now, I’m not one to tell God He’s wrong, but that doesn’t quite sound like God: to make Pharaoh’s heart a stone, then punish him for being hard-hearted! Then I heard a sermon that explains this.
It was several years ago and I don’t remember who it was. Likely Chuck Missler, Colin Smith or Chuck Smith, or perhaps J. Vernon McGee, since I listened to many sermons from each of these men at that time, but it could have been someone else. I wish I could find that sermon again, and hope I don’t get the details too wrong on this explanation. If I do, forgive me. And if you know or find the source, please let me know so I can give proper credit. Anyway, his explanation had to do with the word used that is translated as “harden.”
While we generally think of hardening a heart to mean turning it to stone, incapable of feeling, this person said this particular word had a slightly different connotation. He likened it to wringing out a cloth. When you twist a washcloth, it becomes hard, stiff. Think about what else happens? Whatever is filling that washcloth gets forced out. It might be soapy water or dirty water or something you spilled and wiped up when the cloth was soft. No matter what is in the cloth, it is forced out. And only what was in the cloth can come out. You can’t wring out clean water if you just soaked up a bunch of spilled orange juice!
This is what God did with Pharaoh’s heart: squeezed it to force out what was already inside. He didn’t put hardness into Pharaoh’s heart, only forced out the hardness and evil thoughts that were already there. Makes a lot more sense that way, doesn’t it?
So every time I take a shower and wring out the washcloth at the end, I pray God will wring out all that is in my heart. I ask Him to get rid of all that isn’t of Him. And when that is done, I ask Him to let my heart soak up all His love so when life wrings out my heart, all that comes out on the people around me is His love, pouring over all.
I hope you will also take the time to pray for God to harden your heart and wring out all the junk, then pour in His love for your heart to soak up and have ready to pour out on those around you.
God bless you richly!
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