They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the LORD of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them. —Zechariah 7:12 NLT

I came across this Bible verse recently—and winced as I read. Is it possible, Lord? Could I make my heart so hard that I could no longer hear You speak? It surely sounds like the people in Zechariah’s day willfully chose to harden their hearts to the point they could no longer hear God’s instructions or messages to them. I can’t imagine anything more terrible! When the One who made us and loves us and holds the key to our eternal destiny speaks … we should listen.

Okay then. What would make people choose to harden their hearts? I have been pondering this conundrum. Sadly, I did come up with reasons that individuals might choose to block their ears and distract themselves—three reasons they might not want to hear from a truth-telling God with standards.

Little Sins. I think hardening happens slowly. It’s usually not the big, huge sins that harden us first, but subtly as we give ourselves permission to sin in small and seemingly insignificant ways. We want to look better, so we tell a “harmless, little” lie. We discover that the cashier failed to ring up some of our items, and we choose to congratulate ourselves on “free stuff.” We decide the government gets too much of our money already, so we fudge on our income tax return. We are hurt and decide not to forgive, justifying our coldness and refusing to think about reconciliation. We just ignore our consciences until they stop pricking at us.

Lethargy. We stop caring about God. We get lazy. We feel like we already know the Bible stories, and getting up early to meet with Him just isn’t doing anything for us. It’s becoming rote, we tell ourselves, meaningless, so why bother. And so we drift from God’s truth, because we are not reading God’s Word. We aren’t available to Him for His instruction—or for His love and care. We drift from relationship with the One who loves us, because we are no longer talking to Him or listening to Him. He calls us to come to Him, but we shrug our shoulders and block our minds to His voice.

Loving Idols. Instead of worshiping God and focusing on His majesty and power, love and mercy, we worship the latest Netflix drama or a musical group that stirs us or a product that’s super appealing to us. We buy cool gadgets, shop for fancy clothes, and plan our next vacations, filling our time with lesser things that soon fade in their attraction. But then the pattern repeats with the newest new thing all over again. The noise of our world shuts out the still small voice of the God who made it and who will someday come to judge it—and then make it anew and beautiful.

Like hardening of the arteries and plaque growing from feeding on the wrong foods, we grow hard hearts, and the plaque in our souls builds up until the message of God is no longer heard. Our ears are blocked, our hearts are blocked, and we did it to ourselves.

Oh, I do not want this. Neither do you! So, what should we do? First, when we sin and God points it out to us, we should confess it and not excuse it. He forgives. We are cleansed. No lingering plaque in that artery. Let’s be quick to confess and recognize that little sins don’t actually exist. All sin is an affront to God, and all sin damages. Second, let’s meet with God in prayer and His Word “in season and out of season” as Paul tells Timothy in his second letter to that young disciple. Not every meal we eat is going to be gourmet. But we still need to eat to maintain our health. Not every morning when we meet with the Lord will be riveting, but every time we pray and read His Word we will be nourished and reconnected to our Source of Life. Third, let’s guard against attractive, showy things of little substance that distract us from gazing at the King of kings who spoke the stars into existence. Let’s learn more and more about the God who made us for a purpose and then joyfully fulfill it. That’s where lasting happiness resides.

God was angry because His people deliberately chose to close their ears to Him. Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing” (Zechariah 7:11 NLT). We have a choice. Are we going to put our fingers in our ears and willfully harden our hearts against the Savior and Lover of our souls? Or are we going to turn to Him and learn from Him and gain hearts of wisdom and joy in the process? The choice is up to us.

Father God, I love Your Word. You teach me and admonish me through it. You reveal the areas where I need to work and grow. Make me eager to hear Your messages and Your truths. Keep me snuggled close, please. There’s no place I’d rather be than next to You. Help me keep a soft heart, Lord! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,


Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Margaret Fowler
    August 2, 2021 10:16 pm

    Good message for all of us, hard hearts are not happy hearts. And we surely need to guard against them. Thank you.

    • Sharon Gamble
      August 2, 2021 11:23 pm

      SUCH a good point. And yet another reason to keep one’s heart soft. There’s no joy in a hard heart. Thanks for that. May God give us soft, willing hearts to place in His good and capable hands.

  • We need to live a life full of faith, studying God’s written word and obeying it. That’s what will keep our hearts soft and pure and allow God to bless what we do. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Help me Jesus!


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