The Hardened Heart

When the 21 year old Zedekiah became king of Judah (subsequently reigning in Jerusalem for eleven years), he did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before God or King Nebuchadnezzar. “He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the Lord, the God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 36: 13). One of a string of kings who continually defied and defiled the ways of God and took matters into their own hands, Zedekiah mocked God’s messengers and stood up against anything that would breathe godliness into his heart.

When we stand up against God’s Word, defy His reign in our hearts and lives, we may not be as dramatic as Zedekiah but in fact our necks stiffen and our hearts harden nonetheless. Ever see such a display of arrogant exile of the heart? Ever experience it yourself? I recently confronted one such leader about the defiance in his heart toward God and those he was called to lead and serve. I could almost see his neck stiffen as he was confronted by truth about God and himself. He didn’t like what he was hearing and even though I could see a seared conscience, he resisted the invitation of God to soften his hardened heart. A sad sight indeed.

“Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 36: 14). The fruit of a hardened heart, and the sad reality, is unfaithfulness and defilement among others…the ripple effect of a stiff-necked person is that they espouse and encourage similar hearts to grow in others.

The invitation from God is quite the contrary…”Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95: 7,8). Instead, let it be softened by God’s Word, in prayer as you hear his still small voice, and in community as you are challenged to embrace the truth (which will set you free!) from a brother or sister who cares enough to confront a hardened heart. The world needs leaders who confess their hardened heart and allow the Spirit to soften it for God’s glory.

SHARE THIS POST

Can't find what you're looking for?

Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

Detailed Biography
Articles by Stephen Macchia
Author Website
Schedule a one-on-one with Steve

Fill out my online form.

Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.