Day 17: Hardness of Heart

Lamentations 3:58-66 :

Lord, you have pleaded the causes of my soul.
You have redeemed my life.
Yahweh, you have seen my wrong.
Judge my cause.
You have seen all their vengeance
and all their plans against me.

You have heard their reproach, Yahweh,
and all their plans against me,
the lips of those that rose up against me,
and their plots against me all day long.
You see their sitting down and their rising up.
I am their song.

You will pay them back, Yahweh,
according to the work of their hands.
You will give them hardness of heart,
your curse to them.
You will pursue them in anger,
and destroy them from under the heavens of Yahweh.

At the end of this third lamentation, we are told that God not only sees Israel but that He has redeemed them. We also learn that God has seen the evil done by Israel’s enemies. God had already prophesied this through Jeremiah, but here in this lamentation, Israel recognizes the truth that God intends to pay their enemies back for what they had done. The thing that really caught my attention is the way in which God chose to curse Israel’s enemies.

It says here that God chose to curse Israel’s enemies by giving them “hardness of heart.” That may not seem like much of a curse, but it’s important to understand where we have seen this curse before. Hardness of heart is what God cursed Pharaoh with back when the Israelis were enslaved by Egypt. This gives us a great example. Every time that Moses would ask Pharaoh to let his people go, Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened and he would refuse to do it, and every time he did that, there would be a horrible plague that would do damage to him and his country. That shows us just how the hardness of heart is a curse. It causes a person to destroy himself by stubbornly refusing to obey God. Through disobedience, God merely punishes the hard-hearted one until he is completely destroyed. The hardness of heart is what God uses to “pursue them in anger, and destroy them from under the heavens.”

A hardness of heart is quite evident in my world at the time of this writing. It’s as if people cannot see the harm that our disobedience to God is doing. Against all reason, some are choosing to refuse to allow the goodness of God to guide our country as a whole. They are abandoning God’s word and replacing it with disorder and confusion. Instead of going back to God as things deteriorate, they run farther from God. This lack of sense causes me to think that these people may be experiencing the curse of a hard heart. Pharaoh ended up dying, along with his entire army. Babylon was also destroyed. In the same way, I don’t believe that things will go well for those whose hearts are hardened by God today.