If you are a child of God, and you’re reading this blog post today, I want you to know that it’s not by chance that you’re here…the Lord has a direct message for you. And here it is, “Harden not your heart, my child. Praise Me.” For some, this might hit you next week, next month, or maybe next year. And for others it might hit you right where you are in this season of your life. I know this could be a hard pill to swallow if you’re in a waiting season, facing tough tests and trials, or struggles that are weighing heavy on you. Nonetheless, God is still saying to us today, “Harden not your heart, my child. Praise Me.”
I urge you, don’t take my word for it, in Psalm 95:8-11 the Lord says, “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” My rest in this passage is considered “the promised land.” This was a time when the Israelites were wandering for forty years in the wilderness. Yet, due to some of their griping and complaining of not knowing, trusting, or understanding what God was doing in their lives, they erred in their hearts. And as an end result, most of them missed the promise! This is an example for us today. Are you getting it?
God revealed this to me the other day so clearly. As He deals with us and burns off (gets rid of) things that are not like Him as we wait on His promises to be fulfilled in our lives, we soooo cannot rely on how we feel or what we see in the natural. Remember, we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) Ultimately, God wants us to seek His face and not His hand. That’s what He wanted the Israelites to do, but they weren’t in touch with who God was. They knew Him through Moses, instead of for themselves. And they wanted His promises, but wouldn’t seek Him for who He truly was. Isn’t that how we can be sometimes today? We want all that God has for us, but in our hearts, we don’t want to go through anything tough to obtain them. We want to grow, but we don’t want to go through the growing pains. We want to know God deeper, but we don’t want to take the precious time to delve into His Word to know who He really is for ourselves. Don’t miss this!
Look, the key here is this…we can’t get mad about all the changes that we’re going through or will go through in this life. It’s all for a purpose. Personally, I’ve discovered that as the Lord allows me to go through various trials, hardships, and waiting periods to obtain His beautiful promises, He does have my best interest at heart. I know it! Yet, in the meantime, He’s proving my heart, testing my motives, cultivating my character, examining my walk and my very words (like complaining); all the while preparing me for the promises He has for me. In Deuteronomy 8:2 right before the chosen Israelites like Joshua and Caleb were about to receive the promised land, it reads, “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” There it is! God was at work behind the scenes. Oh, but the blessings that were awaiting them were so amazing, because of their faithfulness to endure the hardship and their sincere love and obedience to God!
Have you ever heard, “Nothing good, comes easy?” Ha! You better believe it! I believe that He takes this route for many of His children. Why? Because He loves us, He wants the best for us, and He wants us to love the Giver more than the gift. Plus, it’s not only for our benefit, but for so many others behind us who will experience how AWESOME God is too!
So I encourage you as I have been encouraged this week through God’s Word. Let’s not harden our hearts. Instead, let’s praise Him. I don’t know what you may be going through, but God does. And whatever it is, He loves you and He does not want you to quit on Him or get mad with Him simply because He’s not moving fast enough or because it hurts too much. And especially don’t start complaining about it (that’s the worse thing!). He has a plan and a purpose for all that He’s allowing to take place in your life.
Try this! Get quiet before the Lord, and listen for what He wants to tell you in the midst of whatever it is you’re dealing with, and then praise Him – Even if it’s tough. I know that may feel or seem a little crazy or funny for you if this is your first time or even if the test or trial is hard, but believe it or not, that’s what He wants and it truly confuses the devil. Plus it releases freedom in your life and it soooo pleases God’s heart! Psalm 95:1-3 exhorts, “O Come and let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Amen!
(*NOTE: Keep in mind that this is the same Chapter as I mentioned above…only it’s the beginning of it. If you read further in Psalm 95:7-8 it says, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice, ‘Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness…” And you read the rest above.)
So listen…here’s the practicality! Press beyond your feelings, and get some praise music and dance in your living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or even in your car! Wherever you are, find that place to give God worship, thanksgiving, and praise for what He’s doing in your life, no matter how hard it is or how long the wait…even if you can’t see what’s happening or understand it all. Our praise is a mighty weapon against our great enemy, Satan and it shifts things in the atmosphere on our behalf in a great way. And think about it this way, it’s not only an act of obedience to God, but it also shows the Lord that you are trusting Him beyond your circumstances…on the way to your promised land! So hold on child of God…because Psalm 84:11-12 says, “…No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” Now go ahead…harden not your heart and praise the Lord! He’s calling you higher in Him!
He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Really now, go get some praise music!
Remember, Jesus is coming back soon. Let’s get ready from the Inside Out.
*A recommended book from this post is “Lord, Change My Attitude! (Before It’s Too Late)” by James MacDonald. Awesome book! I highly recommend it! Check Amazon.com today! http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Change-My-Attitude-Before/dp/0802434398.
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