A Matter of the Heart

Ezekiel 36:26

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

Today, I have a mini Bible Lesson.  The topic is: A Matter of the Heart

 Let’s excavate the above scripture.

The scripture was taken from a conversation that God was having with the prophet Ezekiel.   Ezekiel was called to be a prophet to Israel during Israel’s captivity in Babylon for their disobedience and sin against God.  God called him to strengthen Israel with messages of hope and deliverance of His revealed plan of release from captivity, restoration and the return to their homeland.

But, why did Israel become captives to another nation?

Sin and disobedience against God caused their captivity.  Israel was guilty of idol worship and profaning (to treat something sacred with abuse, irreverence or contempt) the name of the Lord in their daily lives and among the neighboring nations.  Israel was called to be holy; to be an example for other nations to follow. 

They failed terribly.  So, God allowed the Babylonians to take them away as captives.  They were in bondage to this nation for 70 years.

In the same way, unrepentant sin and disobedience against God will lead into bondage and out of the will of God.

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –” quote by R. Zaccharia

In human beings, the sinful nature is the dominant force governing the thoughts, will, character and emotions of humans.  This nature strives against God and His principles of love, holiness, and righteousness. 

For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.” (Romans 8:7 NLT)

Although Israel was God’s chosen people, they were covenant-breakers. They practiced an ungodly lifestyle full of idol worship. They knew sin and disobedience were against God’s commandments, however, they lacked the power to abstain from the sinful desires that were controlling their actions.

Many times people struggle with this same dilemma.  They want to do the right thing, they even purposefully tell themselves they will be different, but they fail in the execution of their intended behavior.  The apostle Paul experienced this dilemma too.

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. 20And if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7: 18-20)

What a hopeless predicament – But, God had a SOLUTION!

In His love for Israel, He planned for their reconciliation to Himself.  God’s mercy provided a resolution that wasn’t  predicated on any of Israel’s actions.  Israel in their current state was incapable of being and doing what was pleasing in God’s sight.  In God’s first phase of his plan, He had to deal with their heart.  He created a heart for mankind that holds our desires, emotions, and will. A person’s character is the outward demonstration of what happening on the inside of their heart.  Unfortunately, the reason Israel couldn’t submit to God was because they developed a stony heart.

A stony heart.  A hard heart.  It is the same thing.

This heart is hardened by sin. It is void of spiritual life and motion. At its core, it’s stubborn and inflexible, where nothing virtuous can penetrate it.  A heart in this condition remains unrepentant and carnal in its desires, and can only be removed by the grace of God.

Let’s recall the main scripture of this Bible lesson:

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

Now, we are introduced to the tenets of His grace: 

God GAVE.  He promised to provide Israel with a new heart.  The significance of this new heart lies within the understanding that God, in His mercy and loving-kindness gave Israel everything they needed to return to a right relationship with Him.  Israel didn’t have to work for it.  They didn’t have to labor and prove that they deserved it.  Instead, out of unconditional love, He gave them a new heart that was equipped with the Spirit of God nestled inside it. 

What does all this mean to us?  What principles can we extract from this lesson?

I’m glad you asked.

  1. God has already provided the resources (GRACE) for mankind to enjoy a relationship with Him.

Since God sent Jesus to die for every sin, that means Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the prerequisites for salvation.  When a person accepts Jesus as Lord, a miraculous transformation of the heart takes place.

 The scripture states, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  1. The new heart comes with the Spirit of God indwelling inside of it.

The new heart is a renewed heart; renewed by the Spirit and grace of God; in which a new principle of life is put into it. This is a place where a new will, filled with new purposes and affections are placed.  A place where new desires are formed; and where new delights and joys are established. 

According to scripture,"But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day," says the LORD. "I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

  1. If anyone is struggling with sin or disobedience, understand it is an issue of the HEART.  Instead of struggling with it, take it to God in prayer.  Ask God to take out the stony/hard heart and replace it with the renewed heart.

Here is a scripture that you can pray:

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.”

Now is the time to check ourselves and be responsible for working out our soul salvation. Through personal experience, I’ve realized that the condition of my heart is essential to walking in victory over sin and disobedience.

I pray that ALL who reads this will be blessed.  Love and blessings to YOU, in Jesus’ name.

This song was in my spirit as I was writing:

“A wonderful change has come over me….” Partial lyrics of “Change” by Walter Hawkins.

 Kristen Gray
  I have been a member of ChristianBlog.Com for 4 years, 16 days.

  I have published 44 blogs and 108 comments.

 I currently live in: United States.
joyce

This is really good, thank you .

Beth+

Good blog and good to see you

K Reynolds+

This is wonderful. I heard a teaching on this same topic at a women's Bible study this morning. We've been studying the parable of the soils and today we talked about the rocky soil or the hardened heart. Psalm 51 was one of the passages used. Oh, God's grace is truly amazing!

Paul Phillips

Good stuff, Kristen! A new heart, with His word written on it. May it be so.

Blessings, my friend!