8/12/09

Faces Harder Than Rock

Have you ever seen a set jaw—the sign of a stubborn heart? In the Old Testament, God’s people stubbornly rejected His call to repentance. Jeremiah wrote, “…You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent” (Jer. 5:3). Isaiah wrote similar words when unbroken Israel continued partying and reveling while God urged prayer and repentance (Is. 22:12-13). When God’s people refused, the Lord had no choice but to proclaim judgment (Jer. 5:6; Is. 22:14).

While there is, in the church, a greater awareness of America’s culture sinking into an abyss of sin, there is little discernment about how the church has sunk to the culture’s dismal level. Christians today are toying with truth, and playing around with purity. Peter wrote, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Pet. 4:17a); and Paul reminded us that if we would judge ourselves, we would not be “condemned” with the world (1 Cor. 11:32-32). God desires that we hold our lives up to the absolute standard of the Word of God, and respond in brokenness and repentance where our lives do not measure up. The cost of refusing to repent is too great.

Brokenness is the sacrifice that God will never despise (Psalm 51:16-17). Tears of brokenness are treasures in heaven, preserved by the One who loves us (Psalm 56:8). True brokenness brings healing to the soul. Jesus illustrated this well in Luke 7:37-50; Mark 14:3-9—the story of a woman with a shattered heart who broke her alabaster box and poured its precious ointment on Jesus’ head. She set aside her pride, not concerned about others’ opinions, and Jesus praised the simple, loving act that flowed from her contrite heart.

What a contrast: unbroken Jews with faces set harder than rock versus a woman poured out in repentance, with tears streaming down her face. Body of Christ, we always have a choice—stubborn refusal or repentance. God help us to grieve over our sin, broken before Him.

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