It’s amazing how religion can harden your heart so intensely.
Some get to the point that they will not even believe and follow God Himself no matter what signs and evidences they see.
Jesus Himself could come down and say, “I want you to quit going to church every Sunday and instead start hanging out with me during that time.” And some would respond with, “I can’t do that! I have responsibilities at the church! I’m suppose to and expected to be there every Sunday, man!”
These religious leaders were told this amazing eye-witness story by these guards–an earthquake, angel throwing the stone away, face like lightning–and their hard-hearted reaction was, “We gotta come up with a false story to tell everyone so people don’t believe this and so that we don’t get in some sort of trouble.”
Seek the living, active God first and foremost everyday.
Do not let religion, tradition, or dogma blind you to seeing Jesus working in your life.
Look for Him and Him alone.
Blessed are those who are continually fearful, but may those whose hearts are hard fall into harm.
There is a healthy fear that leads to right action. For example, fear of not paying the bills motivates the action to get your butt out of bed and get to work.
A healthy fear of YHWH hopefully motivates us to seek Him and then experience His greatness and love. But the hard hearts in this verse seem related to complacency–a horrible, and dare we say, dangerous place to be. For some, the only motivator out of sleep will be some sort of harm befalling them.
How many times do we hear from someone who had tragedy of some kind strike say, “It was the best thing to ever happen to me.” Why? Because it woke them up out of the slumber of their complacency to the depth of life that has been there all along awaiting them to open up to and live in.
So may we keep before us always what is real, what is at stake in many ways, what really matters, and what price we pay for complacency–not least of which is not being fully alive to God and the deep, abundant life of shalom He has for us that transcends lightyears beyond Netflix, football, performance, and results-based people-pleasing.