Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cardiac Surgery

Today, Exodus 7-12 reminds me that every living human is born with a heart condition, one not terribly unlike Egypt's Pharaoh's, in fact. As Moses and Aaron appealed to Pharaoh to release the Israelites from captivity, he refused, even after God sent devastating plagues as a means of encouragement.

Scholars have debated the verses related to Pharaoh's hardened heart for years, but I am satisfied that God knew Pharaoh just as he knows every living person. He understood how seriously diseased his heart was, and recognized in advance just how his heart condition would impact his decisions.

The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things in Jeremiah 17:9, and Matthew 15:19 says that out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.

Pharaoh was born with a hard heart and so were we--and the only thing that changes that is our willingness to allow God to heal us. Ezekiel 11:19 explains the healing hope he offers to his children: 19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. NLT

The American Heart Association's website explains that when a person's heart can no longer adequately work and a person is at risk of dying, a heart transplant may be indicated. Spiritually speaking, each of us is born with a heart that doesn't work properly and we are totally at risk of dying in our diseased state.

The great news for us however, is that Jesus Christ, God's Son, performs heart transplants every day. His record of success is 100% and he offers the only hope for a complete cure to our spiritual cardiac condition. But until we submit to his surgical excision of our stony hearts and allow him to replace them with a new heart of tender flesh, we are very much, maybe exactly, like Pharaoh.

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