Exodus 9:34–35: “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.”

August 12th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

By this point, Pharaoh had asked Moses several times to pray that God would remove a plague and agreed to let the people go, but each time he hardened his heart after the plague was lifted. And each time he did this his personal responsibility increased. He clearly saw God answer Moses’ prayer, but he did not truly change his mind and relent. For the first time, we are told that all of Pharaoh’s servants also hardened their hearts against God.

God is always concerned with hearts because the problem of the heart is the heart of the problem. Jeremiah put his finger on the issue when he wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, / And desperately wicked; / Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). The NIV translates “desperately wicked” as “beyond cure.” That is a helpful picture because none of us is capable of curing our heart’s sinful nature.

King David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, / And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psa. 51:10). David understood his need to start over. David used the same Hebrew word for “create” that is used in Genesis 1:1 when God shaped the universe. It literally means “to take nothing and make something.” Just as God took the dark void and turned it into light, He takes the dark void of a sin-stained heart and turns it into a wonderful, light-filled, new creation. Only God can create something that is totally new, totally fresh, like a complete new start. David cried, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; / Try me” (Psa. 139:23). Like David we need to invite God’s Spirit to cleanse and correct our hearts.

“LORD, please create in us a fresh, clean heart.”