Create in Me a New Heart

Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted.            Exodus 7:13 (NLT)

The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in… “All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a sing thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back from squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!”       Luke 15:28-30 (NLT)

Has God ever not answered your prayers? Has He answered but not in the way you had hoped? God does have a different view than mine since He can see more than I can. Continuing to ask God for what He is not giving is an exercise that will either impress upon me to release my plan and get on board with God’s or it will harden my heart to have my way.

Pharaoh was determined to have his kingdom work his way. He wanted the Israelite slaves and he wanted them doing all things his way. He would not acknowledge that he was not in charge of the universe. He was willing to die in his pride and with his hard heart.

The prodigal son’s older brother had chosen to do all that his father asked. He was obedient and faithful. When his younger brother fell off the path, he wanted the story to end fairly. Maybe he did not wish his brother dead but he also did not think his brother should receive more than he had – especially when he didn’t deserve it! He did not even call him ‘brother’ but instead thought of him only as belonging to the father.

Oh, my brothers and sisters, I wish that I could say that this devotion was not for me. But it is. Even after all the years that I have loved and served the LORD, I am still struggling with wanting something different for myself than God has planned. I am grateful for this devotion that warns me not to go down a slippery path that can lead to a hard heart full of pride. It is pride if I think I know better than God!

The older brother in Luke’s gospel was more eager to punish than to forgive. He wanted life to be “fair”. Friends, life is not fair! I started to list some examples of the ‘not fair’ but I some how think that most of us can make our own list. The problem with the list is that it becomes about what others have and whether God is fair to me when compared to someone else. My focus is not where it should be.

“Oh, no, sir!” she [Hannah] replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:15 (NLT)

Hannah is discouraged because God has not answered her many-year prayer for a child. But Hannah continues to pray to God even when she cannot see the answer. THAT is my example to follow.

If I am struggling to see God in my life, keep praying. Ask God for help to see and to trust Him more. It may be an act of faith and desperation may seem to be lurking around the corner but check God’s promises. Call Him on His promises to answer when His children seek Him.

I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.                 Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)

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3 Responses to Create in Me a New Heart

  1. Kyle says:

    Dear Jody,

    Thank you for your devotional! This one leaves me with a question, though.

    First, you say that continuing to ask God for what He is not giving means you need to release your heart to Him or you’ll end up with a hardened one. But then Hannah has been praying for years for a child, and will keep praying. I don’t understand what the difference is between what she’s doing and “asking God for what He is not giving”.

    How can we know whether what we want is right or wrong, especially when the answer isn’t in the form of a directly-answered prayer? How can we know when God is telling us to give it up and when He is just testing our faith?

  2. Jody Neufeld says:

    I suspect that God’s children have been asking this question since before Hannah’s time! Maybe that is why Jesus told the story about “the persistent widow” (Luke 18) telling us not to give up. When my son was diagnosed with cancer, I prayed and prayed for him. I wanted him to be HEALED and live to make me crazy in my old age! He was 12 when he was diagnosed. They gave him a 25% chance to live a year. He lived 5 years and did so many awesome things like marching band and playing drums in a worship band; got to meet his first niece and nephew! Even during that last year when I heard the Lord tell me that He would be taking James home, I kept praying and told God that I hoped He might change His mind. (I read that in 2 Samuel 12:15-23) God didn’t mind that I kept talking to Him and asking Him. I look back now and know that I learned alot as we kept talking back and forth. Kyle, I think that’s the point on knowing whether I am “asking right” — keep talking to God and studying His Word and it becomes more clear.

  3. Kyle says:

    Thank you for your response! I’ll definitely keep the communication lines with God open.

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