Broken Heart to Hardened Heart, to Broken Heart to Healed Heart


November 2, 2021

Numbers 14:39-40 (NIV)

39 When Moses reported this to all the Israelites, they mourned bitterly. 40 Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. Surely we have sinned!”


But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

Welcome back to today!

It should not be lost on us. The whole context of our banner text—Hebrews 3:13—is the wilderness world of the people of God.

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)

Here’s the encouragement to some of you today. Doors have closed in your life because of your disobedience—some of them permanently. But the story is not done. A new door presents itself. Jesus stands at that door and knocks. He wants to come in and meet with you in a new way, for a new season, for new purposes he wants to unfold in your life. He wants to heal your heart of the hardness. Only he can. No one willfully hardens their heart. They do it because sin deceives them into doing it. You see, a hard heart comes from a broken heart. Some situation or circumstance or relational dysfunction or trauma has broken your heart. You turned to all the wrong places. It resulted in your heart hardening over time and now you find yourself in a wilderness of wandering.

I want you to notice, though, the impulse of the hardened heart in response to a closed door. 

they mourned bitterly. . . So far so good. But it looks like they were sad about the consequences and not the condition of their hearts. 

Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. 

Then this. . . Surely we have sinned!” Note how this is hardly a confession. This is how a hardened heart deals with fault. They keep it super fuzzy. There may be a hint of admission, but nowhere near true confession.

It’s kind of like saying you are sorry or trying to make amends at gunpoint or after the guilty verdict—as an effort to avoid the consequences. It doesn’t work that way. Hear Moses’ response:

41 But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the Lord’s command? This will not succeed! 42 Do not go up, because the Lord is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, 43 for the Amalekites and the Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the Lord, he will not be with you and you will fall by the sword.”

There is only one appropriate, effective, and redemptive response for a person who has turned away from the Lord—Turning back to the Lord—Returning to the Lord with all your heart. This is the new door, the open door, the door to the future and it leads into a new room of healing, restoration, and whole-hearted repentance—which is the comprehensive realignment of one’s life with the will and ways of Jesus. Just as a broken heart becomes a hardened heart, so a hardened heart must become a broken heart again. This is the way to the healed, whole, and holy heart. There is the heartbreak that leads to hardness and the heartbreak that leads to healing. 

I sense I am talking to a lot of people today. Jesus is showing you the calcified and calloused places in your heart. He is showing you the symptoms of a critical spirit and defensive posture, and how the subtle and not so subtle dispositions of malcontentedness and contempt have set up shop in your spirit like malware on a computer. For some of you, these darkened ways seem to have taken you over. You literally can’t fix it and you are so weary of trying to put a good face on it. It is so draining to live this way. 

Be encouraged. Jesus can heal your heart beyond your imagining. You must give him complete access. The door only opens from your side. Locate yourself before him today. Declare the open door. Invite the Holy Spirit to begin the cleanse, to apply the salve, to order the new season of new creation. 

This is not the time to try and take the hill. It is the season for the healing of the heart. 

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)


Father, I declare it: the door of my heart is open to the healing balm of Jesus. In fact, I am going to take it off the hinges. I am weary of trying to change my behavior while keeping the door to my heart closed. You have full and complete access. I will wait on you. You are the Lord my healer. Lead me in every way you see fit to help me—through wise counselors, to a band of brothers or sisters, to a pastor or shepherd friend, by your sovereign Word and Spirit. Yes, come Holy Spirit and re-break my broken and hardened heart for your namesake, for my good, for others gain. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Do you struggle with a tendency to criticize others, to complain about situations, to be defensive about yourself, to withdraw from others when you feel offended? If so, these are all signs of a wounded heart. Jesus heals but you must open the door to him. It will take time, but will be so worth it. Don’t wander in the wilderness another year, or another day. 


ENCOURAGEMENT #2 TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SEEDBED ADVENT EXPERIENCE: Mornings with Jesus are good. Mornings with Jesus together are even better. We are going to meet together every morning of this series via Zoom at 7am central for up to half an hour. These times are rich, deep, and many say transformational. Advent was made for this kind of fellowship. Let’s do this! You can see all the details here. If you already have the book, The Christian New Year, be sure to choose that option on the dropdown to avoid buying another book—OR EVEN BETTER—get another book and invite a friend to join us. COME ON!

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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