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The Danger of a Hardened Heart | Listening With a Hardened Heart

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2023 3:00 am

The Danger of a Hardened Heart | Listening With a Hardened Heart

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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August 28, 2023 3:00 am

Some months ago, social media was ablaze with an interesting sound experiment. A certain recording sounded like the word “Laurel” to some people, and like “Yanny” to others. It was very interesting, and a bit odd. But we see the same thing on a spiritual level – two people can respond to a single Gospel message in two different ways. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the danger of listening with a hardened heart. And Pastor Greg begins with an admission.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners .

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Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners.

If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at Again, it's

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to It's not that the world is lacking for spiritual influence. Pastor Greg Laurie says it's a collision of competing messages. Our world is filled with all kinds of religious ideology, with all kinds of gurus and self-proclaimed prophets and other religious leaders all saying they have the truth. What is the genuine article?

It's the Christian faith. That is the only genuine article. Everything else is in imitation. Some months ago, social media was ablaze with an interesting sound experiment.

A certain recording sounded like the word Laurel to some people and like Yanny to others. It was very interesting and a bit odd. But we see the same thing on a spiritual level. Two people can respond to a single gospel message in two different ways. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the danger of listening with a hardened heart.

And Pastor Greg begins with an admission. When I was a kid, I collected snakes. I was just into reptiles and I'm not really sure why. I actually was thinking of becoming a herpetologist, which is someone who studies reptiles. And I had all kinds of snakes.

I had snakes I caught like gopher snakes, king snakes, boas, pythons. And I had this one python. His name was Monty. No, not really.

It wasn't. But I don't think I even gave him a name. Actually, we had a very hostile relationship. The snake and I, whenever I put my hand into his terrarium, he would strike and bite me. And so I was paranoid of the snake and I think he knew.

But anyway, I paid a little bit of money for him. So I had to feed him. Now you know what you feed a snake, right? Snakes eat live mice. My son Jonathan, when he was a little boy, said, Dad, I want to get a snake.

I said, Ok, son. I will get you a snake. But first you're going to go to the pet store and I'm going to show you what you feed snakes. And so we went down and there were these little cute newborn mice that you bought to feed snakes. And he didn't want a snake anymore.

So that ended that. Because it is kind of a sad thing to watch a little creature be eaten by a snake. Well, it was time to feed Monty, my python. And so I put a little mouse in there. And normally the mouse would be put in the terrarium, be walking around and see the snake, be paralyzed with fear. The snake would coil up and then strike.

Ok, but this was a whole different scenario. I put the little mouse in there and the snake got ready to strike and the mouse was like, Hey, what's up? And he starts walking around. He sniffs the snake in the face. It freaked the snake. The snake kind of pulled back. Next thing I know the mouse is standing on top of the snake. And I thought, this is the coolest mouse I've ever seen. I am sparing the life of this mouse. So I reached in, took the mouse out, and he became my pet. But we are all going to have to face the serpent sooner or later.

And I think you know what I mean by that. Because the Bible on more than one occasion tells us that Satan is a serpent. He came to Eve and Adam in the garden as a serpent. And he is described in Revelation 20 as the old serpent.

Who is the devil. And now in our story of Moses he has to face the serpent of Egypt. Because actually the symbol of ancient Egypt was a cobra that even the Pharaoh would wear on his headdress.

And you remember that the Lord directed Moses to take his shepherd's staff, throw it on the ground. It became a cobra. Presumably a snake at least. He grabbed it by the tail.

It turned into a rod again. And he was to go in and perform this miracle in front of the Pharaoh. Which was God's way of saying to Moses, Take the snake by the tail.

Face your fears. You are going to overcome the Pharaoh and the might of Egypt. But the thing is, is despite the many miracles that Moses was about to do for the Pharaoh, this man's heart became hard. But in contrast to the hardened heart of Pharaoh, iron had entered the heart of Moses.

He was full of faith and courage. The Lord spoke to him at the burning bush. Moses offered a lot of excuses which God rebutted. And now Moses is ready for action.

How was he able to do it? Hebrews 11 27 gives us a little commentary. It says, It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king's anger, and he kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. That's what kept Moses going. And that's what will keep you going.

Having your eyes on the one who is invisible. In other words, looking to the Lord. So let's pick the story up. Here's round one with Moses and the Pharaoh. Exodus 5. I'll read verses one to three.

And by the way, I'm reading from the New Living translation. Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness. And the Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I don't know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go. And they said, But the God of the Hebrews is met with us. Please let us go three days journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with sword. So we'll stop there. So the big moment has finally come. Moses knew it wasn't going to be easy.

But I think he was a little shocked by how unresponsive the Pharaoh was. And I think sometimes in the same way we think that once we commit our lives to Christ and choose to follow him, and even take a step of faith and obey him, that we're going to just have green lights and smooth sailing. But instead we find we face opposition. We face pushback from unexpected places. Maybe your family. Maybe your friends. Sometimes even your Christian friends.

Certainly from non-believers. You face opposition all around. And by the way, that doesn't mean you're doing the wrong thing.

That probably means you're doing the right thing. That's called spiritual warfare. And it's been said, Conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. The moment you become a Christian you enter into a spiritual battle. You're either going to fight and win or you're going to not fight and lose.

But there's no other option. You're either going to gain ground in this battle or you're going to lose ground in this battle. And Moses was discovering this for himself. That being in the will of God does not mean that you will not face opposition. So what does Moses do? He's a little put off by this. He's a little disappointed.

Disillusioned. So he calls on the Lord. In Exodus chapter 5 verse 22 we read, Moses went back to the Lord and protested. Why have you brought all this trouble to your own people Lord?

Why did you even send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman he's been even more brutal to the people and you've done nothing to rescue them. Wow. That's a pretty honest prayer. Reminds us of the prayer of Mary and Martha after their brother died and Jesus showed up. They said, Lord if you would have been here my brother would not have died. Now that's a complaint. And by the way there's nothing wrong with complaining or lamenting in your prayers.

As long as it's in your prayers. Not crying out against God but crying out to God, Lord I don't get this. I don't understand this.

I don't know why you've allowed this to happen to me. And that's exactly what Moses did. And if we would have read the next verse which would have been, and the Lord smote Moses and he was no more.

It would have made sense. But we don't read that. Instead God responds to Moses. In Exodus 6 verse 6 the Lord says, therefore say to the people of Israel, I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression. I'll rescue you from your slavery in Egypt.

I'll redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people. I will be your God. And you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from the oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land. I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I'll give it to you as your own possession for I am the Lord. So basically God says repeatedly, I am the Lord verse 6. I am the Lord verse 7. I am the Lord verse 8.

Take away message. He is the Lord. And then he says in verse 6, I'll free you. Verse 6, I'll rescue you. Verse 6, I'll redeem you. Verse 7, I'll claim you. Verse 7, I will be. And verse 8, I will bring you. And finally verse 8, I will give. Moses, I'm going to take care of you.

I'm going to rescue you, redeem you, claim you because I am the Lord. And that's what God is saying to you right now. Because maybe you're facing a Pharaoh. You're facing some scary person or some frightening situation or a set of overwhelming circumstances.

And you don't know what to do. You're looking to the right and you're looking to the left. Remember when Moses did that before he killed the Egyptian? He looked this way, looked that way.

Killed the guy. He should have looked up. And this is what we need to do. Look up. But the problem is we can sometimes go a day without a single thought about heaven.

We can go a month with any thoughts about the afterlife. But sometimes when you're down in your back the only way to look is up. And I might be talking to somebody who's on their back right now. Figuratively or literally.

And you don't know how you got there. But you're looking up to the Lord now. And that's what Moses needed to do. He needed to look to the Lord. It was an honest prayer. You remember Isaiah was a bit overwhelmed by the moral breakdown in Israel.

And the situation of his nation. But then he writes in Isaiah 6, I saw the Lord sitting on his throne. He was high and lifted up. And his glory filled the temple. And the angels cried holy. Have you ever noticed that when you come to church and you worship the Lord it can change your perspective?

Have you even noticed that you're driving along you're stuck in traffic and and you're not happy. And and you turn on some praise music. Or you listen to a message from God's Word. And it changes your outlook.

That's called looking up you see. And that's what Moses was doing now as the Lord was preparing to do an amazing thing. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. You know when you've walked in the very land where Jesus himself walked you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the truth of scripture. Hey everybody Greg Laurie here inviting you to the Harvest Ministries Israel tour.

April 9 to 19 2024. This will be an unforgettable journey through biblical sites and a unique opportunity to grow in your own faith. Listen spots are limited. Be sure to sign up as soon as possible at

Again it's I hope to see you there. Well Pastor Greg is offering insights from Moses confrontation with the Pharaoh of Egypt today. In a message called the danger of a hardened heart. So let's shift gears it's round two. Round one didn't go so well.

Here's round two. Exodus chapter 7 verse 10. I'm reading so Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh. And they did so just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down the rod before Pharaoh and before his servants and they became a serpent. And Pharaoh also called his wise men and sorcerers and the magicians of Egypt they did so in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod and they became serpents.

But I love this little commentary. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods and Pharaoh's heart grew hard and he did not heed them as the Lord had said. Okay it's time for the conflict to begin. The Lord's predicted this is going to happen. So basically a series of 10 plagues are going to fall upon Egypt and upon the Pharaoh. Each gaining in intensity as Pharaoh's heart got harder. This includes the Nile River turning to blood. A plague of frogs. A plague of lice.

And more to come. What is interesting is there's a strategy to these judgments because in effect every one of these judgments from God was directed toward a God of Egypt. You see the Egyptians worshiped just about everyone and everything.

In the mind of the Egyptian the Nile River was a deity. They even worshiped a frog god. Believe it or not had the body of a woman the head of a frog. Not very appealing. It was called Heget translated to our English word Kermit.

No not really. Kermit the frog says to me street news here you know. But they really worshiped a frog which is pretty bizarre. So the Lord said oh you want frogs you worship frogs I'll give you more frogs and you can shake a stick at. Oh the Nile River you think this is a deity I'll turn it to blood.

And this brings up an important point. It shows us one of the devil's most effective tactics. It's the tactic of imitation. Notice that Moses was able to turn the Nile River to blood and the Pharaoh's magicians. And by the way these guys were like occultists.

They were serving in the court of the king as astrologers and astronomers and they were deeply into the occult. So these guys were somehow able to recreate this miracle. A replication of sorts.

I don't know what it was but they were able to do it and Pharaoh's heart got harder. And this brings us to the point of the devil's a good imitator. See here's what he does. He floods the market with all kinds of cheap imitations making it harder for a person to know what the truth is. Our world is filled with all kinds of religious ideology. With all kinds of gurus and self-proclaimed prophets and other religious leaders all saying they have the truth. What is the genuine article? Am I going out on a limb when I say it's the Christian faith. That is the only genuine article.

Everything else is in imitation. Jesus put it best when he said, I am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the father but by me. Jesus told the parable of the wheat and the tares. He said a farmer went out to sow wheat and in the night a neighbor really like an enemy came and sowed tares or the darnell seed.

Now a tare is basically a thing that one plants that looks just like wheat initially but later it actually uproots the wheat. So the devil puts all of these fake versions out there. We have Jesus Christ. He ultimately will have the anti-Christ. We have real Christians. He will have fake Christians. I don't know who the Christians are. People say I am a Christian and they will quote verses and then they will attack you. And I wonder are you a Christian? I don't know.

I am not saying you are but I am not certain you are. By their fruits you shall know them. But ultimately we will know in the end who the real believers are. So God will determine that for us but this was an imitation to confuse and Pharaoh's heart got harder. Here comes plague number one because the Pharaoh hardened his heart. The Nile River is turned to blood. That is in Exodus 7 14 to 18. Moses takes his rod. Touches the river. It turns to blood.

Kills all the fish. And to strike the Nile was to strike the very heart of Egypt. So in a way the Lord is saying okay is this your God? I am going to take your God down to reveal to you there is no God but me. People make gods out of a lot of stuff.

The Bible tells us little children keep yourself from idols. An idol. A God.

It can be anyone or anything that takes the place of the true God in your life. For some it might be a career. For another it might be their fame.

For another their beauty or their money. And they worship at the altar of that God. And when I say worship I mean that is all they think about. That is what they are passionate about. That is the first thing they do when they get up in the morning. They think about that.

They pursue that thing. And sometimes a lot of times the Lord will bring our gods down so we will understand there is no God but Him. Well this didn't even impact Pharaoh one bit. We read in Exodus 7 23. He returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind.

Yeah. Until plague number two came along. He changed his tomb. That was the invasion of frogs.

Exodus 8 one to two. So all of these frogs show up. God says you want to worship your frog god. You want Kermit.

You got Kermit. You have frogs in your oven. You have frogs in your bed. You have frogs in your fridge. You have frogs in your vehicles. You have frogs in your shoulders.

Under your feet. Wherever you go there will be frogs. Frogs everywhere. And this kind of freaked out Pharaoh. And he went to Moses and he went to Moses and said please pray to your God and tell Him to remove the frogs.

So the frogs all died. So I love the King James version of what happened. It says the land stank. It is just sometimes you got to pull out a King James word. And stank is a great word.

That land stank man. Yeah. So Pharaoh's like oh pray to your God.

Help me out. Okay Lord intervene. And the Lord did. And the Pharaoh's like yeah see you next plague.

Don't we do the same thing? Think of people that make great promises to God. Oh God if you get me out of this mess I'm in usually a mess you created for yourself. And the Lord intervenes and helps you.

Then you go and do it again and again. So the Pharaoh kept hardening his heart. We're following one of the most fascinating encounters in the Bible.

Pastor Greg Laurie is leading our study of Exodus today here on A New Beginning and the confrontation between the prophet Moses and the Pharaoh of Egypt. Well Pastor Greg the movie Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon came out in theaters a number of months ago and we received a lot of viewer comments. This one said the movie made my soul sing. It sparked my faith in a way I did not expect. I walked out of the theater refreshed and renewed.

And you know that's that's the way my wife and I felt after seeing the movie. But what surprised me was how many special guests there were in the film. Celebrities. And they bring such rich color to the life of Johnny Cash because they knew him well didn't they? Yes and I think it's really important to note is there have been other documentary films done on the life of Cash and they're and they're really good some of them.

But none of them focus on what we focused on. This is a spiritual documentary. In other words we're telling the story of the Man in Black but we're telling it from the perspective of his faith journey. And so we have a lot of interesting people that wanted to talk about Johnny Cash starting with his family. John Carter Cash's son.

His sister Joanna Cash Yates who is with him obviously from the very beginning. But then we have Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, Marty Stewart, Winona Judd and others that some knew him some recorded with him some just admired him but they were all influenced by him. And the interesting thing is they talk about the faith of Johnny Cash.

How strong that came through. Johnny was not embarrassed to talk about his faith. At the end of his life he did a series of recordings that are called the American Recordings with the producer Rick Rubin. I think it's the finest work of the career of Cash. Even as his health was failing it almost brought a greater authenticity to his recordings. And you know it's interesting because Rick Rubin this amazing producer that got Johnny back to his roots and just Johnny and his guitar and some great production added to enhance it but not too much to overshadow it said that Johnny would say well let's have communion. They would have communion together before they would go into the recording studio.

So here is Johnny recording with people like Tom Petty in his band and Bono and and other rock luminaries. And Johnny was always up front about his faith. Everybody knew that Johnny was a Christian.

Sometimes he'd be working for a while and he'd say well I'm done and he'd go home and just want to read his Bible and pray. This is very interwoven into Johnny's life. So you're going to learn things about Johnny you didn't know. For instance did you know that Johnny Cash was an ordained minister?

Yes it's true. Oh yes he went to Bible school and he got a degree. So these are things people don't know about Johnny Cash. Did you know that Johnny Cash originally wanted to be a gospel recording artist not a country artist. So there's a lot of twists and turns in the life of this fascinating character and it's all found in this beautiful documentary film called Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon. And I would add that in this particular DVD we're offering it has bonus content.

You won't find this anywhere else. Now you can stream this film on other platforms like Amazon and Apple but they don't have this bonus content which includes a presentation of the gospel that I give based on Johnny's life. I tell people who Jesus is how to come into our relationship with him and I even have a prayer that they can pray to accept Christ. So think about this what a great tool. You can invite people over to your home and have a watch party or sit down in front of a computer or a tablet and watch it with someone.

You say well I thought it was a DVD yeah it's a DVD but it also comes with a streaming code so you can download it to your phone your tablet or your laptop. So this is a great resource one of the best we've ever offered and I'll send it to you for your gift of any size. I'm going to ask you to be more generous and normal because we've had to pay more for this resource than we would normally pay for something that we would offer you and whatever you send we'll take that money and invest it in this work that we do here in a new beginning to teach the bible. You know we do that and also to proclaim the gospel you know we do that too. So if you believe in this mission that we're involved in why don't you join us and become a partner.

We haven't mentioned this for a while Dave. In addition to just encouraging people to order their copy of this new DVD on the life of cash let's tell them how to become a Harvest Partner. Yeah let's do that. Harvest Partners are close friends of the ministry who feel strongly about the importance of sharing the gospel and they recognize how the Lord is working through Harvest Ministries to bring many people to the Lord through this radio program through tv through films like this one through Pastor Greg's books through digital media really everything that's available to us and if you'd like to become a Harvest Partner and regularly support this important work get in touch with us at 1-800-821-3300 we'll take care of the details. And with your first gift as a Harvest Partner we'll thank you with this new DVD Johnny Cash the redemption of an American icon again dial 1-800-821-3300 or write us and mention you'd like to become a Harvest Partner. Our address is A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or go online to

Well next time more insight on the danger of having a hardened heart. Pastor Greg continues our studies of the life of Moses. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-28 13:38:11 / 2023-08-28 13:48:23 / 10

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