46. The harder a heart becomes, the harder the Spirit must work to penetrate its darkness with light.

How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. {Proverbs 28:14}

We have become quite adept at quieting our consciences when we want to, so I would imagine that most of us haven’t ever taken the time to really stop and think about what it must do to a person to reject light. And by rejecting light, I’m not talking about a person not agreeing when I try to tell them something that I believe is true. Sometimes people refer to that as rejecting light: “Well, I tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen.” No, rejecting light means that a person has been convicted of a particular truth by the Holy Spirit, and instead of surrendering and submitting themselves to that truth and the changes it would bring in their lives, they decide to continue living as they have been, in effect trying to ignore what they have seen and believed is reality.

Again, Pharaoh and the plagues are a prime example of this. Through his association with Moses, Pharaoh came to quickly understand that God was, indeed, behind the command to let the Israelites go, and by the supernatural plagues He was bringing on the land, Pharaoh understood that God was sovereign and he ought to listen and obey Him. The Bible records that Pharaoh said exactly that more than once throughout the whole ordeal. “I am in the wrong, and God is right,” he said.

But whenever he had this conviction of heart, he would eventually “repent” of his “repentance” and stubbornly refuse once again to obey God. Now what does that do to a person—declaring that they know they have had an encounter with the eternal God, but then choosing to do their own thing in defiance of His wishes instead? That takes an awful lot of deliberate pride and denial!

When anyone engages in such incredible behavior, it makes it that much harder for the Spirit to get through to us the next time. The degree to which we have actively worked to suppress light and let darkness reign in our hearts will make it that much harder for the light to penetrate the next time. That’s why harder hearts require a louder voice. That’s why, over the course of the ten plagues, the supernatural manifestations of God’s sovereignty and power had to be consistently ramped up—because the harder Pharaoh’s heart got, the harder it was for the light of truth to penetrate it again the next time.

The Spirit certainly prefers to operate at a whisper, but He loves us so much that He will willingly raise His voice when He encounters a hard heart.

If you want to dig deeper—
Exodus 8:19
Psalm 95:8-9
Isaiah 42:18-20, 23-25
Isaiah 59:2
Obadiah 2-4
Zechariah 7:12
Acts 26:13-15