There is a new thing sweeping the land and it is not good. One cannot help but see parallels as we read through the history of Israel and the acts of the kings. They were a people who had lost sight of their purpose because they had lost sight of their God. It was not doubt that had crept into their heart but instead the hardness of unbelief.
Throughout the gospels we read this phrase, hardness of heart, applied to various people but always for the same reason. We sometimes mistakenly consider it to explain doubt but it is not doubt; it is the hardness of unbelief. Doubt is when there is a thought that what you are seeing may not be real or does not apply to you, or it is something you can't do. Unbelief is a refusal to believe what you see or hear. It is when a person hardens their heart against something, refusing it any foothold in the realm of their reality.
We read how the disciples had such moments, when they had not yet accepted the impossibility of the man they had chosen to follow. Then it should not be difficult for us to accept that the spiritual leaders of the day also suffered from unbelief:
Yes, there is nothing that grieves the heart of Jesus more than the hardness of the heart of those who shut him out with unbelief, yet this is the wave that is sweeping through the nations today. It is no longer a matter of people struggling with doubts about Yahweh's goodness or love but now it is an all out refusal to believe in him, his holiness and his righteousness. Instead, people are creating their own personal versions of Yahweh, a version that best fits their desires and lifestyles.
It is not that people want to throw away the idea of a god, they just don't want the true God who holds us accountable to his standards of holiness. They don't even like the free option Jesus gave because they like how they are and don't want to be transformed. Yes, you can't encounter Jesus and stay the same. People want a god who will benefit them but not one that they are obligated to, so they harden their hearts to Jesus. They refuse to believe and they set up their own plastic version that they can mold to their feelings and ideas each day.
So this morning I ask you, which god do you serve; one of your own making or the One True God, Yahweh? Are you suffering from a hardness of heart, accepting a god you can shape into your own desires, or do you serve the One True God who has revealed his holiness and told his children to be holy as he is holy? If you get to shape your own god then he is not Yahweh. If you are being shaped by God then you have a heart possessed by Jesus. Friends, know the difference between momentary doubts and hardness of heart and learn to stand on the Word and only the Word of God.