Constance begins her discussion on Jeremiah 5:3 with this statement, “The chastisements are ineffective when men’s hearts are stubborn and rebellious.”[1] Indeed, this is Jeremiah discovered. He writes, “O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them 08 man of steeldown, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.” Hardness of heart is an epidemic. It was clearly displayed in Pharaoh’s heart. No matter what God brought to bear on his life and the life of his people he persisted in disbelief. He argued, “who is God, that I should obey him?” As Peterson translates Exodus 5:2 in The Message, “Pharaoh said, ‘And who is GOD that I should listen to him and send Israel off? I know nothing of this so-called GOD and I’m certainly not going to send Israel off.’”

In the movie “Signs” Mel Gibson plays a minister who has lost his faith. In a dialogue with his brother he explains how people see the world differently. He said that there are two groups of people in the world. The first group sees the events of life as a complete turn of chance. Both the good and the bad things in life have no meaning.  This group feels that whatever happens, “they’re on their own” in the universe. The other group sees the hand of God in all life’s experiences. “…Deep down, they feel that, whatever’s going to happen, there’ll be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See, what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way. Is it possible that there are no coincidences?”[2] The hard-hearted don’t want to see a personal God involved in their lives. For reasons too numerous to mention many people will not have anything to do with God. God demonstrated His own love for us, in this, that while we were yet sinners (hard hearted) Christ died for our sins! You see God is a personal God all of our relationships with him are always personal. The Bible sees God in every event of life, good and bad. The believer looks for God’s hand in it all.

It takes a miracle to bring a person from group one to group two. There is hope for men of steel! They can change! John Bunyan, the author of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” wrote, “If you would be rid of a hard heart, that great enemy to the growth of grace …be much with Christ upon the cross in your meditations, for that is an excellent remedy against hardness of heart. A right sight of him, as he hanged there for your sins, will dissolve your heart into tears, and make it soft and tender.”[3] Spurgeon wrote, “If it does not trouble you that God is angry with you, it ought to trouble you; and it troubles me that it does not trouble you. A man who is able to take pleasure and be at ease while God is angry with him, shows that his heart is harder than steel.”[4]

[1] Mrs. T. M. Constance, Jeremiah, vol. 1 (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 1978), 28.


[3] Elliot Ritzema and Elizabeth Vince, eds., 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans, Pastorum Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013).

[4] C. H. Spurgeon, Flashes of Thought (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 192.