God is speaking a fresh word every day to all who will hear, but many cannot hear it because their hearts are growing hard. In Hebrews we read, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8). God’s voice is a “today” voice. He wants us to hear an up-to-the-minute voice.
Jesus warned us about stony-ground hearers: “These are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended” (Mark 4:16-17). This refers to the ones who love to hear, who receive all God says with gladness. But the Word does not sink in. God’s voice does not change them. They remain unbroken with their hearts turning to stone. Where are the stony hearts? In prison? On the streets? Sadly, the hardest of hearts can be found in God’s house among those who don’t even know they are getting hard!
Let me tell you how Christians develop hard hearts. They refuse to allow God’s voice to smash their stubborn will. They hear God’s voice in His Word, in preaching, and sometimes even in the still, small voice. Yet, they will not obey it! The Word cannot take root. And there is something even worse. Every day God is calling His people to the secret closet of prayer because He wants to speak. He wants to talk about obedience, about problems, about the future, and give guidance. “I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not” (Jeremiah 7:13). Each time we refuse that call and go instead to our own interests and business, putting other things ahead of God—every time we miss a day of hearing—every day we refuse to listen—our hearts grow colder and colder. Every time we listen to another voice rather than waiting to hear His voice, we grow a little harder.
When we refuse to discipline ourselves to be alone with God to hear His voice, we become strangers to that voice. It is shameful to observe what is happening in so many churches today with many who can no longer recognize God's voice. The Lord sees them getting hard, but He cares and loves them still. So He turns His Holy Ghost light upon them, bringing a scorching, penetrating word—a voice of thunder—to awaken them up. But the Word offends them; the very Word God meant to deliver them offends them and they get angry and dry up! “When the sun comes up they are scorched and wither” (see Matthew 13:6).