Locked-in and locked-out
Acts 28:27 “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”
Paul sees that he has been sent and Israel was his first love, he desired so much for them to hear the gospel and he has been rejected, but it wasn’t so much him but the fact that they were rejecting Jesus which caused the pain in his heart.
The reason why they would not hear or see or understand is because their hearts had become hardened. Not that they knew this. If you had asked them then they would say their hearts were open to God. They were worshippers and held to the laws of God. They were not Gentiles, unbelievers. But they were locked-in. They were closed off from any further revelation from God other than that of Abraham and Moses. It is still possible today. We can hold to a revelation of God, an experience, a moment in time, a move of God’s Spirit that was so special and historical that it changed our lives for ever and we live in that experience for the rest of our lives. In order to honour that moment, to honour God, to preserve His move and word then we continue to focus solely on what happened, everything we do is from that point, it is our filter and everything has to pass through it. Anything new is rejected. What happens unbeknown to us is that the beautiful experience has become a calloused place in our lives. It has trapped us and we now no longer hear and see and understand what God wants to do today.
We need to unlock our heart. We need to change our prayers. We need to use new vocabulary. We need to search again. We need to focus on something new of the nature of God. If our God is a Holy God who demands our repentance and our submission then perhaps it is possible we can become so locked in to that revelation that it hardens us to the truth that He is a God of grace, love, mercy who enjoys being called “Daddy” (Abba Father).
If we ever become locked-in then we will be locked-out from progressing in knowing God. This is what happened to God’s people in Isaiah’s day and of Paul’s and it is still true today. Let it not be us.