Translation is a tricky thing. For example, the Old Testament often refers to “hardness of heart” in King James language.

This phrase especially refers to Pharaoh of the Exodus (Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:34 10:1). In the God’s Word translation they use “became stubborn”. This, too, misses the point.

In Hebrew thinking the heart represents thinking. (“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”
Proverbs 23:7 KJV is one example, where the Hebrew is translated word for word).

openmindedThis does not represent an emotional state or reaction as in our culture where heart refers to feelings. The best translation would be “closed his/her mind”.

Here it is. Despite what should be convincing proof people close their minds to God. And the closed mind abuses. It lives in arrogance. Fairness no longer comes into the picture because the closed mind can hurt, torture, murder and blame it on the victim. A closed mind no longer hears the conscience, the built in, genetic voice that calls for fairness and doing what is right.

And what about when God closes Pharaoh’s mind? Well, Pharaoh chose to shut out God, denying argument and proof. God respected that decision, evil though it was, and so the story says God closed the king’s mind, meaning God accepted that awful decision and gave Pharaoh what he chose for himself.

So with people today, they close their mind to anything except their own views, opinions and choices, and God lets them go their way, gives up on them, allows their sin to rule their lives. Paul writes about this at length:
“God’s anger is revealed from heaven against every ungodly and immoral thing people do as they try to suppress the truth by their immoral living. What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them. From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse. They knew God but did not praise and thank him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were pointless, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness. While claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for statues that looked like mortal humans, birds, animals, and snakes. For this reason God allowed their lusts to control them” (Romans 1:18-24a God’s Word).

So, whatever you think is right must be checked with other believers, balanced against Scripture, and tested by the paradigm of love which Jesus demands must overrule everything.

Whatever “good works” you think you do, if you ignore the Bible’s guidance, do harm to other believers, exercise power over others, presume to know God’s will better than the person God has called, or presume human logic and learning supercede God’s wisdom, then the “good” you do is simply not!

“A person thinks everything [one] does is right, but the Lord weighs hearts. Doing what is right and fair is more acceptable to the Lord than offering a sacrifice” (Proverbs 21:2-3 God’s Word).