Let me be the first to state, I am by no means a mineral expert. When various rocks and gems present themselves, I find myself less and less apt to name them off. But one thing I know, largely speaking anyways, is when a rock is mentioned, it is usually in a favorable light. A rock is able to represent strength, foundation, and even firm dedication. This can be seen in the physical, literary, and even spiritual world alike. But let’s be honest, if a rock is not being used properly, it’s good for breaking windows, crushing skulls, causing landslides, and little else.
In the book of Zechariah, we see that the people of God have come under heavy ridicule from God and his prophet. The reason is thanks in large part to the state of their hearts. In chapter 7, he mentions how they have cast aside the prophets of old’s orders to have compassion, to seek true justice, to not plot/think evil of one another, and above all, how they have failed to hear and respond to the words of God. He states that the reason they have closed their ears, as well as turned their shoulder on Him is that “They made their hearts like flint” (7:12a).
Like I said, if you are like me, you are a far cry from knowing your different stones from one another. But largely in the ancient world (and for many of the Biblical Lands), the flint was the strongest stone they knew. It was one that was used for building fires, making tools, and crafting knives. Now if you look at the word used here, it could mean flint, diamond (yet another strong stone), or even perhaps thorns. But either way, I think the point is made clear, their hearts were so entrapped, rotten, and far from where it ought to have been to humbly listen to the Words of their Lord. Their hearts prevented their ears, their wisdom, and their actions from responding to His commands. Was it because they loved their way of life? Was it because they had no desire to inconvenience themselves? Or was it because they thought their own philosophies or convictions were wiser than those of God’s? I’d say probably yes to all. But whatever it was, the long-term result was that of a hard and stubborn heart, such as seen in Pharaoh’s, King Sihon’s, and the Pharisees own lives. It was one that resulted in these bleak words, “just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,” says the LORD of hosts” (7:13).
Have we closed our ears? Have we turned our backs? Have we said, I shall not hear, learn, or be moved in any uncomfortable manner? Do we have this flint heart? I pray that is not so. I can’t state here that if you have hardened your heart to this extent that your outcome won’t be that of Israel’s. But I do know this, another part of scripture demonstrates to us that this word (shâmîyr) is used in another, more encouraging context. In Ezekiel 3, the chapter in which God puts His holy Word into the prophet’s mouth, where he humbly accepts his mission in life. We see that it says “Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them” (3:9). In this verse, we are introduced to something far more strong than that of flint. It is a determination, a motivation, and a drive to stand before the world as a spokesman of God. It is the result of one who comes to God in humility, accepts His commands, and willingly lives a life for Him. Admittedly, this is a bit of a broad application for us today. But as we know, the people of Zachariah’s time were ones who let their stoned heart disregard the Words of the Lord. But for individuals, just like Ezekiel, who put God first in their life, they will be able to hear, reason, and live in a way that made them stronger than stone.
“My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3
P.S. Ed Sheeran’s New Album is out, and I’ll be reviewing it soon on Christian Entertainment Reviews. Keep an eye out…