Jesus is prophesied in Isaiah 53:2 as a young plant that grows out of dry ground. When we see parched, dry soil that is cracked and barren with a young plant growing out of it, we become amazed at the tenacity and strength of the plant that could grow in such formidable circumstances AND bring life to it.
Isaiah 53:2a For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground;
The “soil” of the heart is to be soft, furrowed and ready for planting in order to bring about good fruit. Humankind struggles with the lack of lovingkindness that only Yahweh can provide through Jesus Christ. When hearts are hard, unwilling to yield to Jesus Christ, the end result is far from pleasant.
Proverbs 28:14 How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
One of two points of this verse is that a person who fears/respects Yahweh will be blessed. The other is that a heart is hardened because the person allows it to become that way which results in misery and distress. The Old Testament history of Israel is filled with many records of hardened hearts toward Yahweh that resulted in great famine (1 Kings 18), being overrun by unbelieving nations (Isaiah 36, Judges 2), and being dragged off into captivity (2 Kings 18:11). Yahweh gave the Israelites warnings to change their hardened hearts and love Him only, and they chose not to heed those admonitions.
Yahweh stopped communicating with prophets for approximately four hundred years before Jesus was born. By the time of Jesus, the Pharisees and other religious leaders had, and continued to have, hard hearts. What Yahweh desired and desires today is to be loved by His people with a heart of flesh and not a heart of stone.
Ezekiel 36:26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Jesus was Yahweh’s answer to hardened hearts. He is the living plant that grows in the sickest, most barren, and pained hearts and brings not just life, but eternal life.
Jesus taught how those who are his disciples can keep their hearts tender and ready to receive good things from him and his Father.
The Pharisees, who were supposed to lead Yahweh’s people, were bound by their own traditions which caused their hearts to be hard against Yahweh, and Jesus pointed this out very clearly.
Mark 7:1-7 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’
In fact, the Pharisees’ hearts were so hard that they crucified our Messiah.
Yet, Jesus brought life to a dark and perverse world. He softened the hearts of those who believed. The book of Acts teaches about the changed hearts that lived their lives as disciples of Jesus, teaching and healing all who would believe. The Apostle Paul is one of the best examples.
Today, we have to guard against our hearts becoming hard with trials and tribulations which are real and very difficult.
The only cure for a parched and barren heart that has been sucked dry by the world is accepting Jesus as our Savior and living faithfully for him each day. Only Jesus can bring life to a soul that has pain and suffering. Only Jesus can rid a heart of bitterness and disappointment. He is the only way to Yahweh.
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,
Not only will the acceptance of Jesus give us access to Yahweh, but it will heal us, our families, communities, and nations. His love in our hearts transforms us. We become new with a heart that receives blessings and gives out the love of Christ to others. Jesus warns us…
Luke 21:34a “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life,
This hard heart can happen even after we believe that Jesus is Yahweh’s only begotten Son. We are not immune from it. What humankind desires is for our hearts to burn within us while we read and hear Scripture and live as Jesus Christ demonstrated with his life (Luke 24:32). Jesus Christ does grow as a plant in the parched ground of the heart. Only he can make life out of darkness. Where we accept and continuing in faith that Jesus as the Messiah, he begins a radical change in lives of believers makes dry ground into holy ground.