God’s word often uses the word ‘heart’ to describe the attitude of human minds as God sees them. Our reading in Acts reaches its conclusion, and it seems to be something of an anti-climax. Paul is in Rome for “two whole years” living there “at his own expense”. Initially “the local leaders of the Jews” (verse 17) gathered together at his request and Paul explains to them the circumstances that led to him being in Rome. He tells them, “it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain” (verse 20). It is the hope of Israel for us, and all that it entails about the kingdom, that sets us apart from others who believe in Christ!
The local Jews “came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus …” (verse 23). The foundation for all that he said about the hope of the followers of Christ in “the kingdom of God” (verse 31) was “from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved” (verse 24).
Paul saw their attitudes as being a fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy; “this people … will indeed hear but never understand … will indeed see but never perceive” (verse 26). Can we see parallels with today when Bibles are freely available but people only read what they want to read? Says Paul, “this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes …” (verse 27).
Interesting point! Do you hear as a result of what your eyes see? In these days of online viewing most people do! How much of what we see makes our minds dull. So much of it is carefully packaged from the perspective of human wisdom. May this not happen to those who read and digest God’s word. May we make sure we have an adequate ‘meal’ every day to keep our hearts healthy.