But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear.

Do you consider yourself a quick learner, or does it take you a long time and a lot of trial and error to pick up on things? What about spiritual lessons? Do you love and obey God easily, or have you tended to learn to love and obey Him the hard way?

In Deuteronomy 29, Moses was looking back on 40 years of watching God’s people stubbornly learn things the hard way. The old covenant wasn’t insufficient because God didn’t think it all the way through or because His commands were bad. The old covenant was insufficient because people’s hearts were bad. They continuously disobeyed God because their commitment to His law was largely external; it had not gotten into their hearts. On their part, that’s because they resisted God. On God’s part, it’s because He withheld the full indwelling of His Spirit in order to teach lessons until the time He determined to establish the new covenant through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Until that time, God gave continual inducements and opportunities to generations of people to understand, see, and hear the message He was telling them through His commands and covenant promises. But He did not supernaturally cause their hearts to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. He allowed their choice, which was to harden their hearts and continue in rebellion. Today, God makes His truth available to all people, and we still have a choice. As recipients of the new covenant, however, His Spirit works together with our faith to draw us to Him, not simply with external behaviors but internally with hearts to understand, eyes to see, and ears to hear.

• What is something in which God’s Spirit has given you a heart to understand, eyes to see, and ears to hear?

• What is something you need God’s Spirit to give you a heart to understand, eyes to see, and ears to hear? What is your part in that process?

• Thank God that through the new covenant He draws us to Himself. Ask Him to continue to give you a heart to understand His ways, eyes to see His kingdom purposes, and ears to hear His call and commands so that you might walk in the fullness of His promises.