I am thinking there has got to be some type of Spiritual message in this passage. Why would this particular word be used-stone-and the 'flesh' as a replacement? I can see if it was just remove your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of love, kindness, etc. But the writer is actually using the word 'flesh' as a replacement?
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In my opinion, although the word "flesh" is used in various Biblical passages in a negative sense to refer to carnality (as in Romans 7:25), or to something that is transient or that passes away (as in Isaiah 40:6), I believe that in the verse cited in the question, it is employed (as the questioner suggests) as an indicator of emotional warmth or positive human feelings in connection with the heart as the figurative seat of those attributes, as contrasted with a heart of stone, which would be cold, hard, and unyielding.
I think the Bible refers to the heart as the center of control of a person. When a heart is stone, it is hard and impenetrable, and not much can change it. By contrast, a heart of flesh is soft and malleable, able to respond to outside influences. God gives us his word and it is supposed to enter the heart, changing it like a seed enters good soil and takes root. Jer 32:39 says the Lord will give his people one heart and they will fear him forever, and Deut 30:6 says the Lord will circumcise the heart, that the people would love God. So the heart of stone is a heart resistant to God's word and refuses to obey him, while a heart of flesh listens to God's word and obeys it.
Well answering in under 500 words will be a challenge, but the short version is that according to Zachariah 7:12-14 we see that God's people Israel was rebellious and refused to hear (Shema H8085) God's Torah/Law. Shema means to Hear and obey, so it's not just listening but also doing. Zechariah 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. 13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: 14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate. Because of this their heart became hardened. When we don't listen or even refuse to listen (hear and obey) to the word of God, we become hard harden to the will of God. In Ezekiel 36 God Promises to put a new spirit in us so that we will desire to walk in His ways, keep commandments and do them 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them By His Holy Spirit we desire to draw close to Him and live a life that is pleasing to Him. His Spirit empowers us to have a desire to shed the sinful ways of our old nature and put on the armour of God and have the mind of Christ. In doing so it ties in with the promise of the new covenant Jeremiah 31:31 31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. I pray that this answer helps in your desire to draw close to Yahweh and bless you!
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