Today's verses are Mark 8:10,11: "And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.  The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him." Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee and traveled westward to Dalmanutha, an area also known as Magdala.  After his arrival, the Pharisees, the religious rulers, came to him and argued with him about his identity.  If he was truly God, they wanted a sign from heaven to prove it.  They were testing him, demanding from him, to prove himself to be God in their sight.

The problem was their hearts.  They were not asking Jesus for a sign from a searching, seeking, pliable heart.  They were demanding of Jesus because of their hard hearts.  They wanted him to do what they wanted him to do.  Even if he'd given them a sign, they'd have brushed it off and tried to find yet another reason not to believe.

Too often, we do the same thing.  We say to God, "I'll believe you if you just do so and so for me."  Then when God doesn't come through the way we want him to, we become bitter and unbelief increases.  But we never really wanted a relationship with God.  We never wanted closeness and intimacy with God.  We wanted him to serve us.

Please hear this: God is not here to serve us.  We are here to serve him.  Yes, he promises to meet our needs.  He does so, often with seven baskets left over!  He loves to bless and care for his children.  But his gracious care is given to us only to increase a heart of faith and service to him for his glory.

Be careful of a hard heart.  That's the real issue here.  What is a sign of a hard heart?  It constantly "tests" God.  It demands from God.  It is a heart that creates God in our own image: he is here to serve us, not vice versa.

God may give you a sign to help your unbelief, especially if your heart is weary and you need a special touch from him.  But the moment you demand it, you are "testing" God.  It's a dangerous heart condition.