Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy on him, said:
It is upon us, O Muslims, to cease behaving like those whom Allah has blamed, because they were busied from their Book. It is time for us to carry out what He, The Most High, has commanded us to do. Such as learning The Book of Allah – that has been given to us – teaching it, seeking to understand it, and helping others to understand it.
Allah, The Most High, said – its meaning:
16: Has the time not yet come for the believers’ hearts to be humbled by the remembrance of Allah and the truth that has been revealed, and to not be like those given the scripture before – those who were negligent for so long that their hearts became hard, and many of them were disobedient.
17: Know that Allah revives the Earth after its death. We have certainly made the signs clear for you, so that perhaps you will understand.
[Soorah al-Hadeed (57): 16-17]
By mentioning this verse (i.e. #17) after what came before it (i.e. verse #16), Allah alerted us that just as He, The Most High, revives the Earth after its death, he likewise softens the hearts due to faith after hardening due to sin and disobedience.
Our hope is directed to Allah, and we ask Him to soften our hearts. Indeed, He is The Most Giving, The Most Generous. (1)
(1) See “Summarized Tafseer Ibn Katheer” by Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir, vol. 1 / pg. 42.