Then the Lord said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord” (Exodus 10:1-2 New Living Translation).
God hardened Pharaoh’s heart against Him for a purpose. The Egyptians worshiped many gods, and had magicians who were able to duplicate some of the same plagues the Lord brought against them. As I read this, what struck me was how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and continued to bring plagues and suffering to the Egyptians, all to show He is Lord. Scripture doesn’t tell us whether or not it was recompense for the harsh treatment of Israel during it’s captivity there, but I can’t help but wonder if it was. God wanted the Egyptians to understand He was greater than all the gods they worshiped, and He wanted the Israelites to remember all He had done to set them free. At the end of the plagues, Pharaoh relented and released the children of Israel. When Israel was freed, the hearts of the Egyptians were softened, and they freely gave the departing Israel all their riches. God was not done yet. After Israel left, Pharaoh’s heart hardened again and he gave pursuit, ending up at the banks of the Red Sea. Here, God showed Himself to be mighty and calculating (Exodus 14: 1-4) by putting Himself between the children of Israel and the Egyptians and parting the Red Sea with an East Wind (Exodus 14:15-22). Israel safely walked across the Red Sea, when the Egyptians began to pursue, God released the waters and they were drowned.
We have many around us today with hearts hardened toward God. How they came to have such hard hearts could be the result of many different things, but nonetheless, they want nothing to do with God. After reading and meditating on the story of Pharaoh, I do believe God has hardened most of these hearts because He has a greater plan to reveal Himself to them. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, so if He did such signs and wonders then, who says He can’t do them now? Just as Moses prayed for Pharaoh, we should pray for those we meet with hard hearts. Israel’s life got harder before it got better and we will also experience this. When we turn to God in prayer, with faith, knowing that if He did it for them, He will do it for us, we are able to persevere and be joyful around people with hard hearts.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You are awesome in all Your ways, and all Your ways are just. Father, let us not live above those we meet with hearts that want nothing to do with You, instead, lead us into our prayer closets for them. Give us hearts that break for them, and prayers to intercede on their behalf. You are God, You are Lord and You are Redeemer and Deliverer. There is nothing too hard for You and we know You show Yourself strong and mighty. Use us Father to speak life into those who need You but refuse to see, use us to pray for those who have no hope, use us, Lord. We thank You for all the good You have done for us, we thank You for all Your faithfulness and we thank You for hearing and answering our prayers. Give us strength to continue to stand in the gap, courage and endurance to keep going and peace to know You are at work. We bow before You in worship and stand before You in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Who’s the hard hearted person or persons in your life? Bring them before the Lord and whatever He tells you to do, obey.
Additional Scriptures: Exodus 1-15