Reading: Exodus 7:1-13
God commands Moses and Aaron to visit Pharaoh and demand Israel’s freedom. But, adds God, “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh, who said “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice? (Exodus 5:2) has already rejected God’s authority. He will keep Israel as his slaves and trust in the power of Egypt’s idols, even if it means a serious battle against Israel’s God.
The Egyptians believed that the hearts of their gods Ra and Horus controlled all things. Pharaoh was the incarnation of these two gods. The Egyptians believed therefore that Pharaoh’s heart controls all things, also Israel’s God. Pharaoh has committed himself to trust in his gods. Israel’s God will now make sure Pharaoh’s stays committed by hardening his heart. Even when God demonstrates His power with miracles and plagues, Pharaoh will not be able to change his mind. God will keep Pharaoh’s heart hardened until He has demonstrated very publicly that “I am the LORD” and that there is no other god. God will ensure that Pharaoh and his gods are humiliated. In the end Pharaoh and his army will be drowned in the Red Sea, with Israel as witnesses.
In hardening Pharaoh’s heart God encourages Moses and the Israelites. God’s triumph over Egypt will be so great and decisive that in the end the Israelites “feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses” and sang a song of praise to God (Exodus 14:31 and 15:1). Furthermore the surrounding nations, such as Edom, Moab and all the nations of Canaan will be dismayed about what God did to Egypt (Exodus 15:15).
God does not change. He continues to humiliate even the most powerful people who oppose Him; He will continue to rescue his church from distress. How comforting for today!
Key text: Exodus 7:3 “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.”
Question: Why is it right of God to harden Pharaoh’s heart?