“But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said” (Exodus 8:5).
While considering again the account of Moses and Pharaoh, I kept asking myself, “How could Pharaoh have such a hard heart?” You remember the story…. God called Moses to command Pharaoh to stop enslaving the Israelites and let them go. Moses and Aaron performed miracle after miracle in the presence of the Egyptian king. At times Pharaoh gave in when the heat was on, but when the immediate effects of judgment cooled off, it was back to ignoring God. Here was a man who had a front row seat to some of the greatest miracles recorded in the Bible, but still he turned his back on God! Just before sending His final judgments, God gave Pharaoh and Egypt another chance. Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and proclaimed, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me’” (Exodus 10:3). In the bitter end, Pharaoh refused to listen, instead leading his soldiers into the watery grave of the Red Sea. This story helps us understand something about God and ourselves. First, God will allow us to harden our hearts if that’s what we want. Along with a hard heart comes stinging consequences and harsh results. We can “play God,” but we can’t determine the outcome. As someone noted, “Play stupid games, get stupid prizes.” Second, this story helps us understand something about our own hearts. The reason we end up with a hard heart is because we refuse to humble ourselves. In our deception, we somehow think we’re smarter than God—that we really don’t need Him. Will we learn from Pharaoh? His life shouts to us, “Don’t harden your heart…trust and obey God.” The choice is ours.
Pastor Mark Boucher