Most people hate to hear the words, “I will harden his heart” as God speaks to Moses in Exodus 4:21. Yet we know that God is perfectly just in all that He does. Pharaoh did not need God to do anything mystical to make his heart hard. We are all born in sin and rebellion against God. All God had to do was assert His authority and take away Pharaoh’s toys and he threw a fit like any toddler would do under the same circumstances. We often fail to recognize the state of our hearts before God goes to work in them. Our hearts are just like Pharaoh’s because we are all sons of Adam and children of rebellion. As such, God could rightfully allow all of our hearts to grow harder and harder as He exercises His providence in our lives, giving and taking away as He sees fit. He is the Creator and Ruler of all that is and we would continue to resist His power and authority if we were left to ourselves.
Pharaoh’s Hard Heart – SERMON AUDIO
Following what Paul tells the Romans in the first chapter of his letter to the Christians there, Pharaoh has rejected God and set himself up as the ruler of his own domain. As a result, God’s judgment has come upon him, and allowed him to move himself further away from God’s rule and authority. God’s judgment for those who want no part of Him, or who reconstruct Him to fit their own comfort level, is to give them what they want;
Romans 1:18-24 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves….
The more we reject the true God and make our own gods who fit our personal comfort and accept our sin, the more God “gives us up” to what we want. Pharaoh had taken this to an extreme level as he was considered a god to the people of Egypt and as he tried to consume the people of God for his own selfish ends. The only thing special about Pharaoh is that he held great power, power which God gave him. He used his power against God in his arrogance.
When Moses came to him to ask, (very politely, I might add) to let the people of Israel go, Pharaoh got snooty with him right off the bat;
Exodus 5:1-5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’ ” 2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.” 3 So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!”
God know just how he would react and used it to His own advantage and to the advantage of the rest of the world since He free Israel and through them brought Jesus into the world so that He could redeem people from every nation, tribe and tongue. Ultimately, it was God’s love and faithfulness that won the day! He overcomes the hard hearts of people every day. The big question for all of us is this, Does God exercising His sovereign authority in our lives make our hearts hard or does it break them and cause us to fall on His mercy? We need to pray that God will overcome our hard hearts through His mercy and grace. Left to ourselves, we would only continue to harden them when God exercises His authority in our lives. Listen to the audio of this morning’s sermon and pray that the Lord would soften your heart as you see His power and faithfulness and realize the great mercy of His sacrifice of His own Son to redeem the hard hearts of the rebels who don’t really want to know Him in truth.
Pharaoh’s Hard Heart – SERMON AUDIO