Saturday, December 20, 2014
The Choices of Pharaoh
There is a great story in the Old Testament that almost everyone knows. It's the story of Moses leading God's people out of Egypt. You can find the story in Exodus...It starts in Exodus 4 and continues for a few chapters. In fact, it is one of the longer stories in the Old Testament and galvanized Israel as the people of God. It's one of the keystone stories of their faith. It also has several important lessons for us, but I would like to focus on just one of those lessons today.
The hardening of Pharaoh's heart is the story I would like to bring to your attention. it's one that is often overlooked but it is significant in several ways.
1) Moses confronts Pharaoh, not by his own power, but he had the full faith and backing of the Lord. Pretty much the entirety of Exodus Chapter 4 is devoted to this. Moses had several failings and he was not without fear, but the Lord answered every question and filled in the gapps for Moses at every turn. moses had only to be faithful in what the Lord tasked him to do. We know the ending, so we know he was successful...not by his own power, but by the Lord's. Such it is with the Christian as well...I must decrease, but HE must increase. If we remember that, things will go much more smoothly.
2) When Moses confronts Pharaoh, Pharaoh at first, relented, but then because of his pride, Pharaoh hardens his own heart and refuses to let God's people go as He has demanded. This goes on for a long time. God is patient with Pharaoh, even though He knows that Pharaoh's pride will get in the way of doing the right thing every time. We need to be careful of this in our own lives as well. Listen to what the Lord is saying and be obedient or suffer the consequences. these consequences can be very serious. Even for the Christian. Now you cannot lose your salvation, but like Pharaoh, we can indeed lose our life. Be careful and obedient to follow what God wants in your life. If we do, His blessings will come to us.
3) The pivotal verse, in my opinion, is this verse: Exodus 9:12 And the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses. You see, up until this time, in Chapters 7, 8 and the beginning of Chapter 9, Pharaoh had control and each and every time, Pharaoh hardens his own heart, but here in this verse Exodus 9:12 we see God hardening Pharaoh's heart. God was patient with him up until this point, but after that, Pharaoh's chances were gone. This hardening of Pharaoh's heart was the turning point, and from then on, Pharaoh's fate was sealed and his destiny set. Way back in Exodus Chapter 4:21 the Lord said he would harden Pharaoh's heart, yet His grace extended a long tome before He did this, giving Pharaoh many chances to change his ways. Alas, hubris is what doomed Pharaoh to his fate.
Christians, we are in our own lives struggling with many hard issues and yet the Lord is patient with us so that we may change our ways. Do not neglect such grace. It may not be extended forever. For those of you you who are sitting on the fence and have not made a decision for Christ, please be aware that the time is short to do so. Please make a decision today...and choose life: Choose Jesus!