Did God actually harden Pharaoh’s heart? Why did the Israelites hearts become hard in the face of all that God was doing for them? Is this still a problem for today? Why is this a problem for God’s people at the end of the age?
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
The Carnal Heart
Let me ask a question first, just knowing what you know about Pharaoh, do you think that he had a soft and compliant heart or a hard and recalcitrant heart?
Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
Exodus 1 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
…let us deal shrewdly with them
…they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens.
…made the children of Israel serve with rigor.
…they made their lives bitter with hard bondage…they made them serve was with rigor.
…the duties of a midwife: if it is a son, then you shall kill him
…Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river
Exodus 7:2 You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land.
Exodus 7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 7:4 But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
Exodus 7:5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”
Exodus 7:12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
Exodus 7:13 And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
Exodus 7:14 So the LORD said to Moses: “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go.
We must be aware of how God works
He had magicians, tools of Satan, under his command and authority
He was self-assured eventhough he dismissed the fact that Aaron’s rod swallowed up theirs
God allowed that to happen
God could have wreaked havoc on the people until there was only Pharaoh left
BUT because God stopped at that point, Pharaoh was left with a heart that was hard
God orchestrated all this and the timing was such that “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”
Exodus 8:8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Entreat the LORD that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.”
Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
God gives us a choice
This is the crux of the matter as we already saw in chapter 1 of Exodus. Pharaoh was already this way. He did it to himself; he allowed himself to be this way; given the facts placed before him he chose the ungodly and carnal way
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Pharaoh’s way leads to death – I don’t think I am giving away the story here.
This was his choice to not heed God
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
This a key to understanding why Pharaoh did not accept God’s way and hardened his own heart
This is the explanation of why he resisted the word of God.
Exodus 8:18 Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast.
Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.
The wrong choices that he was making led to this
Are we beginning to see how all of this is coming together:
God allowed Satan to work with Pharaoh’s men, but here with the lice, He would not; the magicians realized that God would not let them make lice
What was the outcome, effectively “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart”
Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them,
Deuteronomy 30:18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Deuteronomy 30:20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Exodus 8:28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.”
Notice as we go along, Pharaoh would not give completely in to ALL that God wanted the Israelites to do. In this case, Pharaoh was dictating where they could go as opposed to a place where the LORD chose.
It didn’t matter any way:
Exodus 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.
Pharaoh came to the conclusion that he would continue to defy God and not heed His commands.
God did not make him do this, but Pharaoh looked around at the current situation and convinced himself that this was the best way to handle it.
Exodus 9:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
Exodus 9:2 For if you refuse to let them go, and still hold them,
Pharaoh had a choice in whether to listen to God or not. God did not go against Pharaoh free will.
Free Will and Desire
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Exodus 9:7 Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.
There is a purpose in what God is doing … we need to recognize this
Exodus 9:12 But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses.
Exodus 9:13 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me,
Exodus 9:14 for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.
Exodus 9:15 Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth.
Exodus 9:16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
Exodus 9:17 As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go.
Exodus 9:27 And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.
Exodus 9:28 Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”
Exodus 9:29 So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth isthe LORD’s.
Exodus 9:30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you will not yet fear the LORD God.”
This could have been spiritual insight, or because Moses knew him well, or the way that Pharaoh said what he said in the previous verses. Nonetheless, we see that a habit has formed.
Pharaoh, through his own choices convinced himself that he could do as he pleased. Even though God gave Pharaoh every chance to repent and change his ways
Instead of recognizing what God was doing, Pharaoh took it as a license to continue to sin – because of the timing, “God hardened his heart.”
Exodus 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart [speaking of Pharaoh], he and his servants.
Exodus 9:35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; [just like God said would happen] neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
God is looking for repentance
Exodus 10:1 Now the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,
Now that we have progressed through these events, is it now clear how is He “doing” this? God knew his heart and knew that by letting him off the hook that it would serve only to make Pharaoh more resolute in his rebellious ways. Is that wrong? NO!
Let’s take the flip side…what if God did that to you or some converted person? How would you respond? More than likely in the opposite way! So by God doing the same exact thing to one of us that He is “doing” to Pharaoh there can be two different results.
2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
It is in the eye of the beholder.
God gave Pharaoh every opportunity to change his mind, his attitude – his heart.
So in this sense, it was through God letting Pharaoh off easy that his heart was hardened.
God will only extend His mercy for so long
Exodus 10:3 So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
This was one of the hallmarks of his character and one of the reasons that Pharaoh refused to change – he lacked humility.
Exodus 10:7 Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”
Some were not as stubborn as Pharaoh, God’s plagues were having the desired effect on some of them. They repented in a worldly way.
Exodus 10:9 And Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD.”
Exodus 10:11 Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the LORD, for that is what you desired.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
Exodus 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
God allowed Pharaoh to continue in his way and believe that there could be an amicable end to this for him.
Exodus 10:24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.”
Do we see how Pharaoh was acting? Where, Who and now what they could or couldnt bring
Exodus 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
Exodus 11:9 But the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
Exodus 11:10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Notice the context of this
Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I HAVE RAISED YOU UP, THAT I MAY SHOW MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED IN ALL THE EARTH.”
Romans 9:18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
God continued to have a problem with Pharaoh for rebelling against His edict…
God molded Pharaoh in the way a potter has the right to shape the clay Romans 9:17-24
Pharaoh was already under the death penalty—God did not change that
God did not make Pharaoh sin, tempt him or take away his free will
By God removing the plagues after Pharaoh’s quick “repentance” Pharaoah, instead of learning his lesson, he became more and more hardened in his stance, the more times he thought
God props up and He brings down according to His fair and merciful plan
The Israelite Heart
Not confined to Gentiles
Romans 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Romans 11:8 Just as it is written: “GOD HAS GIVEN THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES THAT THEY SHOULD NOT SEE AND EARS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT HEAR, TO THIS VERY DAY.”
Romans 11:9 And David says: “LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RECOMPENSE TO THEM.
Romans 11:10 LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED, SO THAT THEY DO NOT SEE, AND BOW DOWN THEIR BACK ALWAYS.”
Romans 11:11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
Have the things that they have done, the stumbling blocks that they have put in front of themselves, have they caused the Israelites to fall away from God and His grace permanently?
NO, BUT the Israelites were complicit in the process.… since the Israelites came up short the calling and election was now going out to the Gentiles
Still a message for us and everyone today
The Heart of People Today
Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Matthew 13:11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
Matthew 13:12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Matthew 13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Matthew 13:14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘HEARING YOU WILL HEAR AND SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND, AND SEEING YOU WILL SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE;
Matthew 13:15 FOR THE HEARTS OF THIS PEOPLE HAVE GROWN DULL. THEIR EARS ARE HARD OF HEARING, AND THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED, LEST THEY SHOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, LEST THEY SHOULD UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEARTS AND TURN, SO THAT I SHOULD HEAL THEM.’
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
Matthew 13:17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE,
Hebrews 3:8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION, IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,
Hebrews 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
Hebrews 3:15 while it is said: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION.”
Hebrews 3:16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?
Hebrews 3:17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
Hebrews 3:18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
They had knowledge of God, just rejected it.
Debased = unfit; not standing the test; failing the test; worthless; metal with impurities
Shows what happens to a society that rejects God and becomes debased
Romans 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
These are sins and the wages of sin is death Romans 3:23
This is our society today and no one thinks anything of it
Again we are talking about the Gentiles…the whole rest of the world and even as it is now
Romans 1:30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Romans 1:31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
Romans 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. [ lives that way of life]
The Laodicean Heart
It is possible for the Christian’s heart to become hard and his eyes to become blinded to the truth
Revelation 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
Revelation 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
This is the danger for today