Athlete, Know Your Heart

Read Exodus 7

The plagues were not the only judgments on Pharaoh and the Egyptians.  Before any plague occurred, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (7:3).  This is troubling to many.  Is God removing Pharaoh’s agency so that He can accomplish some greater purpose?  If not, then what is happening when God hardens Pharaoh’s heart?

We need to remember that all of our hearts are hardened toward God apart from the work of his Spirit, due to the disease of sin and selfishness that is in all of us.  Before Moses appeared on the scene, Pharaoh’s heart was already stubborn and calloused toward God.  The fact that Pharaoh was enslaving and abusing an entire race of people is ample evidence of this pre-existing condition.  God never takes a pure heart and hardens it.  Rather, He judges hard hearts by giving them over to their own darkness.  We see this truth in the New Testament when Paul repeats the phrase, “God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts . . . ", three times (Romans 1:24,26,28).  Pharaoh continues to make the decisions that he wants to make and, as the plagues roll in, we will see him wrestling and wavering in his decisions.  By giving Pharaoh over to his own hardness of his heart, God exposes the depths of human sin and stubbornness, making it quite clear that his judgments are just.

Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. How have you seen stubbornness, callousness, or hardness toward God in your own heart?  
2. God would be perfectly just in allowing our hearts to go their own way, giving us over to sin and death.  How has He been gracious to you in softening your heart so that you can see him for who He is, see your own sin, and turn to him?  

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