“When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” – Exodus 4:22
Scripture reading: Exodus 4:21-23
God’s upcoming encounter with Pharaoh would show to Pharaoh that God alone was sovereign and worthy of divine worship. On this Lord’s Day of worship, such is a fitting subject.
Some might ask, “How could someone like Pharaoh be blamed for hardness, for who resists the will of the sovereign God?” (Romans 9:19). The concern is that God is just using us as puppets. Yet we remember the responsibility of Pharaoh. Because God is sovereign, Pharaoh has responsibility. With us all, Pharaoh has no excuse before God, who clearly reveals Himself. Our problem is not first of all the hardening that comes, but the cold hearts that are there from the start. The Bible reminds us that God, in His justice, hands people over to their own desires (Romans 1:24, 26). People reap what they sow. Unbelief and sin drive people farther from the Lord. Such foolishness is a slippery slope to hell, which only God’s grace can change.
God mentions this hardening for Moses’ encouragement, preparing him to serve with joy and confidence. Despite wrongful opposition ahead, everything will work out. People may not see the right way, the gospel or the importance of Christian living; they are hard of heart. But that ought not keep us from being faithful even as our Saviour was, for God will have His way in Egypt, at the cross and in our final deliverance. Don’t let sin and unbelief discourage you. Praise God for His superior faithfulness in Christ.
Suggestions for prayer
On this Lord’s Day, thank the Lord for His sovereignty over those who oppose Him and thank Him for giving you hope to serve Him well despite such opposition from sin and unbelief.
Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.