Exodus 5-11 – Pharaoh’s Hard Heart verses God’s Sovereignty

Walking Through Exodus

Devotions - Week 5

Key Passages:  Exodus 5-11
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.  And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”  
Exodus 7: 1-5
We’re now on week 5 of our walk through the book of Exodus, the 2nd book in the Bible. And I want to share some thoughts to help you to pick up a specific theme that reoccurs throughout chapters 5-11 in particular.

We’re considering this week the concept that someone can have a hardened heart towards God; as demonstrated over and over again by Pharaoh (King of Egypt). Other parts of the Bible refer to people also having a calloused heart or a darkened heart. (Matthew 13:15; Psalm 17:10; Ephesians 4:18; Romans 2: 5)

In the Bible, it refers to a state of spiritual insensitivity or resistance to God’s love or direction. There are many reasons why someone may have a hardened heart towards God. For example, it could be due to:
  • Fears / insecurities
  • Challenging life experiences
  • Sinful patterns of behaviour
  • Lack of understanding about God’s character and promises
  • Unwillingness to give up control.

But it pretty much always finds it’s root in a lack of faith and trust in who God really is; and what He really wants to do in our lives.

Through the course of about 10 chapters in Exodus, we read that the Lord’s commands and conclusions led to Pharoah’s heart growing in resistance and unrepentance.

Despite the Lord’s patience and grace, the man remains unyielding and unwilling to concede control and authority – something that does not belong to him, when before a Holy God.

But when we are led to repentance and given the opportunity to surrender before the greatness of God, a good thing takes place: our hearts are softened. A softened heart is one that enables strengths to flourish. Strengths like humility, compassion, tenderness and forgiveness, to name but a few.

Cultural norms of our day might say things like: “Toughen up”, “Man up”, “Be thick-skinned”, “Keep control”, “Don’t show them your weakness.”

I believe these refrains our contradictory to the work that the Holy Spirit wants to do in us though. The God who made us, is willing and able to access these broken frameworks that our hearts and minds are propped up by. And surrendering our hearts to Him each day, is to acknowledge before Him:

  • I do have insecurities and character faults that I don’t know what to do about.

  • I do have struggles and sins that I’m encountering that I need help with.

There is a problem in my heart and I do need a solution.

The Lord gives us opportunity to recognise this and accept a renewal in this life, before we stand in front of Him in judgement. Our salvation is received in a moment; our sanctification if a lifelong process.

Jesus died on the cross for all sins – including subtle things: pride, self-reliance, arrogance.

God is committed to forming for Himself a Holy people, who are enjoying and flourishing in the blessing of relationship with Him. But He is just as committed to a Holy judgement against the sinfulness and godless choices of men and women. Those who, with proud and hardened hearts, refrain from acknowledging Him and His goodness.

Paul Tripp writes: ‘Pride is the mortal enemy of grace, because it says to God, “I am satisfied with my own righteousness, wisdom and strength; I don’t need what you have to offer.’

Bound by his enormous pride and unrepentance, Pharoah choses over and over again to ignore the invitation from God honour Him as Lord and to release God’s people from the grips of oppressive control.

And Pharoah just did not do it. And so he, and all his people around him, faced the consequences of that choice.

I think we easily forget that poor choices we make have implications on us and those around us.
Sin, pride, wanting to retain control - lead to our hearts closing up to the realities of what God offers us.

But His grace is new to you today and I believe His word would say to us still today: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

What specific aspects of your outlook or experiences might be causing you to have a hardened heart towards the Lord? Is there an area of your life that you need to humbly bring before Jesus today, in repentance?

  • Perhaps it could be a pattern of behaviour or disbelief that you need to surrender to Him.

  • Perhaps it could be a relationship that you’re struggling with – where grace and mercy is proving difficult to demonstrate – where you know your heart needs to become softened and tender and patient with.

And once you’ve taken time to speak to Him in prayer - when you’ve surrendered this particular area of your life - give thanks to Him! For truly He promises to renew our hearts – based on who He is, not based on what we feel or what we think should have just occurred. 
This Everyday Devotions was written by Adam Bream, the Venue Leader of our Southfields Venue.

If you would like to listen to the whole of this week’s sermon on 'Exodus 5-11 – Pharaoh’s Heart' why not download the Everyday Church App or visit our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions is accompanied by a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Join us as we walk through the book of Exodus by following our daily Exodus Bible Reading Plan.

Follow our Everyday Devotions Playlist for some songs to help you worship God in Spirit and truth this week.
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