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Seeing the same things; drawing different conclusions

Our reading for today: Exodus 8:1-10:20

My selection: Exodus 10:1-2

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

My reflections: On several occasions the Scripture says that Pharaoh hardened his heart in response to the plagues. Here God says He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh was not a robot. He did what he wanted to do according to his own natural inclinations. He may have deluded himself with the thought of being a courageous leader of the nation, resisting the pressure of the enslaved Israelites to be released to worship the Lord. Whatever his thought processes, Pharaoh hardened his heart.

But it is also true that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, in that God left Pharaoh in his natural state so that his heart was hard and foolish.

The result would be that the Israelites would someday tell the stories of the plagues to their grandchildren. They would all know who the Lord is through these events.

God rules over the hearts of all. Unless He chooses to change a heart it will remain unresponsive, defensive, unrepentant, and unbelieving just as Pharaoh’s was.  Pharaoh saw God’s power but did not believe.  The Israelites saw and believed. As an agnostic friend once told me, “we see the same things, but draw different conclusions.”

My challenge: If God has given you faith in Him and a hatred for sin, give thanks to Him. He has not left you in your natural state. This is also called regeneration or the new birth (John 3:3; I Peter 1:23). Be sure and relate to your family and friends your testimony of God’s work in you which resulted in a soft heart that believes and not a hard one that rebels.

If you do not believe, ask God to give you the grace to believe and repent of your sin.  Keep reading the Bible and attending church where you will hear the gospel.  Concern about your spiritual life is evidence of God’s work in you.

Our reading for tomorrow: Exodus 10:21-13:16

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