“Exposing the Exodus”
The Conclusion of Unbelief – (Chapter 7 Verses 8-13)
We are hardly surprised, Pharaoh, like many others, is not impressed, or altered in any degree by witnessing a miracle. “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:29-31). But this is just as God said it would be, he would harden Pharaoh’s heart (v13). What God speaks is always reliable. Some versions seek to soften this with, he became, or was hardened. The authorised version has the correct rendering, “And he (God) hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (v13; v3). In the perversity of man’s fallen nature, he is ever seeking to reverse God’s order. The sinful mind says, do good to be saved. The Lord says the opposite, be saved in order to do good. The sinful mind says, believe in order to be born again. God says a man must be born again in order to believe. Whose authority are we going to bow to, “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will“ (Proverbs 21:1). Such matters we do not philosophise over, neither do we question the righteousness, the holiness of God. TDhe Scripture is clear regarding God’s ways, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor” (Romans 11:33-34)? Rather we tremble before him and marvel at his grace. If he has softened our hearts it is cause for us to magnify and to glorify his sovereign grace unceasingly throughout time and eternity.
God is sovereign, but this does not remove Pharaoh’s accountability. He would not listen to God’s word (v13). If a person will not listen to the word of the Lord how then can they be saved? Of course, you can hear but not listen. Why Jesus stressed this so very important matter, “And he (Jesus) called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand” (Matthew 15:10). You can be sitting in a congregation where God’s word is being preached and still not be listening. No not even divine supernatural activity would cause this man to listen. He is stone deaf to the Spirit of God. However, this is the fulfilment of God’s prediction as to how events would pan out. This is an encouragement for the faith of God’s people. Here is extraordinary proof of the presence and power of God with his servants. For the power matched by Pharaoh’s sorcerers is overwhelmed, swallowed up by God’s (v12b). These verses are crucial for what follows. Egypt has become a stage. Pharaoh is the villain, Israel is the rapt audience, but there the analogy breaks down. Because God ain’t playing, performing. He is simply being himself, fulfilling his eternal decree and keeping his word. And he will never cease to do so until every doubter who has been chosen to salvation believes and is gathered into his kingdom.
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)