“Exposing the Exodus”
The Typical Response – (Chapter 9 Verses 13-35)
The king, Pharaoh, is forced into this acknowledgment (v27). Yes, Jehovah is God he says, but not God alone, along with all his other so-called gods. Moses God just happens to have the upper hand in this for now. He has not yet come to the place he needs to come to (14). He is humbled by the mighty power of God but not in a loving, submissive humility that’s wrought by grace, not power. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). To have to be humbled by the mighty power of God is destructive. To be humbled by the grace of God is to be blessed. But here is the response so typical of Pharaoh, that which we have come to expect from him (27-35). Does Pharaoh think he can war and win against God (v17)? Then he is a bigger fool than we first thought. He is no more than a mere instrument in the hand of God, it was this very purpose God raised him, to show his power. “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (Romans 9:17-18). And God will finish with him in the Red Sea. He is given every opportunity to submit to God, God reasons with him (v14). But this is his folly he refuses to acknowledge the universal sovereignty of God. He learns, but the hard, the bitter way. His response here is false, once again (27-28). It sounds humble. His statement acknowledges and glorifies God but being unconverted he merely condemns himself. His response is connected with his seeing the glory of God in his divine judgments. But it is also part and parcel of the hardening process. He even makes an unconditional promise to Moses (v28). But it is all false. There is no sincerity in it, no genuine contrition, no godly sorrow in it.
Pharaoh, like many folks in evangelical churches, is learning the theological language. But there is no heart in it, and none of it in his heart. Moses, of course, knows this a false repentance (v29-35). “This time, I have sinned” (v27), he says. He has sinned from birth by nature and practice, not just this time. And in this instance grievously so against God’s direct revelation to him. He has tried to bargain, not with Moses, but God. Each time he has reneged after the consequent judgment has been lifted. He is walking, breathing, talking, walking sin. Never mind “this time.” But Moses is not fooled (v30). Some Christians can be rather naive with their pearls (Matthew 7:6). It is not a case of being hard-hearted but realistic and wise. We are not to be weak and sentimental. It is never wrong to pray for someone. It is not always easy to calculate the success of God’s work, even recognise it sometimes. But to continue to pray is vital. If we let disappointment stop us from praying regarding our evangelistic labours, we give place to the enemy. We must keep on in the face of all the rejections. The Lord is righteous, and will always to that which is right. We can pray and leave it with him. Trust him.
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)