So the Lord said to Moses...
“Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let My people go."
And you shall say to him, ‘The Lord God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying,
“Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness”;
but indeed, until now you would not hear!'"
Exodus 7:14, 16
As we read on, we see Moses being sent by God
to constantly battle this ever hardening heart of Pharaoh.
Sometimes the hardening is by Pharaoh's choice...
and sometimes, it is an act of God.
So what exactly does it mean...
this hardening of the heart?
Pharaoh’s heart is hard.
The Hebrew word used here is kabad... pronounced kaw-bad'
And it means, to make heavy, dull, unresponsive, insensible.
It is like a heart that is weighted, not easily moved... like a heavy sandbag...
getting heavier everyday.
And yet, God is relentless...
as He sends Moses time after time, with the same request...
'Let my people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness.'
And the plagues begin...
First the river is turned to blood, and all fresh water gathered from it.
Then come the frogs, in houses, beds, kitchen bowls... they are everywhere.
And next there are lice, from the dust of the earth... on every man and beast.
Followed by swarms of flies, thick and heavy, like clouds that descend in cover.
Then the plague comes upon all livestock with pestilence killing them off.
And next the terrible boils that break out in sores on every man and beast.
And the Pharaoh holds fast this suffering. But his servants, they waver, and the people of Egypt, they suffer for the sake of his hard heart.
But the children of God... the Israelites of Goshen... are set apart and spared these sufferings. For God longs to show His ability to protect only them.
Yet with each plague...
Pharaoh's heart grows harder... and heavier still.
He is immovable, it would seem, holding his ground...
weighing him down... setting him like a heavy stone.
However, when God sends the next plague, and He does something a bit different. For this message that Moses delivers to Pharaoh has a new target ...
‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews:
“Let My people go, that they may serve Me,
for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart..."
So God sent a storm of heavy hail, and fire mingled with hail so large that every man and every animal which is found in the field would die.
And for the first time, the Pharaoh acknowledges God...
And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them,
“I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked.
The plague this time was not simply one of a physical nature. But one that penetrated the soul. God laid heavy a burden on Pharaoh's heart... and thus he recognizes his sin. And greater still, this is the first that he recognizes God.
And yet, he does not let the people go...
for the Lord hardened his heart, yet again.
Word of God... train me, today...
to soften my heart toward the Lord,
to convict me of my sin and convince me of His righteousness.
For the Word of God can change us from within, if we will only let it
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.
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes,
and you will keep My judgments and do them.
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