Pharaoh's Heart Was Hardened
Pharaoh's heart was hardened
Before the great confrontation God foretold how things would play out: Pharaoh's heart would be hardened. Thus we read that Pharaoh's hearts was hardened (Ex. 7:13; 7:14; 7:22; 8:19; 9:7; 9:35; 14:5). The LORD said: "I will harden Pharaoh's heart" (Ex. 4:21; 7:3; 14:4). True to His word, the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh (Ex. 9:12; 10:1; 10:20; 10:27; 11:10; 14:8). In response to God's demand to let His people go (Ex. 5:1; 7:16; 8:1; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13; 10:3); Pharaoh hardened his heart (Ex. 8:15; 8:32; 9:34). This last reference states that in such hardening of his heart "he sinned yet again".
Whenever God's word comes to man, that man must make a choice. He will either have his heart 'softened' and will humble himself in obedience unto God OR his heart will be hardened in disobedience. God and His word indeed play a part in this and hence the LORD hardens the heart. There yet remains the mental response of the man himself. Pharaoh, like a three year old child having a bad day, stomped his foot and declared "I WILL NOT". He stiffened his back, he stiffened his neck, he hardened his heart against the LORD.
God knew that would be his response. God was using this very thing to bring about his glory for every time Pharaoh hardened his heart in disobedience God worked another great sign. Notice God's statement concerning the sequence and effect of this hardening of Pharaoh's heart in Ex. 7:3-5.
3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
With each plague God's power is displayed in a larger measure. Through these signs God showed to the people of Egypt that He was the LORD, the God of heaven and earth (Ex. 7:5,17; 8:10,22; 14:4,18). Through these signs God showed to the people of Israel that He was God of heaven and earth. Through these signs God showed the people of the land of Canaan that He was the God of heaven and earth. It was not the hardening of Pharaoh's heart itself that brought glory to God, but how God used his response.
The writer of Hebrews warns believers today to not harden their hearts when they hear the voice of God in His word (Heb. 3:8,13,15; 4:7). When we refuse to submit to God we harden our hearts against Him. A heart that has hardened itself against the LORD enough times becomes unreachable. The heart becomes 'seared' and cannot be touched by the truth of God. Such a heart is bent on destruction for ALL who rebel against God will lose in the end.