Pastor Joe Valenti
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go.Exodus 7:14
I believe that God making Pharaoh’s heart hard is actually God’s mercy to Pharaoh – it is GOOD for Pharaoh. A better way to understand this phrase “hardness of heart” is an “unyielding will.” God is not overcoming Pharaoh’s will and MAKING him obstinate against his will. He’s actually bolstering Pharaoh’s ability to get and do what he wants. Pharaoh has ZERO desire to let the people of Israel go, zero desire to relinquish his authority, zero interest in submitting to Yahweh, and we will see this played out. And we’ll see that as the signs and wonders continue. Yahweh’s aim is for Pharaoh and all of Egypt and all of the Hebrews to KNOW him.
God is on a mission to destroy your self-reliance. One of the best ways that we get to know God and realize the folly of our self-reliance is when the the idols in our life – the things that we THINK are enough are taken away.
The Nile is the source of life of Egypt. No plumbing, no bottled water – the Nile provides water – the most important thing for life to continue to humans, livestock, plants, etc. Without the Nile, Egypt ceases to exists – everything dies. And God performs his first sign on the Nile to begin the process of showing everyone that the Nile is not responsible for their life. Hapi – the goddess of the Nile is no god at all. HE is the source of all life. He gives and takes away.
Through these signs and wonders, God is not only teaching Pharaoh a lesson, he is teaching the WORLD for all time a lesson. Pastor Rick said it last week – as soon as God lifts his hand and provides relief, some of us go right back to our idolatry. So, he strengthens Pharaoh’s will because God is not done teaching the lesson that fake repentance is no repentance at all. If your repentance is not from the heart, it is worldly grief that leads to death – and God is too merciful to you and me to let us go on thinking that pretending to love God while our will is still set on doing what we want is is good for us.
God is more merciful than you think.
God is more patient than you think.
The Hebrew word behind patience means “long in the nose.” Hebrew uses the hotness of ones nose to communicate their anger. So, if you’re long in the nose, it means it takes you a long time to get angry – similar to our phrase of someone having a short fuse or a long fuse. God is long in the nose. Slow to become angry.
What do we do with this merciful and patient God?
- We stop playing these games
- We stop going back to our idolatry
- We run to him and repent