DAILY DEVOTIONS: "I will harden Pharaoh's heart," -Mike MacIntosh

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"Honoring God in the Morning"


And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.
Exodus 7:3

Why would God "harden Pharaoh's heart"? Wouldn't that make Him a "cruel" God, if He would show such callousness to an individual? No, we must understand that God is a gracious, loving God -- even to Pharaoh.

That word "harden" literally means "to stiffen." A lump of clay, sitting on a table, will become stiff if left alone. It needs a potter; it needs hydration. And just as that clay needs water to keep from becoming hard, so we, as people, need the grace of God to keep our hearts pliable. 

Except by the grace of God, we would all be "filled with all unrighteousness," and given over to a "reprobate heart" (Romans 1:28). We would all have hardened, sin-stained hearts without Jesus because, as Romans 3:23 says, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

You see, Pharaoh was like the clay on the table, left all to itself, without water to keep it pliable, or a potter to give it shape. He watched the Lord do wonder after wonder through Moses, and yet he still rejected God, so his heart became hard. He didn't want anything to do with God, so God pulled away.

Notice the Bible never says that God didn't love Pharaoh. Quite the opposite! If God didn't love Pharaoh, He wouldn't have given Pharaoh the opportunity to reject Him. If God were a cruel God, He would have forced Pharaoh to obey Him, like a dictator forces his subjects to heed his every word. Instead, God allowed Pharaoh to make his own decision. 

And not only did God honor the decision, He actually used it for His glory. "For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth'" (Romans 9:17).

God allows us to make our own decisions. He loves us with an unyielding love, and He will honor our choices. We can choose to let the Lord mold and shape us -- like a potter with clay -- or we can refuse. 

If we refuse, we are like the untouched clay that sits on the table and becomes hardened. But if we will allow Him to do His work in us, He will be faithful to "complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). For better or worse, He will be glorified. 

Hebrews 3:7 says, "Today, if you will hear His voice, do no harden your hearts..." Let the Lord's grace be the water that keeps your heart pliable.


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