Exodus 9

Today's Passage: Exodus 9

This is one of the more difficult sentences to explain and discern in all of scripture: “But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh (or some variation of this phrase).” It shows up multiple times from Exodus chapter 7 until now. What does it mean?

Quick answer: God sovereignly hardened Pharaoh’s heart under the conditions of Pharaoh’s own willing human responsibility.

Yes, God makes this man’s heart like stone in this moment and does that for specific purposes. It doesn’t violate Pharaoh’s own freedom because it is in that very freedom that God operates. We aren’t puppets that God forces to do certain things (determinism), but at the same time, His sovereignty isn’t stifled or hindered by human choice either. God uses willing human agents to accomplish His will. Even evil cannot overcome this powerful and sovereign God!

This is incredibly comforting and here’s why:

•     God isn’t having to create new plans because of our disobedience. 
•     God (the maker and controller of human hearts) allows us the gift of choice. 
•     God is working all things out according to his purposes. 

Allow this passage to drive you to wonder at God’s control over even the most wicked human hearts. He isn’t anxious or thrown off by anything, and in fact, has already prepared to accomplish His purposes regardless of human mistake.

Most of all, let this passage remind us of the necessity of crafting our own hearts to be soft toward the things of God. May we be found to be very unlike Pharaoh; willing creatures whose existence is motivated by the glory of God and the accomplishment of His will through our obedience.

Written By: Drew Dukes

1 Comment

Naomi Austin - January 12th, 2023 at 8:30pm

Thank you for this comforting reminder that God is never overwhelmed by human disobedience, defiance, temper tantrums, etc. They are no surprise to Him, and His shoulders are strong enough….

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