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The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart, Part 2

The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart, Part 2

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By: Pastor R W Glenn
February 29, 2004
Exodus 7:8-10:29

More messages from this series:
By: Pastor R W Glenn
February 29, 2004
Exodus 7:8-10:29

More messages from this series:

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Published by: Redeemer Bible Church/Solid Food Media on Jan 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 2 © 2004 by R W Glenn
Redeemer Bible Church
Unreserved Accountability to Christ.
Undeserved Acceptance from Christ 
The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part Two
Exodus 7:8-10:29
The Bible says that “the Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and hissovereignty rules over all” (Ps 103:19). There is no rule exercised by men in authoritythat does not have its origin in God. In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty rulerof the Babylonian Empire hears a voice from heaven condemning him to live sevenyears as an animal in the field in abject humiliation. He is to experience this—says thevoice—“until [he] recognize[s] that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind andbestows it on whomever He wishes” (Dan 4:32).Nebuchadnezzar (a pagan king) had thought that the extent and might of hiskingdom was the product of his own ingenuity and power. This, from the perspective ofthe Lord, is the height of folly. Why? Because there is one who is
high, who is
 ruler of the universe, and who therefore is solely responsible for any exercise ofdominion on earth.It is important to point out that this heavenly proclamation makes it clear that theLord’s sovereignty is all-inclusive: the Most High rules over the entire realm of mankind,Jew and Gentile. This heavenly announcement also makes it clear that whoever hasrule has it only because the Lord has decided to give it to them: the Most High bestowssovereignty on whomever he wishes.This truth is repeated over and over again throughout the Scripture. As weapproach the plague narrative of Exodus 7-10, God’s sovereign bestowment of rule to aworld (and a pagan) leader is given prominence.To see this, turn in your Bibles with me to
Exodus 9:15-16
"For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people withpestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth.
But, indeed, for thisreason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order toproclaim My name through all the earth.”
Up to this point in the narrative, Pharaoh and his people have witnessed themight and weight of the Lord’s hand. They have seen him send powerful judgment inthe form of blood, frogs, gnats, flies, pestilence on livestock, and horrible boils on manand beast. God has clearly demonstrated that he is able utterly to destroy Egypt, to
the face of
the earth
, the Lord says in verse 16,
I have allowedyou to remain
Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 2 © 2004 by R W Glenn
The language of permission here in the
does not convey strongly enoughthe idea of the Hebrew that lay behind the phrase translated
I have allowed you toremain
. The
capture more precisely the sense of the word: “I have raisedyou up.”So the Lord is saying something like this: “I know you know that I could havecompletely crushed you and your nation. But I haven’t. And the only reason I haven’tdone so is that I have established you as Pharaoh over Egypt in order to accomplish mytwo-fold purpose:
in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My namethrough all the earth
. That’s it! You serve at
pleasure and my pleasure alone!”This is a powerful statement of Yahweh’s sovereignty. To the ruler who hasasked in 5:2: “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” Godanswers with “the same Lord who has your reign in his command!” What this means forPharaoh at the very least is that he is impotent to stand against his purpose. As Isaiahthe prophet says,
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens…“I am the LORD,and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18)....
”Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times thingswhich have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I willaccomplish all My good pleasure’…Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it topass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11).
God’s absolute sovereignty over Pharaoh is highlighted as well by the repeatedreferences to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart cf.
7:13, 14, 22-23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7,12, 35; 10:1, 20, 27
.Now the reason we make reference to
of these passages and not only thosethat expressly state that
had hardened Pharaoh’s heart, is the repeated phrase
(just) as the Lord had spoken (to Moses)
. What this means is that the hardening ofPharaoh’s heart had been declared to Moses. The narrator is reminding us of a priorinteraction or even perhaps prior interactions between God and Moses. And as wemove backward from Ch 10 through Exodus, we find that there are two passages thatrecord such interactions.First, look at 7:1-4. Let’s read:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I makeyou as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shallspeak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh thathe let the sons of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that Imay multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh doesnot listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, Mypeople the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.”
In verse 3, after telling what Moses would do and what Aaron would do, the Lordtells Moses what he will do. The narrator calls attention to God’s activity with the
Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 2 © 2004 by R W Glenn
emphatic first-person pronoun,
In verses 2 & 3 the Lord says, “
will speak myword to Aaron.
will speak your word to Pharaoh. And I,
will harden Pharaoh’sheart.” God is the one who will act on Pharaoh to make him obstinate to the divinecommand.The second passage that addresses the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart prior tothe beginning of the plagues is found in chapter 4. Notice verse 21:
The LORD said toMoses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all thewonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he willnot let the people go.”
God tells Moses that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart so as notto let the people go. God’s intention is to keep the sons of Israel in Egypt until the fullmeasure of his wonders has been accomplished.
and only then (as we learned in7:4) will the Lord will bring out his people from under Egyptian oppression.So it should be without question that God is sovereign over Pharaoh, that he is incontrol over all the circumstances surrounding Egypt’s destruction and Israel’sdeliverance. If I may again borrow the language of Isaiah, the Lord is the one whocauses well-being and creates calamity (Isaiah 45:7).
God Sovereign over Evil
More than that, we have learned that the Lord is the one who has bestowedsovereignty on the Egyptian kings who have been cruelly oppressing his people for 400years—like being enslaved from 1604-2004! The Lord has established this set ofcircumstances for his people. So he doesn’t simply create well-being for his people andcalamity for his enemies, but his sovereignty is absolute. He creates well-being for allthose who enjoy well-being, and he creates calamity for all those who suffer calamity.Though perhaps difficult to accept, this truth is established over and over again inthe biblical witness. In Lamentations 3, the prophet Jeremiah rhetorically asks, “Who isthere who speaks and it comes to pass, Unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it notfrom the mouth of the Most High That both good and ill go forth?” (Lam 3:37-38). Theterm translated “ill” is the word which means evil, that which is evil or bad. It is from themouth of the Most High that good and evil go forth.It is important to note that Jeremiah is not making this point for some theoreticalor otherwise speculative purpose. He says it in response to having witnessed thedevastating judgment of God against his own people: “My eyes fail because of tears, Myspirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth Because of the destructionof the daughter of my people, When little ones and infants faint In the streets of the city”(Lam 2:11). From the mouth of the Most High this evil has gone forth. The Lord hascommanded it.In the same vain the prophet Amos proclaims, “If a trumpet is blown in a city willnot the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it?” (Amos
This contrast is clear in the Hebrew with the writer’s use of the emphatic second person pronoun inv 2.

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