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The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart, Part 4

The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart, Part 4

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By: Pastor R. W. Glenn
March 14, 2004
Exodus 7:8-10:29

More messages in this series:
http://www.solidfoodmedia.com/messages/seriesview.php?id=11
By: Pastor R. W. Glenn
March 14, 2004
Exodus 7:8-10:29

More messages in this series:
http://www.solidfoodmedia.com/messages/seriesview.php?id=11

More info:

Published by: Redeemer Bible Church/Solid Food Media on Jan 14, 2010
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06/25/2010

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Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 4 © 2004 by R W Glenn
1
 
Redeemer Bible Church
Unreserved Accountability to Christ.
Undeserved Acceptance from Christ 
.
The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part Four
Exodus 7:8-10:29
Introduction
Speaking of people’s response to the absolute sovereignty of God, the 19
th
 century Baptist minister, Charles Haddon Spurgeon has said,
[T]here is no doctrine more hated by worldlings [
sic 
.], no truth of whichthey have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certaindoctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to beeverywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop tofashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry todispense His alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow Him to sustain theearth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule thewaves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, Hiscreatures gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an
enthroned 
God, and His right todo as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as
He 
thinks well, withoutconsulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, andthen it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God theylove.
1
 This is a tragic indictment of those who name the name of Christ. For to believeanything less than that God is absolutely sovereign, free to exercise his power in accordwith the pleasure of his own will, is to believe in something less than the Christian God;and thus to trust in an idolatrous lie.“Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps 115:3). “TheLORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all”(Ps 103:19). God has the right and the wisdom and the power to do whatever hepleases. For God is God and there is none like him, declaring the end from thebeginning. He is the Lord!A careful study of the whole of Scripture will show that to ascribe sovereignty tothe Lord is to say that he is in control of all things, that he has ordained everything thathas happened, that is happening, and that will happen, both good and evil. We do nothave the right to ascribe to the Lord a limited or softened sovereignty because theSpirit-inspired Bible writers do not. We must be content to rest in what God has said,and to place our hands over our mouths in humble submission to his word.
1
Quoted in Arthur W Pink,
The Attributes of God 
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1975), 32-33,italics in original.
 
 
Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 4 © 2004 by R W Glenn
2
 
Of course, Scripture also makes clear that though God somehow stands behindboth evil and good, he does not stand behind them symmetrically; he does not standbehind them with equal ultimacy. God is not evil, nor is he the author of it. Neither is hecruel, ordaining awful circumstances as some kind of divine sadist reveling in the miseryof his creatures. May it never be!Since the Bible expresses with equal force that God ordains, uses, and bringsabout evil circumstances in the world
and 
that God is in no way to be construed as theauthor of evil, we must never emphasize one to circumvent the other. In other words, itwould be biblically indefensible for us to say that
since 
God is neither evil nor cruel, Godis therefore
not 
sovereign over evil. Nor would it be correct to assert that since God issovereign over evil that he is a harsh and cruel, evil being.We need to hold these two truths, these mysterious though rationally compatibletruths in tension: God is the absolute sovereign who causes well-being and createscalamity
and 
who does not take pleasure in afflicting the sons of men. I do not purportto be able to reconcile these two difficult truths because such reconciliation isunnecessary. If I may borrow the language of Spurgeon from a similar context—I don’thave to reconcile friends.
God’s Sovereignty and Benignity
The friendship of these two truths is consistently represented throughout thebook of Exodus.Israel’s cruel bondage is said to have reached the compassionate ears of theirGod as early as
2:23-25
.
23
Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egyptdied. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; andtheir cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.
24
So God heard theirgroaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
25
Godsaw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.
Though the people of God do not yet know that God has heard their cries, theaudience of Exodus knows that God is compassionate.Later, in chapter 3, when God calls Moses to be his servant for the liberation ofthe sons of Israel, the Lord tells Moses essentially what the narrator has already told us.Look over to
3:7-9, 16-17
.
7
The LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt,and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of theirsufferings.
8
So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, andto bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milkand honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and thePerizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
9
Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel hascome to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians areoppressing them...
16
Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'TheLORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to
 
 
Manuscript for Exod 7:8-10:29: The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart, Part 4 © 2004 by R W Glenn
3
 
me, saying, "I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.
17
So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaaniteand the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to aland flowing with milk and honey."'”
Then when Moses informs God’s people of God’s compassionate response andof his promise to deliver them, notice how the people respond in
4:31
.
31
So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concernedabout the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low andworshiped.
And it is in part on the basis of the Lord’s concern for the plight of his people thathe promises to take action in the form of the plagues, to bring them out of Egypt by amighty hand and an outstretched arm cf.
6:6
.
6
"Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you outfrom under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I willalso redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
'”God has compassion for his people; he is not cruel; he has seen their chains andhe has begun to take action against Pharaoh in the form of severe acts of catastrophicproportions.Now at the same time that Exodus depicts the Lord as compassionate andgracious, holy and without blemish, it also depicts the Lord as sovereign over the evilwhich has befallen the Israelites and the machinations of Egypt’s king. We see thisespecially in the context of the plagues. Turn to
9:15-16
.
15
"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.
16
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.”
When God tells Pharaoh in verse 16 that he has allowed him to remain, he is notspeaking of mere permission. The Hebrew verb behind this translation means toestablish, to put in place. So what the Lord is saying is that Pharaoh has ruled andcontinues to rule
only 
according to God’s good pleasure. Contrary to Pharaoh’s exaltedself-image, Yahweh, the God of Israel, is the one with ultimate power. And sincePharaoh only rules at Yahweh’s command, Pharaoh is Yahweh’s servant.The Lord has more than proved that he could have destroyed Pharaoh and hisnation by turning the Nile into blood and by sending frogs, gnats, flies, animalpestilence, and boils to Egypt, and with drawing them only at Moses’ behest. Pharaohneed only look to what could have happened to him and his people to see that the onlyreason he continues to hold office in Egypt is Yahweh’s doing.We cite this as an example of God’s sovereignty over evil because of what thisPharaoh (and by extension the earlier Pharaoh) has been doing to God’s people. If he

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