"But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them."
From the very beginning, God not only knew that Pharoah would not listen. He said before He sent Moses to speak to Pharoah, that He would harden Pharoah’s heart in order to show His power.
God later reveals that He had chosen this particular Pharoah and put Him into power for this very purpose, knowing that his heart was intractable. “By now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:15-16)
God wants everyone to know that He is watching and judging; that we will all stand before Him one day to give account. He wants everyone to have a chance to repent and seek Him while there is still time.
God will raise up hard-hearted rulers who are full of seething hatred, unable to repent. They will sound reasonable, even beneficent, but there is wickedness in their heart. (Be especially wary of rulers who hate the Jews!)
God has His reasons for bringing them into power. We need to see the contrast between life lived under the lordship of Christ and life lived under those who hate Him, so that we can make good choices.
Father, as our people have turned our backs on Your Word, we begin to feel the crushing oppression that results. Lord, have mercy on Your people. Help us to choose more wisely. Deliver us from wicked rulers. Help us to be faithful as the wickedness imposed on us gets worse, as long as it lasts. Jesus, You are Lord! Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles