Exodus 9:35-10:2 – So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
A key tenet of proper theology is a belief in the sovereignty of God. For us to say that God is sovereign is for us to say that God is in control—that there is no situation that is outside of God’s power, authority, or command. While we may not understand everything that happens, one thing we must never allow ourselves to believe is that anything happens apart from the permission of God.
IN Exodus 5-ff, God sends Moses to the Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to call that king to let the nation of Israel leave Egypt. Pharaoh flatly refuses to listen to the words of Moses. In our reading, through chapter 10, God has struck the land of Egypt with a series of nine plagues. Each plague is designed by God to demonstrate his power. Each plague demonstrates the awesome strength and great reach of our completely powerful Lord. And one might assume that any of the plagues might be enough to convince the Pharaoh that God is stronger than him, and that he should listen to God’s commands for his own good. But the Pharaoh refuses to listen to God.
Was God not sovereign in this situation? Was God not in control? Could God not manage to convince the Pharaoh? Some might read this passage as such, but they would fail to see the beginning words of chapter 10. There we see that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh. What God is saying there is that he actually prevented Pharaoh from learning from what was happening. God actually moved in such a way as to keep Pharaoh arrogant, disobedient, and destined for destruction. Now, in doing this, God did not force sin on Pharaoh, but God did allow Pharaoh to go with his own desires, which were to disobey God. Had God wanted to, he could very easily have reached into Pharaoh’s hard heart and worked change in him. But God had a greater purpose. God wanted the nation of Israel to see God’s mighty power and glorify God’s name. So, God kept Pharaoh in his hard-hearted state in order to allow Israel to see all the terrifying plagues that God would bring upon the land of Egypt. God was fully in control of the situation. God was fully sovereign. God did exactly what he had planned.
What does this mean for us today? If God is sovereign, we can rest assured that nothing defeats him. Nothing will ever catch God by surprise. No situation will ever arise for which God has no solution. He is fully God. He is sovereign, in control, over all things. Even our greatest tragedies are within God’s control. Sometimes he will allow us to suffer, but he will always be willing and able to get us through. Our God is an awesome God, and we must worship him for his sovereignty.
Dear Lord, I bow in worship this morning, and I praise you for your great power and your divine sovereignty. I declare here and now that there is nothing over which you are not in control. You rule the universe, and there is not even one molecule in the vastness of space that is outside of your control. You are mighty, powerful, and awesome in every way. You are worthy of worship. I give you my praise and I yield my life to your control.