Yesterday morning the sermon was about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart.
The lesson noted that God did promise to harden the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh, Egypt, the world, and Israel would know that God is God and that there is no other. A second part of God’s reasoning was to convince Pharaoh to release the Hebrews so God could through them carry out His mission to redeem mankind from sin (the scheme of redemption).
The message also noted that the through the first five plagues on Egypt and the seventh plague the text indicates that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. It is plagues, six, eight, nine, ten, and Pharaoh’s decision to pursue Israel to the Red Sea that the text declares that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. Apparently, God knew Pharaoh and knew his stubborn heart and allowed Pharaoh to become callous and then gave Pharaoh reason to grow even more callous.
The following question practically asked itself, “Does God harden hearts today?”
- He hardened Israel so that the Gospel would spread to the Gentiles – Romans 10:16-21; 11:25, 30-31. When the leaders of Israel refused to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, God gave them reason to believe what they wanted to believe. This lead to Christ’s crucifixion. This would lead to God being able to open the door of redemption to the world through Jesus as Christ.
- Some believe a delusion. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (emphasis – BSMc). When individuals do not want to follow God, He gives them what they want – opportunity to believe what is false.
After assembly on Sunday evening, Doyle Martin, a retired minister, shared this bit of wisdom with me. “The same heat that hardens clay, softens wax. The only difference is the material being heated.”
I immediately thought of the Parable of the Soils:
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mar 4:3-8; cf. Matt 13:3-9, Luk 8:5-8).
There are many false messages in the world. Some of them sound good. Some sound loving. Some even sound as if they may be from God. But test every message with God’s revealed written word. Do no believe the lies.