Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” 2 If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, 3 the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats. 4 But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”
Sometimes God takes us through certain things for us to understand certain things, but sometimes, our hearts take us through certain things for us to understand certain things! Pharaoh had a hard heart! He was unwilling to obey the God of Israel. He thought he was just in a battle with Moses and Aaron, but least did he know that he was in a fierce fight with an unseen fighter, Jehovah Nissi! Pharaoh thought he had the men, his magicians, to do the job but, 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians.
One day a man named Saul thought he was persecuting the church of the living God, but he never knew he was fighting the Lord God I AM! Saul woke up one morning and with all zeal and tenacity, started his business of the day. ‘3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. Remember Nebuchadnezzar, and where his hard heart and disobedience led him to! God warned him, but he refused to listen!
When God speaks, obey! ”Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” That was just a simple instruction to Pharaoh, but Pharaoh thought God was far way and he could only see Moses, ‘a mere man’. God however knows His own! Oh yes, He knows they that are for Him. Jesus Christ said, ‘But you don’t believe. Why? Because you are not my sheep (people). My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give my sheep eternal life. They will never die. And no person can take them out of my hand. My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all. No person can steal my sheep out of my Father’s hand.”
Beware of the power of God and don’t touch His own wrongly! ‘Do not touch mine anointed ones’, He said! Abimelech thought Abraham was a mere man, ‘But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” … 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
Plagues, difficulties, anxieties and sorrow were the fruits of Pharaoh’s hard heart! ‘7 Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.’
O mortal man, for how long shall you continue to have a hard heart?
As has just been said, ”today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
Words: John Newton, Olney Hymns (London: W. Oliver, 1779), number 37.
Begone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief will surely appear:
By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform,
With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.
Though dark be my way, since He is my Guide,
’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.
His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review,
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.
Determined to save, He watched o’er my path,
When Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death;
And can He have taught me to trust in His Name,
And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?
Why should I complain of want or distress,
Temptation or pain? He told me no less:
The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.
How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive,
Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live!
His way was much rougher, and darker than mine;
Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?
Since all that I meet shall work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food;
Though painful at present, wilt cease before long,
And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!