I’m studying Exodus 6:28 to 10:29 this week and seeing how Pharaoh responded to God through the plagues. Instead of surrendering to the Lord and softening, Pharaoh consistently chose to harden his heart each time.
It’s sad to see that story unfold as I read through it in the pages of Exodus, but even sadder to watch it unfold in real life, both in my own life and in the lives of those around me. And here’s why: If every response to God either strengthens our faith or hardens our heart, then we ought to pay really close attention to how we are responding to God.
Christmas is fast approaching along with traditions of gift-giving and in the case of many Americans, there will be material abundance and presents in overload capacities. It’ll be easy to get sucked in by the mass marketing and TV commercials telling us how we need the newest products on the market, or how this gadget will make our lives better than ever. Maybe we’ll have friends or family members struggling this holiday with an illness or a severed relationship that tugs at our heartstrings, and we’ll wish that these burdens could be taken away at the snap of our fingers, believing that a quick fix would make everything better. But the truth of the matter is that the most dreadful thing in this world in not the physical suffering or the loss of material goods. The most dreadful thing in this world is to be alienated from our Creator and Maker, Father God. His desire is for all people to come to know Him and to be in relationship with Him, which makes me ask myself a really important question this holiday season: “Am I giving myself wholly to Him?” How about you? Is there anything functioning as a god in your life that you need to get rid of so you can give yourself wholly to Him? Is there anything you’re desiring more than you find yourself desiring God?
Pharaoh is a great example of someone who received and knew God’s truth yet he chose to reject it, and oh, how dangerous that was. God will not compromise with idolatry and we cannot compromise with God. He has provided the revelation. His Word tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Psalm 19:1).
Perhaps we ought to pause for a moment in the middle of all the hustle and bustle this December and check the condition of our own hearts. How’s yours doing? Is it soft and pliable, strengthening in the faith, or is it leaning more towards rock hard? Here’s the best news. It’s never too late to reverse a rock hard heart condition with God as your great physician. Just keep checking your response, re-committing yourself wholly to Him, and you’ll have one of the most tender hearts around!