Why did that car cut me off?
Why did the waitress not hear me ask for some more water?
Why did I throw my back out just bending over?
So we can ask a bunch of why's and this week I found myself finally resolving a why for myself.
I was reading the story of the Exodus and the encounters between Moses and Pharaoh. It struck me as strange why God would purposely harden the heart of Pharaoh. I realize in my limited knowledge as a human I cannot fully perceive of what it must be like to have supreme power and knowingly make decisions that will effect the outcomes of certain lives in different ways. But then it struck me...God did this because of the reaction that it would cause and the response that would come from the Israelites.
Go with me here on a small journey and picture if you will the story of the Exodus if God had not hardened Raamses heart.
As Moses approaches the people of Israel full of strife he realizes he must do something, he comes to Pharaoh and demands that he let his people go. Pharaoh laughs him off and the plagues begin. After a few of the plagues on the land Pharaoh realizes that the Hebrews have a powerful voice and they need to be released and allowed not to be a curse on the land of Egypt any longer. Pharaoh in his infinite wisdom and grace allows the people to go into the wilderness as Moses requests and Israel begins her journey to the promised land. Here is where the story takes the turn. In recognizing the graciousness of the Pharaoh instead of turning their praise to the God in heaven they turn their love and admiration back to Pharaoh for the mercy he showed them. They actually build statues to him and volunteer to return to live and worship Pharaoh in the land from which they were once slaves.
What could go wrong with that???
How about everything and anything...that's a dead-end road for the Hebrews. In worshiping a man they would have most certainly doomed their existence in Egypt and probably have been wiped off the face of the earth after generations of slavery and euthanasia.
However, the Lord came to the rescue in history. He did harden Pharaohs heart and the result, the people left the land triumphantly. They took riches from the land, and who got the praise, not Pharaoh, not Moses but God. Who did the people worship, God...at least for a little while but that's for another time!
The point, in God's infinite and divine foreknowledge and middle-knowledge, He could see the outcome either way it went down and he knew how his people would respond. In order to truly allow them to leave the land he had to put in front of them the choices that would lead to their ultimate freedom and he had to harden Pharaoh's heart. No one deserves slavery and God saw to it that this people would be freed from it. This was much like in our own country, God intervened in the lives of the Christians who moved a country to abolish slavery through President Lincoln's decree.
Why did he do that...to give peace to His people and he can do the same for you if you call on His name accept him with faith and follow His word and do as He says. Then you can be assured of the gift of Salvation. Will you do that today?
I sincerly hope so!
Have a great weekend all!