Did I really ask you to read all those chapters? Yes, I did! They’re about the plagues in Egypt. A series of horrors due to the hardness of heart of their ruler, the Pharoah. It says that the Lord hardened Pharoah’s heart. Really? The Bible makes it crystal clear that God never tempts anyone to do evil( James 1: 12-14). Rather He’s allowing Pharaoh to make choices. God is letting him act on his own. God’s permissive will.
It’s going to take a lot to get Pharaoh to soften up, and let God’s people go. Going to take a lot–and he really never does get the message. Not really. When I was maybe 10 years old I remember visiting my father’s mother, Nana Fischer, in a nursing home in Troy, New York. She had no idea who we were. None at all. We were her son, her daughter-in-law and grandson visiting her. This really bothered my father. His mother was alive… but gone. She had, what in those days we called, hardening of the arteries to the brain. A form of dementia. Very sad. She was tied to her chair by a rope that circled her waist. Tried to get up, but couldn’t. She wanted to make us coffee but had no means of doing so. She thought we were strangers. We didn’t stay long. This was not my Nana anymore. Not really. She still had that same broken-German accent. None of this was her fault or anyone else’s.
Back to Pharaoh. His fault? Oh, yes, for when hearts are hardened willfully, terrible results are unleashed. Pain and suffering for both the Israelites and the Egyptians. No one really escaped scot-free. His own people suffered greatly. If only Pharaoh would have turned to the One true God, the One and Only, all would have been different.
I think of my own life. Of the times I went my own way and hardened my heart to the Lord. Ignoring Him. Figuring I’d get away with whatever it was. Dead wrong. For many years now I pray for a soft heart, for a heart and will molded by Him. He’s the Potter, I’m mere clay in His hands. But what better place to be?
I’ve learned a big lesson, until I have to learn it all over again. Two steps forward, one back… and that on a good day! Why not pray along with me for a tender heart, open to the blood of Jesus coursing through our veins… for His honor and glory. Our heart–soft and malleable, tender and compassionate, massaged by His hands. You know, my heart feels much stronger already! How about you?
Prayer: Lord, make me tender and loving in my heart to You and to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.