Pharaoh’s Unrepentant Heart
"Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time; the Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” Exodus 9:27-28
The beginning chapters of Exodus, particularly Exodus 5-14, give us a glimpse of Pharaoh’s heart. It also shows us in general what an unrepentant heart looks like. In these chapters, we read of Pharaoh’s disobedience and refusal to let the Israelites leave Egypt. With each refusal, we are able to see the consequential effects of an unrepentant heart.
In Exodus 5-14, we notice that on numerous occasions Moses gave Pharaoh the command of the Lord to, “Let My people go.” Pharaoh’s of his own admission revealed that He did not have a relationship or reverential fear of God when he said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). God, in His great mercy, provided multiple opportunities for Pharaoh to witness His great power through many signs and wonders and plagues that were brought upon the Egyptians. Yet, with each miraculous sign, with each plague, and even with the death of all the firstborn in Egypt, Pharaoh refused to obey the Lord. During this time, Pharaoh made many promises to release the Israelites because he was afraid of the effects of the plagues and wanted to end the suffering that followed, but He was not truly repentant nor did he fear God. Pharaoh also offered to partially obey what God commanded by only promising to let the Israelite men go and again later by asking that the livestock remain in Egypt (Exodus 10:10-27). Pharaoh confessed his sin and gave a false repentance but he soon, once again, refused to obey God and his heart grew increasing calloused and cold (Exodus 9:27-35). If Pharaoh had truly repented, he would have completely turned from wickedness and obeyed God in full obedience.
Have you made promises to God during a difficult trial, circumstance, or tragedy in your life and after the situation became better, you forgot your promise or maybe returned to your previous way of thinking or behavior? Pharaoh’s example shows us as children of God that with every act of disobedience a heart can grow increasingly cold. Purpose in your heart today that you will genuinely confess and genuinely repent by turning from what displeases God and turning towards what pleases Him. Only confession with genuine repentance will lead to an obedient and softened heart towards the Lord.
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