Bible · Biblical Doctrines

Why Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart?

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in His eternal decree before the world began as revealed to Moses prior to any encounter with Pharaoh. “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” (Ex. 4:21) “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Rom. 9:21)

God foretold that He would hardened Pharaoh’s heart prior to the second appearance of Moses before Pharaoh, and following the first sign miracle of Aaraon’s rod being turned into a serpent. “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 7:3)

God foretold that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart after the children of Israel had left Egypt, but prior to his attack on the Hebrew people encamped before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.” (Ex. 14:4)

It was not only the heart of Pharaoh that God hardened. God hardened the hearts of the Egyptians so that they would pursue Israel with murderous intent to kill the people. “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” (Ex. 14:17)

God’s divine purpose in hardening the heart of Pharaoh is stated each time He did so. In the first instances, the heart of Pharaoh was hardened so that another purpose of God could be accomplished. Specifically, God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that Israel would not leave Egypt at that time. “And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” (Ex. 4:21)

In the second instance, the heart of Pharaoh was hardened so that God could plague Egypt, and deliver Israel in the midst of great judgments. “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.” (Ex. 7:3)

God’s divine purpose in hardening the heart of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, is plainly stated in Scripture. By hardening the hearts of the Egyptians, God would receive honor and glory when He destroyed Pharaoh’s army. “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” (Ex. 14:17)

The Doctrine of the Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart is designed for personal application. The question comes, “Has God hardened your heart?” If you are not God conscience, if you do not love Jesus, enjoy the preaching of the gospel, gather with other Christians for worship, and resent the church, then beware. Be forewarned. You may be a vessel fitted for eternal destruction. In contrast, if you do love God, if you have bowed before the Lordship of Jesus Christ, if you love the saints, and rejoice at the triumph of the church, then you are blessed of God. Just remember, that the same sun which melts the butter, hardens the clay. The same gospel that touches the heart of the believer, will confirm the impenitent heart in hard unbelief.

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