WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT HARDENED PHARAOH’S MIND?
The manifestation of Moses, Prince of Egypt, as the Deliverer must have
been a shock to all Egyptians. Moses, the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, was now
turning against Egypt and was demanding the liberation of millions of slaves. As
the biblical narrative reveals, the new Pharaoh reacted with absolute refusal
and continued to do so even though the God of Moses manifested His undeniable
superiority to all the gods of Egypt.
The book of Exodus reveals that Pharaoh’s irrational, self-destructive
attitude was not totally his own but was, in large part, God inspired: “And I
will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of
Egypt” (Exodus 7: 3-4). Thus, great destruction befell the mighty Egyptian
nation, until the people of Egypt begged Israel to leave.
But what if God had not hardened Pharaoh’s heart? What if He had allowed
Pharaoh to witness the first plagues and had become quickly convinced that it
would have been futile, and suicidal, to resist such mighty Being? Or why not
simply give Israel favor by “softening” Pharaoh’s heart, and thus making the
departure much easier to occur?
The answer to these valid questions is that, had God made Israel’s liberation
easy and uneventful, several critical and necessary aspects in God’s plan would
have been left unaccomplished.
First of all, the great judgment of God would not have befallen a
terribly sinful nation. Egypt was a very idolatrous and degenerate nation. In
fact, in Leviticus 18:3 God commands Israel not to emulate the Egyptians: “After
the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein you dwelt, shall ye not do.” The rest
of the chapter lists heinous sins that were quite common among the pagan nations
of the time and that, invariably, invite God’s mighty judgment. The Egyptians,
like the Canaanites, had reached their fill of sin, and God was ready to judge
them with horrific punishments.
Secondly, the Egyptians had treated the Israelites harshly and
cruelly. They had turned all of Israel into a nation of slaves and had, on
certain occasions, such as the killing of the baby boys of Israel, shown callous
cruelty. God remembered, and gave Egypt a just recompense.
Thirdly, Israel was being
reintroduced to its great God after four hundred years of separation. Because
they were slaves, and because they lacked religious leadership, they had lost
most, if not all remembrance of God’s ways. God needed to make it abundantly
clear to them that He was their God and the supreme God of all as well. He also
had to give undeniable evidence that He was superior to all the Gods of Egypt
and that He, and only He, was the ruler of all the earth.
Furthermore, God had to show Israel that He was Lord and Savior;
that He delivers the weak from the strong; and that great salvation belongs to
Him only. This great truth was especially reinforced by protecting Israel from
the great plagues, by sparing the Firstborn of Israel and by snatching Israel
from the previously invincible Egyptian army.
Lastly, the great wonders God performed in Egypt were to remain as signs
of His great power for all generations -- including our own.
If God had not hardened Pharaoh’s heart, all of these
critical factors would not have been addressed. But all were addressed within a
short period of time, simply because God, in His great wisdom, made the heart of
one man impenetrable.
By hardening Pharaoh’s heart, God punished Egypt as it well deserved; He
manifested Himself as the supreme ruler of Heaven, and Earth and as the
Savior and protector of Israel; His great works were recorded so that
Israelites and Christians would be reminded perennially of His mighty acts
and His mighty judgment over evil.
CLICK ON TOPICS BELOW FOR A THOROUGH
The Tree of Knowledge
Cursing of the Ground
Cain and Abel
Joseph in Slavery
Death of David's Child
David's Punishment for the Census
Sennacherib and his Armies
Removal of Foreign Wives
Sodom and Gomorrah
Ananiah and Sapphira
Catastrophes of Last Days
LITERATURE FROM UCG.ORG
(No Follow up)
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IS GOD CRUEL?