One of the things that strikes you when you read through the Exodus account is the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. It really is a major part of the story. Again and again, as God commands Moses to take His word to Pharaoh’s court, He informs Moses that Pharaoh will not respond, but be hardened. Moses (though later he disputes in the wilderness) is remarkably consistent in NOT asking God, “What’s the point?!” Just the fact that this would be amazing to us, shows us how “off” we are in our perspective of God and His glory.
See, we generally only want to be part of something that will produce great results. If it doesn’t, we bail. Essentially, this is about making a name for ourselves, or at the least, making ourselves feel significant. But God cares about obedience. In fact, in a sense that’s all He cares about in the lives of His people. This takes even greater shape when you realize that the vast majority of the people didn’t even want to leave Egypt. Once they hit the wilderness, they told Moses that while still in Egypt they pleaded with him to let things be (Exo.14:12). Amazing. All Moses had to hold on to was the promise of God. Is that enough for us? When the crowd doesn’t support what we’re doing? When there doesn’t seem to be anything but resistance?
Well, this takes the greatest shape in a couple of key verses…
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. – Exodus 14:4
17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” – Exodus 4:17-18
This means that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to receive glory in overcoming Pharaoh. Now, we can reason all we want to on ways WE believe God could have received glory in different ways other than the destruction of an army and the deliverance of a people. But who are you, oh man? This helps us trust! This helps us worship in the face of great difficulty, even evil. God’s purposes always find their fulfillment in the glory of God. If we can just get over the pride of thinking we have God figured out and simply live as God-glorifiers, we just might be able to join sweet Miriam (yes, the same one who place that baby Moses in the basket) in her simple, blessed song…
“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” – Exodus 15:21