March 8, 2009

If Pharaoh would have Revered God

Sometimes the hardness of the human heart is truly mystifying. Take, for instance the case of Pharaoh before the Red Sea.

Before Pharaoh chased the Israelites to the edge of the Red Sea, he had witnessed God work in several miraculous ways. Ten, to be exact. After seeing a stick turn into a snake, the prestigious King of Egypt saw a river of blood; his land laid to waste by gnats, frogs, disease, tremendous hail, locusts; a blinding darkness across Egypt; and lastly the death of every firstborn in Egypt who was not covered by the blood of the lamb (Exodus 8:1-11:5).

He had witnessed all of this with his own eyes. And through most of it, his heart was only steeled more and more against God. He refused to see anything that was happening because of his blind pride. That is, until his own son was killed and his heart was broken. But even then, his heart was hardened once more (Exodus 14:4).

So he set out to capture the Israelites whom he had just let go. And he pursued them day and night until the Israelites stood in the middle of the powerful Egyptian army and the expansive Red Sea before them (Exodus 14). Oh, and by the way, while he's pursuing the Israelites, he's being prevented from reaching them by a pillar of fire!

And all the while, Pharaoh does not recognize God once. God proved over and over that He was greater than any false idols that the Egyptians served. Pharaoh's gods had only succeeded in failing him every step of the way. Even his magicians eventually failed and recognized the Lord God (Exodus 8:16-19). But Pharaoh refused again and again.

And then he ends up at the edge of the Red Sea. Perhaps, he just dashed head long onto the dry path that the Israelites were walking across and didn't even recognize the wonder in front of him.

But what if he would have stopped, even for a minute. Perhaps he would have seen the walls of water clearly before him, standing as if held back by an invisible hand. He may have even seen fish or sharks swimming next to him. Then, maybe, like Nebuchadnezzer, he might have stopped, marveled, and glorified God, saving both himself and his faithful subjects.

But no, we are told he chased after the Israelites in the hardness of his heart and perished beneath the waves (Exodus 14:26-28)




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