So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”
When we read in the Bible God`s promise to deliver His people from slavery in Egypt many years ago, one man`s stubbornness and arrogance stands out and affects a lot of people around him, of course it was all God`s perfect plan to deliver His people from the slavery and cruelty of the Egyptians.
This story can be found in Exodus Chapters 7-11
The Pharaoh at that time had a hard heart and each time he pretended to repent before God to Moses after each plague. There were 10 plagues: River and waters turned to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock diseased, boils, hail and fire, locusts, darkness during the day, and the very last one, death of the first born son.
God allowed all of this to display His power and bring about His great deliverance, each time Pharaoh would pretend to repent, then when things went well, he`d harden his heart again.
Pharaoh was not all that impressed with Moses' God, showing signs and wonders before him, for he had many idols and magicians who could produce the same.
Through these great signs and wonders God was revealing to all who were watching that He alone is God and that there is no other besides Him.
God said He would harden Pharoah's heart, but remember, God knows the end from the beginning, He alone knows what`s in our hearts. We can see here how longsuffering God is with people. He gave Pharaoh ample opportunity to repent, even knowing first hand that Pharaoh never would truly repent. God is far more gracious to us sinners than we can be to those in need of our forgiveness. (Romans 2:4, Psalm 139, Hosea 7:2)
But each time God brought a plague on Egypt, Pharaoh would half-heartedly repent, which unfortunately a lot of people do when in trouble, promising God they will follow Him, but as soon as the problem is resolved, they turn their back on God.
After the 10th Plague, causing the death of the Egyptians' first born sons, Pharaoh would finally let God`s people go, only later to chase them with his army where God opened the waters for the Israelites, a blessing for them and destruction for Pharaoh's army.
Alas, God won`t strive with man forever. (Genesis 6:3)
We can see how He deals with stubbornness and pride right here in this story. Eventually, if you keep refusing to repent, your heart becomes so hard that you won`t even hear God speaking to you anymore, giving you the opportunity to repent. God will give you over to your hard heart, with no opportunity then to repent (Romans 1:8).
We are to make sure we remain humble before our God so that He can train our hearts to follow hard after Him and not our own selfish desires! (1 Peter 5:6, James 4:10,1 Peter 5:5)