Friday, May 22, 2020

Softening a Stubborn Heart

By: Sarah Geringer 

But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.

Exodus 8:15 NLT

Do you struggle with stubbornness?

The story of Pharoah's stubbornness and hardness of heart is a pertinent warning to us.

Today we look at the story of Moses, the Pharoah, and the plagues in Exodus 8 & 9.

Moses was asking Pharoah to release the Hebrew people from Egyptian rule. Every time Pharoah refused, God sent a new plague over the land. Pharoah would be exasperated by the plague, relent momentarily, then his heart would be hardened again.

I heard these Bible stories many times as a child. They have epic, almost comic, proportions. Frogs in every cooking bowl. Flies swarming around every head. Hailstones crushing every blade of grass.

As an adult, I'm paying more attention to the spiritual battle in this story. Here's what I've noticed:

1. God told Moses ahead of time that Pharoah wouldn't listen. His prediction came true. God was lifted up as all-knowing.

2. The plagues were sent in opposition to Egypt's many gods, so only the one true God would be glorified and the other gods would be exposed as false.

3. After the first few plagues, the scripture says that Pharoah hardened his heart. Then God himself "made Pharoah more stubborn." Ex. 9:12. So God gives people over to their willful sins.

How can we apply this scripture to our own lives? It's easy to think, "I'm not nearly as stubborn as Pharoah." But today I'm taking a hard look at my heart. I'm looking at one area in particular, a hidden stubbornness where I keep making the wrong choice.

Even when I know God is prompting me otherwise, I sometimes choose what I want anyway. Cringing as I admit it to you. The satisfaction is short-lived, then I feel guilt, then I crave relief in my bad choice, and the cycle repeats.

Pharoah's motivating sin was pride. He saw himself as all-knowing and all-powerful, a god figure himself in the Egyptian culture. God was attacking his pride in these plagues.

In my hidden stubbornness, God is attacking my pride too. My idea that I know what I want. That I can decide for myself what's good for me. That the consequences won't matter. That I can step over a line and it's no big deal.

But I don't want to be anything like Pharoah, even in the smallest way. Do you feel the same, friend?

Questions for you:

In the past, were you able to give up a stubborn sin? How did God convict you? How did he help you make better choices?

Is a stubborn sin hidden in your heart? Why do you keep clinging to it when you know better?

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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