Did GOD violate man’s will in this: GOD hardened pharaoh’s heart?
When we first read Ex 9:12 “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.” NIV, we have the impression that God forced His will on pharaoh.
Immediately we need to ask ourselves, does God do this consistently through the Bible? The answer is no. He let Adam and Eve decide for themselves if they would follow His directions or not. He let David decide for himself if he should follow his hearts evil desires or not. He let Saul decide for himself if he should persecute Christians or not.
If something is in contradiction with the rest of the Bible, then we can immediately realize that we have made the wrong conclusion, as God Heb 13:8 “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” NIV
But how should we understand Ex 9:12?
Let us look more closely to the events leading to this text.
During the first 5 plagues falling on Egypt, the Bible clearly indicates that it was pharaoh who hardened his heart:
Ex 7:13 “Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.” NIV (see also Ex 14,22; 8:15,19,32; 9:7,34,35; and 13:15). God having the foreknowledge of our actions knew how pharaoh would react, but in those texts the hardening of pharaoh’s heart is not attributed to God, but on pharaoh himself!
Could pharaoh have repented during these plagues and been saved?
Absolutely, as the book of Exodus clearly indicates that those plagues had an impact on the people of Egypt as when the Exodus occurred, Ex 12:38 “Many other people went up with them.” NIV Even pharaoh’s magicians confessed: Ex 8:19 “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said. NIV But pharaoh is the one who resisted the Lord!
Now from plague 6 and on, the Bible always attributes the hardening of pharaoh’s heart to God. Why?
Pharaoh had plenty of opportunities to repent and give his heart to the Lord. But there is a point where one crosses the road to perdition and no return seems possible, as one refuses to listen to the Lord. At that moment, God leaves you to your own devices and you suffer the consequences. If only one would listen to God’s voice, He would welcome one back, not as a stranger, but as a son of His.
This is confirmed in Ps 81:8 “Hear, O my people, and I will warn you–if you would but listen to me, O Israel!” NIV The Lord longs for a relationship with you. He desires your happiness! But how can you be blessed if you have turned your back to God and go forward in your evil desires?
What happens when you don’t listen to your loving Heavenly Father?
Ps 81:11-12 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.” NIV
He gives you over to your stubborn heart to follow your own evil devices. He takes full responsibility. He wants you to turn away from your path of self-destruction, but He won’t force you. The choice is really yours. This is what is meant by hardening pharaoh’s heart.
Now is the time my friend to turn away from that certain path to hell. Now is the time to experience true freedom. Jesus wants to welcome you to His family. Will you let Him? Come to Him and answer His call at to http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html.
When the Lord first spoke to Moses, telling him what he must do and say in the presence of Pharaoh, He said of Pharaoh that “I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go” (Exodus 4:21).
Exodus 9:34-35 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.
The Lord used Pharaoh for HIS purpose. I honestly don’t believe for one second that God could possibly violate man in anyway. HE created us. HE can do as HE pleases with us. Whatever He would do that seems bad to us, is truly to fulfill a plan that He has. Everything is already laid out, and He knows exactly what is going to go on before it does. There is NOTHING that can surprise Him. He knows what He needs to do for the good of His plan.
God knows our heart. We have free will and make our own choices, however, God knows if we are close to Him. Did Jesus pick Judas because Judas was weak? Possibly, but Judas made a choice. God didn’t hardened Pharaoh’s heart, neither did God make Judas a traitor. He knows us better than we know ourselves.