Frogs, Plagues, Surrender and Calloused Hearts
I've been reading in Exodus recently about the plagues and how God sent 10 calamities to the Egyptians because of Pharaoh’s hard heart to free the Israelites from over 400 years of bondage. I remember when I first read the story some years ago, I couldn't understand that if God has given us free will, how could he harden Pharaoh’s heart? But through looking at how God works in other Old Testament accounts, seeking understanding on the hardened heart, and reading other commentaries, I’ve come to realize that God works through people who have chosen to let their hearts turn hard and turn away from Him. God didn't magically make Pharaoh’s heart hard. Pharaoh had already decided to have a mean heart about not wanting to free the Israelites. But God worked through and around Pharaoh’s stubbornness to bring glory to His name. When we look at the character of God in the Bible we see that He is passionate about His glory, people, and His Word. And boy did God bring glory to His name in this event.
So anyways, I got two things from re-reading this Old Testament account:
1). I heard a Christian once say, "Everything in life has to do with Goliaths and sling shots. It's how God has always worked." And some people have been hit with terrible rocks from sling shots- abuse, neglect, not being loved, abandonment. Or, we just simply hold on to what someone has done or said to us. In order to move on we must let go to lay hold of the awesome plans God has for us.
God allows frustrating situations (we call them problems) to change us and to get our attention. In the midst of a situation, a plague, a calamity, a problem- whatever you want to call it- God might be trying to get us to let go of something so He sends, metaphorically speaking: frogs. He may be asking us to give our lives to Him, He may want us to let go and forgive someone so that we might lay hold of His promises and be more like His son. It’s interesting that in verses 9-10 of Exodus 9, when Pharaoh summons Moses and asks him to pray to his God to take away the frogs, Moses tell Pharaoh that he will indeed pray to God to take away the frogs- whenever Pharaoh wants him to pray and ask. Pharaoh says to Moses pray to God the next day to remove the situation. Why would anyone want to endure frogs for another night? We often have to move on to the next plague or get hit with more plagues to surrender to God. We often become so content in living with a plague than surrendering ourselves to God to become free. We’re funny beings aren’t we? haha.
Let’s learn to surrender at the first plague so we can lay hold of the awesome things He wants to bless us with!
2). Secondly, my pastor in the States, Nate Keeler in Virginia always talks about- the heart and how we often let it get so calloused that we’re not convicted of our wrongdoings. Wouldn't it have been easier if Pharaoh would have let his guard down and let the Israelites go after the first plague of blood in the Nile? But no, with each plague until the last one, his heart grew harder and his pride caused him and his people to suffer more and more. It's dangerous when we allow our hearts to become so calloused that we don't even see or care about the people we are hurting. We need the Holy Spirit daily so that we can be convicted of hard hearts.
A proud and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a world of peace. The humble live in continuous peace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.
--Imitation of Christ