Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after Septuagesima

Posted on February 20, 2019 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Exodus 11:1-10 (NKJV)
11:1 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. 2 Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.” 3 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
4 Then Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 6 Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. 7 But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the LORD does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’ 8 And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will go out.” Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.
9 But the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
Nine dreadful plagues had been unleashed against the Egyptians, and still Pharaoh would not bow to the LORD’s word. Warning after warning was issued, making each plague avoidable. But each time Pharaoh subjected his people to death and destruction. Each time he hardened his heart. That is, he refused to allow the Word of God to change his mind; he refused to believe the plain evidence of God’s authority; he refused to allow the signs of God to change his resolve to keep Israel enslaved.
Did Pharaoh harden his own heart, or did God harden his heart? The answer is both/and, not either/or. The words of Moses in Exodus 7-11 indicate that God’s terrible judgment of hardening Pharaoh’s heart was perfectly in line with what Pharaoh himself also wanted. But just as Pharaoh was determined to oppose the God of Israel, so God was determined to work things out in such a way that His signs and wonders would be for all to see, that Pharaoh’s wickedness would be manifest, and that Israel would be redeemed by God’s mighty hand and sovereign force. He wanted everyone who witnessed these events, or who would hear of them later to know that nothing will stand in the way of the Lord keeping His solemn promises of redemption and rescue. When God is determined to save, none of His enemies can stand in His way.
How often has the Lord warned us against sin? Don’t harden your heart to His warnings. Instead, in daily repentance, remember His determination to save you from sin, death, and the devil through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.
We pray: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me, for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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