Surrendered Hearts Bring Change

  1. Message: Reading through Exodus I can’t help but find myself torn between being mind blown over the stubbornness of Pharaoh and also conflicted knowing God was hardening his heart. For years I wondered how different things might have been if God hadn’t done that. What I eventually came to terms with is that Pharaoh had already decided in his heart that he was not going to change. God hardened the decision that he already made. He didn’t cause him to make that decision against his own will. Since he had already chosen his position, God used it as an opportunity to show Israel and all of Egypt who he was. Egypt worshipped other gods and God came to show the people just how useless their gods were in comparison. Another thing I found interesting is that God prepared Moses ahead to do these powerful miracles, and then without giving him the heads-up, God also allowed the Egyptian magicians to perform the same miracles. Surprise!! This is what contributed to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. What made a big, bold statement was the fact that after they were able to imitate some of the same miracles, they were not able to restore things back to health. The miracles they were performing were not good things. They were actually plagues of destruction, so I couldn’t help but wonder why would they would add more of a bad thing just to prove that they could. Especially since they didn’t have the power to restore it. Pharaoh was completely dependent upon Moses to pray and ask God to restore things. Pharaoh maintained his stubbornness, but each time things got unbearable Pharaoh would appear to have a change of heart and he would ask Moses to pray. But each time the plagues went away, Pharaoh’s heart reverted back and he refused to let the people go. It seemed that Pharaoh was picking up on a pattern and using it to his advantage. He was still very much in a stubborn state, and probably not having real heart changes. He just knew that if he asked Moses to pray that God would make it all go away. Then something interesting happened. The plague of frogs came, and just like before the magicians duplicated and multiplied the misery. Just like before, Pharaoh asked Moses to pray and Moses asked him “when” he wanted to deal with it and Pharaoh said “tomorrow”. Ummmm what? Why tomorrow? Why not now? Then he did the same thing with the gnats. But why? The plagues were miserable, but Pharaoh seemed to be having a power struggle. He was living with the misery and now seemed to be intentionally prolonging it. But why? Because he didn’t want to give up control?
  2. Command: Surrender!!!!!
  3. Promise: God will change a surrendered heart.
  4. Warning: An un-surrendered heart will flip-flop with the appearance of change. But because the desire is only to make the consequences go away it will always revert back.
  5. Application: Reading this I can clearly see this blatantly at work in someone else in my life, but what I really need to ask myself is what plagues of misery am I contributing to my own life and refusing to give up?? Where am I pretending to have a heart change, but actually deceiving myself and somehow believing I’m convincing God too. These are hard questions but I can see where I know what I’m supposed to be doing but struggling to follow through because my heart hasn’t truly changed. I want the pain and misery to go away but I’m not quite ready to give up the control. Lord please help me to want change. Not just the appearance of change!!

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