Last week my granddaughter and I were intently studying a green moth. We talked about its legs and antennae and its delicate wings. She seriously peered at the tiny moth and then said, “Gigi, I think its wings are made of lettuce.” She was very observant; its wings did look like they were made of lettuce. What are you made of? We can be characterized like Pharaoh, appearing to be tough and invincible, or we might be characterized as wearing our emotions on our sleeves. How would you characterize yourself? How would others characterize you? Pharaoh’s faith was in his own power and would lead to bankrupting Egypt. The placement of your faith connects to your decision-making. The material of your heart reflects how you will respond to God’s work in your life.
Yahweh was not impressed by Egypt and Pharaoh. “I will lay my hand on Egypt…and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” (Exodus 7:4-5) Just like Pharaoh’s heart ignored Yahweh, my heart may not be moved by God’s “attention-grabbers”. Just as God was not impressed by Pharaoh’s defiance, He is not impressed by my social status, my bank account, or my high opinion of myself. The plague of blood did not change Pharaoh’s heart and neither did the frogs. “Their land teemed with frogs, which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.” (Psalm 105:30) Pharaoh wanted the plagues removed, but in his own power, even his empty promises to Moses demonstrated his arrogant trust in his own invincibility. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was a relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 8:15) What experiences have you had that felt like plagues? How did you respond? “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath…” (Romans 2:5)
Pharaoh remained unfazed by God’s power and plagues. The material of his heart was not pliable from the beginning. What is the state of your heart? A person with a hardened heart sees clear evidence of the hand of God at work and still refuses to accept His word and submit to His will. Hard-hearted people echo Pharaoh and say, “…Who is the Lord, that I should obey him…” (Exodus 5:2) Scripture makes it clear, that by sending these various judgments, God was hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Spurgeon said, “The same sun which melts wax, hardens clay. And the same gospel which melts some persons to repentance hardens others in their sins.”
It all depends on the nature of the material. What material are you made of lettuce, wax, clay? “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion…see to it…that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart…But encourage one another daily, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:8-13)