In the Wilderness: Exodus 9

And then there were more plagues. Read about them in Exodus 9. (Click on the link to read the scripture.)

But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. 
Exodus 9:7

But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 
Exodus 9:34

So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.
Exodus 9:35

I read through the plagues and keep hoping… praying… Pharaoh’s heart will soften. Yes, I’ve read the story many times, but I still find myself holding my breath in anticipation of some change. Something is a bit different about the hope this time because it is not centered on Pharaoh letting God’s people go. Instead, I find myself hoping for change in a hard-hearted man for the sake of his salvation, his freedom, and freedom for the Egyptians.

I ponder: What makes a man’s heart so hard? Because in my experience those I’ve met who are trapped in bitterness and anger, whose hearts are so hard there seems to be no joy, no love, no peace, are hurting somewhere deep inside. Their hardness becomes a mask to cover the broken running deep in their soul. Pharaoh’s hard heart was a result of his sin, and ours can be too.

Every plague was an act of grace. An opportunity for Pharaoh’s heart to change.

For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth.  But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
Exodus 9:15-16

It was God’s grace alone holding pestilence back that would destroy an entire nation. Only by God’s grace did Pharaoh and his people live to see another plague.

There is a Savior whose name is Grace. And He endured the ultimate plague in order to set the hard-hearted free.

Let me ask you…

Is there a place in your heart so hard nothing will break through?

Maybe you’ve been praying for God to pour out grace on some hard-hearted soul with no joy, no love, no peace. Don’t give up or give in. God is faithful to hear the prayers we speak over hard hearts.

Lord, I first pray for Your grace to rain down on the hard places in my heart. Bring whatever is needed to break those places and prepare me to fully receive Your grace and love. Fill me with grace for others and a willingness to be broken, so others might know You.

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