Hardened Hearts Reject God's Word

When God chose Moses to go down to Egypt to confront Pharaoh to let His people go, God related to Moses that, in spite of the miracles Moses would perform, Pharaoh would not release them.

Ex. 4:21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return unto Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

Between Ex. 7:13 and Ex. 14:8 we learn that fifteen times Pharaoh's heart was hardened. Some of those times it is written that Pharaoh hardened his own heart; but, seven of those fifteen times God hardened Pharaoh's heart.

Those who are inclined to believe that God has predestined certain individuals will be saved, and other certain individuals will be lost find it easy to believe that God intended that Pharaoh would reject the command to let the Israelites depart, and forced him to have a hardened heart. Indeed, God did proclaim that He would send a strong delusion (KJV) or working of error (ASV) to those who “received not the love of the truth,” (2 Thess. 2:11) but keep in mind that that was for those who had already rejected the truth, and minded to chase after error anyway. God knew that Pharaoh was of the type who would not believe, and foretold of the resistance which Moses would see from him.

God's revealed word will have one of two effects, both of which are God's purpose. Isaiah 55:10-11 tells us that, just as the rain and the snow fall, and does not return to the air, but waters the earth, bringing forth plants and seed for bread, so too, does God's word go forth, achieving His intended purpose: it will not return unto Him void, but shall accomplish that which He pleases, and it will prosper in the thing whereto He sent it. Pharaoh was free to either hearken to God's word, or reject it. Yes, God's word did harden Pharaoh's heart, but Pharaoh, in hearing God's word chose to harden his own heart, instead of adhering to the command. So it is today as the gospel is spread throughout the lost of this world: some will hear and with a humble spirit and contrite heart, heed the call to find salvation, or else reject the message, hardening their hearts, remaining in the deceitfulness of sin, only to be judged in the last day according to their works (2 Cor. 5:10).

God, having created us, granted us the free will to choose for ourselves whom we would serve, whether God or mammon, (Matt. 6:24, Lk. 16:13). God, not being a respecter of persons (1 Pet. 1:17), calls us all out of the darkness of this world into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).

The fact that Christ sent his Apostles into all the world to preach the gospel negates any notion that we do not have freedom to choose; for, if he sent them to preach the gospel to every creature (and he did, Mark 16:15), and those who received the word believed and were baptized (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:41), then that by necessity implies, and we properly infer, that they who heard had the freedom to choose whether to obey the glad tidings or not.

Remember, Jesus told us that if we. . .

Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

This certainly contradicts the very idea that God intends to purposely harden certain people's hearts so that they will reject Him. God's desire is to save man, not condemn man. Just about every one of us is familiar with that great verse proclaiming God's love for man; but, how many readily recall His purpose?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the wold; but that the world through him might be saved.
2 Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Curtis A. Little, Royse City, TX

Curtis A. Little
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