Again and again, Moses returns to Pharaoh’s court, asking him to release the Hebrews. But again and again, Pharaoh refuses.
“This is the finger of God!” the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
It’s tempting to believe, “If only I could see a miracle, I could believe in God.” For Pharaoh, each plague was a second chance to believe. When gnats infested Egypt, even the magicians agreed that this was God’s work—“the finger of God”—but still Pharaoh refused to believe.
After ten second chances, God finally seemed to say, “All right, Pharaoh, have it your way,” and Pharaoh’s heart became permanently hardened (Exodus 9:12). Did God intentionally harden Pharaoh’s heart and overrule his free will? No, he simply confirmed that Pharaoh freely chose a life of resisting God.
Pharaoh’s stubbornness became a crutch, propping up his pride and disabling his heart. He became so used to his stubbornness that he could no longer stand without it. The rehabilitation of truth would be too painful, too humbling.
After a lifetime of resisting God, your heart may be so disabled that you are unable to turn to him. If you are far from God, don’t wait. Turn to God while you still have the chance. “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. . . . They will run and not grow weary” (Isaiah 40:31).