“And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”
When I worked in construction as a young man, I always knew that it would be a long day when we poured the footings and the slab. When the cement trucks arrived, every person helped to pour the cement and smooth it out because it would gradually harden to the point that it was no longer workable. While the cement was wet, we could do with it what we wanted. Once it set up and hardened, there was nothing more we could do with it because it was unworkable.
This is what God meant when it says that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. Once he hardened his heart, it didn’t matter what God offered because he was no longer receptive to God’s prodding on his heart. We often look at the foolishness of Pharaoh’s decisions and wonder why he would keep turning against God when every time he did another plague would come. The reason he continued to rebel was because his hardened heart made him unworkable. What would cause a person to get a hardened heart? I believe three things lead to an unworkable and hardened heart.
First, a hardened heart is the result of adding sin to it. One of the definitions of “hardened” means, “to compact.” In other words, it is like a person who tries to push more into a container until there is no more space left for anything else to go in it. Many people get a hardened heart towards God because they continually add sin to the point where there is no room for God to add anything to it. One of the mistakes Job made when going through his trials was that he added rebellion unto his sin. My friend, you better be careful about continually adding sin into your life to the point that you’ve compacted it to the degree that your heart is hardened. Stop adding to your sin, because the more you add, the harder your heart becomes.
Second, a hardened heart is the result of no feeling. Pharaoh got to the point where he didn’t care what everyone thought about his rebellion. Compacting his sin led him to have no feeling towards God’s working in his life. God’s judgment should have brought repentance, but instead, it brought rebellion. When judgment doesn’t result in repentance, rebellion will always be the next step of an individual. When rebellion fills the heart, the individual will not care what others think about their sin because they have hardened their heart. Be careful about getting to the point in your life where you have no feelings towards God’s warnings through the preacher or concerned Christians.
Third, a hardened heart is the result of wrong advice. The word “hardened” also means, “confirmed in error.” Pharaoh’s heart hardened because he confirmed his actions by basing them upon his wise men and sorcerers ability to do what Moses and Aaron were able to do. Just because the world has sensational results doesn’t mean that it is okay to continue in sin. You had better be careful about who you allow to advise you. You can always find advice that confirms your sin or rebellion; however, the wrong advice only leads to a hardened heart. If the received advice causes you to become more obstinate toward the ways of the LORD, you can be assured that it is the wrong advice.
Christian, don’t allow your heart to set up in sin. Keep your heart tender towards God. Forsake anything that would turn the tender heart into a hardened and unworkable heart.