Pharaoh’s response to God’s Great Calling

PharaohAngryIn the last article, we looked at Moses’ response to God’s Great Calling. He heard the calling and entered into a personal relationship with God. Then, Moses was taught by God, what he should say, to whom, and why. Moses had the privilege of joining in on God’s plan for the ages; he called people who were enslaved and oppressed to enter into a personal relationship with God and begin to worship and serve Him. This Creator God will set them free from their slavery and oppression so that they can have a relationship with Him seen through their worship and service. Moses’ sin nature caused him to be afraid and make excuses but, God taught him how to overcome his fear. God also taught Moses the importance of being part of a team. In this lesson, we are going to focus on a different reaction to God’s Great Calling. This lesson’s subject is Pharaoh. He has an opportunity to interact with the God of the universe, just as Moses did, yet, his response is far different from the response that Moses manifested. Our text for this lesson is Exodus 7. Take a moment to read the passage in its entirety and then we can discuss.

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.  2 “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land.  3 “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.  4 “When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.  5 “The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”  6 So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did.  7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.  8 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,  9 “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Work a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ”  10 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.  11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.  12 For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.  13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

I. Clear Instructions

I think the neatest part about this passage is the fact that God emphasizes the ages of Moses and Aaron. At the ages of 80 and 83 years old, most people are in the 4th quarter of life. They are usually right in the middle of retirement and thinking about meeting their Maker. They definitely are not thinking about embarking on their life’s mission!!! First of all, this lets us know that this is a God thing. Moses and Aaron are not two young men set out to grab the world by the coat tails. This task is already impossible. Now add the ages of these two men and it becomes almost a mockery. In verse 2, Moses is given very clear instructions. He is to go to a man (Pharaoh) who does not know God and introduce this man to the God of the universe. Moses is to pass the commands of God along to this person. This reminds me of what we call the Great Commission in the Bible, Matthew 28:19-20, go to the people who do not know God and teach the commands of this God whom they do not know. God gives His Word to Moses. God teaches Moses what to say. Moses is then to go and deliver the message to Pharaoh. The message is very clear:

  1. There are people in bondage and God wants to set them free (2)
  2. God wants to reveal Himself to the people of Egypt (3, 5)
  3. God’s judgment is coming (4)

The same that was true for Moses back then is the same thing that is true for us today. God is going to accomplish His plan. His plan is majestic, setting people who are enslaved to their sin nature free to worship and serve Him. God wants to reveal Himself to the people within your sphere of influence. God wants people to know that His judgment is coming upon this world. In II Timothy 3:16, we learn that the Word of God teaches us, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us. As we go through this process, II Timothy 4:2 teaches us that we are to take that same Word of God and share It with others, reproving them, rebuking them, and exhorting them with great patience. Moses lived about 3,500 years before us but, God’s Great Plan has not changed. Are you being taught by the Word of God so that you can go and take God’s message to others? Are you sharing the message of freedom with the people around you? Are you letting people know that God wants to reveal Himself to them? Are you warning people of God’s judgment to come?

II. Simple Obedience

In this story, we see a beautiful truth come to life before our very eyes. Exodus 7:6 teaches us that Moses and Aaron obeyed God right away. They obviously believed God because they took Him at His Word. Their faith manifested through their simple obedience. They did not have to go out and get a Seminary Degree or take a Master Class on evangelizing the lost. The simply surrendered to God’s command and to God’s plan. They knew exactly what they were supposed to talk about, to whom, and why. As I read this story, I could not help but think about John 14:15:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Jesus ties love with obedience. You must experience the love of God and then that love motivates to obedience. Obedience is important to God. The same John wrote in his first epistle:

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -our faith. (I John 5:2-4)

There is a progression here. When we are born again and become children of God, we are able to love God. We demonstrate that love through our obedience. It is not a burden to obey God. It becomes a privilege. We are born again through faith in God’s message of the Gospel. We attain freedom from our sin nature and are able to walk in victory. Obedience is victory in the eyes of the Lord. Is simple obedience a part of your daily life? Are the commandments of God a burden to you or a privilege? In our context, the commandments of the Lord are to take the message to the people around you:

  1. There are people in bondage and God wants to set them free
  2. God wants to reveal Himself to the people in your sphere of influence
  3. God’s judgment is coming

Based on the three points above, are you sharing the message of freedom with the people around you? Are you letting people know that God wants to reveal Himself to them? Are you warning people of God’s judgment to come?

III. Pharaoh’s Reaction

Now, once you get excited about sharing this message with the people within your sphere of influence, realize that people’s reactions will vary. Some will respond as you did. Others, on the other hand, will respond as Pharaoh did. In Exodus 7:3, the Lord reveals to us that Pharaoh has a hard heart to the things of God. In fact, we are all born with a hard heart to the things of God because of our sin nature. Pharaoh’s hard heard is manifested in his disobedience. He will not listen to the message that Moses and Aaron bring to him. In God’s eyes, hardened hearts and disobedience go hand in hand. The message that God sent through Moses was a message of rebuke. To rebuke means to show someone where they are wrong and why. The thing about our sin nature is, it does not like to be rebuked. Think of the last time someone pointed out a fault of yours, even if they did it in love, what was your immediate response (even if just in your heart)? I bet that you did not like it, even if you knew that they were right in what they were saying. The Word of God rebukes us. God also uses His people to rebuke. Timothy is told to rebuke with the Word of God in II Timothy 4:2. Pharaoh has a negative response to the rebuke of the Word of God. In Thessalonica, the believers were being persecuted for preaching the message of the Lord to the people within their sphere of influence. Do you remember the message?

  1. There are people in bondage and God wants to set them free
  2. God wants to reveal Himself to the people in your sphere of influence
  3. God’s judgment is coming

The persecution (negative response to the message of the Gospel) was proof that the people who heard the message either:

They cannot stop the message of the Gospel and they cannot contradict the message of the Gospel. The only thing that they can do is to take out their aggression on the messengers of the Gospel. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentions that people have always tried to stop the messengers of the Gospel and that they always will, until He establishes the Kingdom of God on the earth. The same thing happened to Jesus when He taught in the synagogue in the town where He was raised. In Luke 4, Jesus taught and the people did not understand His message so He made it clear to them using some Old Testament stories that all knew very well. After they understood the message of the Gospel, they tried to murder Jesus by pushing Him off of a cliff. You sin nature does not like to be pricked by the Word of God. May sin nature does not like to be pricked by the Word of God. The solution to this problem is found in II Timothy 4:2

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Share the message of the Gospel when people want to hear it. When people do not want to hear the message of the Gospel, share It anyway. This was Moses’ calling. This is my calling. This is your calling. Are you going to answer the call?

4 comments on “Pharaoh’s response to God’s Great Calling

  1. Pingback: Remember Christ’s Sacrifice (Exodus 12) | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  2. Pingback: God’s Calling and Leadership | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  3. Pingback: Rebellious against God | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  4. Pingback: Tangible Teachings for Terrible Times | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

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