Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
Trisha, my blogger friend at Joy of Reading, and I decided on calling this post “His Encouragement” because our real source of peace, strength, and security can only come from Jesus Christ. He and He alone is our constant! We pray and hope that these Thursday posts become a real encouragement to you and help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. God bless!
Today’s Thursday Encouragement comes from:
Exodus 4:21 (ESV)
And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.”
Exodus 8:15 (ESV)
But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
I was listening to my Bible study yesterday and the devotional video bothered me.
The two narrators in the video were discussing Exodus 1-18. They were giving a summary of the events and their importance. When they got to the parts about God hardening Pharoah’s heart they left room to interpret that God is the reason why Pharoah’s heart was hard. The implication being that God is a puppet-master who controls us all — our hearts, our feelings, our actions, etc. That is 100% not what God is.
In Exodus 4:21, God tells Moses that He will harden Pharoah’s heart. At face value that sounds odd, and kind of implies that maybe all this struggle is for nothing if God is changing men’s hearts at will. BUT that is not what God is doing. I want to make it clear that GOD is NOT a puppet-master. The Hebrew word used in Exodus 4:21 is chazaq, which means to make strong. God doesn’t harden Pharoah’s heart. God makes it stronger. Why? Because God understands that Pharoah is going to choose the wrong side, and God also knows it’s going to be a long fight. So, God makes Pharaoh’s free will stronger. It’s kind of like a boxer in a ring. God knows that Pharoah is going to go a full 10 rounds, so He makes sure Pharoah can sustain all that’s coming his way.
Later in Exodus, we are told that Pharoah hardens his heart. This time, when the word hardened is used it is the Hebrew word kabad, which means to make hard (like a stone). Notice the difference here. Pharoah is given MANY moments to use his free will and change his ways, but he is stubborn. SO STUBBORN. Every time God gives him a way out, Pharoah hardens his own heart. He turns his heart to stone. He wants nothing to do with God or His way out of the predicaments he finds himself and his people in.
I know God doesn’t need me to defend Him. He is more than capable to do that for Himself, but I just cannot bear the thought that someone might read these moments in Exodus and get the wrong idea about God. That hurts my heart. God is LOVE. He is not a big meanie in the sky. But too many people feel that way and it is in large part because Bibles are translated so poorly.
Dear reader, leave this post today knowing that God is on your side. He doesn’t want a puppet. He wants a solid relationship with unique YOU just as you are. God is SO, SO good!
NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN!
WHAT BIBLICAL VERSE IS ENCOURAGING YOU TODAY?
Check out more Thursday Encouragement from my fellow blogger friends:
Trisha @ Joy of Reading
Jacquelyn @ A Heavenly Home
Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective
Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina
Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes
Andi @ Radiant Light
Leslie @ Words of Hope