And Pharaoh sent and behold not one of the livestock of Israel was dead, but the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. That’s the phrase I want us to meditate on and pray, according to the heart of Pharaoh was hardened.
Despite plague after plague, after demonstration of God’s power over and over and over again, and here specifically in this play of the livestock, for all the livestock of the Egyptians to die, not one of the livestock of the people of Israel to die. It’s clear that God is God, that Pharaoh should humble himself before God, that God will accomplish his purposes, that God has all power, not Pharaoh.
While Pharoah’s heart was hard toward God, may we approach God with humility asking him to make our hearts soft.
But what happens in verse seven? It’s the phrase we see over and over and over again, Pharaoh hardened his heart. His heart was hard toward God, toward the word of God, toward the power of God. This is the curse of sin. To have a hard heart toward before the God of the universe. And I just remember reading through Mark recently and seeing this phrase over and over and over again there. How religious leaders, and Mark, and those who were accusing Jesus in different ways, they had such hard hearts.
So can I just ask the question of you and in my own life, my own heart, is your heart hard toward God in any way? Is your heart hard toward others in any way? You remember, these are the two greatest commandments, love God with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. That’s a picture of a soft heart of a heart that desires God above all else, and obedience to God above all else.
It’s the exact opposite of what we’re seeing here in Pharaoh. I think about sitting around my dinner table recently, and we were having this discussion about hard hearts, and soft hearts and characteristics of soft hearts being humility before God, contrition before God, and a willingness to hear what God says, a desire to do what God says, that flows into a love for others, a heart for others that reflects God’s heart.
So I just want to lead us to pray, God, we pray for soft hearts before you. God, we pray for soft hearts before others. God remove, we pray, please remove pride from us. Remove hard-heartedness from us in any way.
Think about Isaiah 66. This is the one whom I esteem. You say he was humbled and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. God gives us that kind of heart we pray. A humility before you, a contrition before you, that is quick to confess sin and turn from it, that is quick to hear your word, and quick to obey your word, that is moldable in your hands. God, we pray for soft hearts toward you, for soft hearts toward others. God help us to love others with humility, and help us to care for others. God, we pray for soft hearts. We pray you keep us from hard hearts.
And God, as we pray continually on this podcast for people groups around the world who don’t know your grace and your love and your mercy. I just think about how there are 60 million Turks in Turkey and hardly any relatively few followers of Jesus. God, we pray for a heart softening to happen among 60 million Turks in Turkey. God, we ask for that today, among more and more and more Turks.
God, we pray that you would soften their hearts to you, to the message of Jesus, that you would bring the message of Jesus to them, that as people proclaim the gospel in Turkey, that many Turks would turn to you. God, we pray that when the gospel is proclaimed in Turkey, specifically we’re just asking for this together today, that there would be soft hearts to hear and listen and believe and receive your grace and your mercy in Jesus. God, we pray for soft hearts in Turkey. We pray for soft hearts among people we’re sharing the gospel with around us. God, we pray, only you can soften the heart. Please do it God we pray. Here in Turkey, even as we pray, that you would continually soften each of our hearts.
God, this feels just, even as we’re praying through it’s so essential. We can’t love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Others can’t love you with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength with a hard heart. God, we pray for soft hearts in us, we pray for soft hearts in those were sharing the gospel with. God, we pray for soft hearts in people we love and think about praying this over my kids and over my family, over people around me. God, I pray for soft hearts. We pray for soft hearts in people all around us, and God we pray for soft hearts in places like Turkey around the world. We ask for this knowing the danger of hard hearts and seeing it in Exodus chapter nine. So we pray and plead for this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
View the 2021 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan here.