Have any of you seen the Prince of Egypt? (if you haven’t, go watch it on Netflix..you have no excuse!) Holy cow, it’s one of my top favorites for sure. It’s an animated version of the story of Moses, of course with some added and missing elements, but overall, it’s pretty accurate. Whenever I read through Exodus, this image always runs through my head during the plagues. Eery, terrifying, beautiful, and glorious.
[ photo found here ]
Anyway, as I was reading Exodus as of most recently, God spoke to me in a different way about something I have read very often. (Many of my posts will involve Exodus, just a heads up) Each time a new plague strikes Egypt, Pharaoh says something along the lines of, “Ask your God for forgiveness on my behalf. If [insert plague here] leaves the people, I will let your people go.” Each time, it ends with Moses calling upon the Lord, the plague leaving, and then it says, “And so God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”
Like ughhhhh, right?
How frustrating would it be to do that 9 times?!
(the 10th time, Pharaoh let the people go)
I picture each time, Moses is just praying over the Israelites, praying safety for their journey, and when Pharaoh calls him in – Moses gets giddy! He starts praising God, Oh thank you, you are finally letting them go! This is awesome!
Then, like clockwork, Pharaoh goes back on his word, GOD hardens his heart, and Pharaoh sends Moses out of his presence again.
This used to make me really annoyed, and I literally would just read over it and not want to think about it. How (seemingly) unfair! God is putting Moses in this situation, but watching him fail over and over – in fact, is a very real part of that failure.
Then I remember, this is not about Moses. This is not about how dumb he looks in front of the Israelites.
This is about the end result – God’s deliverance of the Israelites.
God is AWARE and a part of this process. (as He is with your journey) He didn’t just sit idly by and then finally take notice after the 9th plague. But He is constantly aware and in the day to day – the unseen.
God does not send us into battle to watch us slaughtered. Do we lose sometimes? It seems that way, doesn’t it?
We will be the victorious.
It may not come the way or in the time frame we dreamed or thought, but victory comes.
“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.” Proverbs 2:7 (NIV)
God was developing perseverance + patience in Moses. The same perseverance and patience Moses would need to lead a whole nation of people through the desert for 40 years. I think we forget the gravity of that. An entire people group wandering in the DESERT for 40 WHOLE YEARS. I am 20 years old, and I feel like this last 20 has been long, and I still have another 20 to go before I match the amount of times the Israelites spent in the wilderness. Talk about rough, y’all. Generations were begun and died off in that time.
We get caught up in the outside matters – “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart? Jerk,” – rather than recognizing that God was developing something in Moses that would not have developed otherwise, and it was something he would need so desperately for the next 40 years of his life.
Praise God for hardened hearts.
When it seems like you meet continual failure, remember that it isn’t the end of your story. God is developing something in you through the pain that will lead to good things. Just because someone’s heart seems resistant to what you have to say or the love that you’re showing, keep on keepin’ on.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 NIV