Two familiar passages today in Exodus 11, and Luke 12:22-34. As I read them today I reflected on them through the lens of God bringing about His kingdom. The thing that sticks out to me in Exodus 11 is that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart (v10) and the reason is given in the verse above—Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”.
Does that sound capricious to you? God makes Pharaoh refuse to let the Israelites go, so that he can then kill the firstborn son of every Egyptian family, and he does this so that people will say “wow – cool trick”. Maybe there’s more to it.
Rewind to verse 7—His purpose in increasing His wonders in Egypt is that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. Okay – is that any better? That comes a little too close to racism and ethnic cleansing—something we are, and should be, offended by.
Yet God’s plan from the beginning of the world was about restoring His kingdom (lost so early on through Adam and Eve’s sin). He set aside Israel to be his people. Now read verse 7 again (reordered for flow) as the Lord makes a distinction between His people those who reject Him. This chapter in Exodus, is the beginning of events that foreshadow the lengths God will go to, to rescue His people, and make a way for the whole world to be His people.
And so in Luke 12 we read that we should seek God’s kingdom first, before even food and clothing and our basic security needs. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
If you are seeking God’s kingdom, He will not harden your heart, but rather soften it, to allow you to seek and know Him better.
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.