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Did God harden Pharaoh's heart?

Submitted: 4/18/2011
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Question: In Exodus, Pharaoh hardend his own heart. In Exodus 11:10 it reads the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart. Why? Is it because after several attempts to warn Pharaoh God already knew he would not comply? Is that the same with today's people? Is God's mercy only for the saints? Does he just leave you after you keep trying to get back up again and keep failing?

Answer: When God sends His Word to a person and that person rejects it, that person's heart gets harder, like the wayside ground in the parable of the sower. When this happens, we can say that God hardens the person's heart by sending His Word, but we can also say that the person hardens his own heart by rejecting the Word. When the Israelites came to the Promised Land and God told them to go forth and defeat their enemies, the people refused. Listen to how Paul describes this event in Hebrews 3:12-15 and applies it to us, 'Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,15 while it is said: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.'

We also know that God does not just leave people because they keep falling. In the end it is really not God who leaves anyone; it is people who leave God. As for your question about who God's mercy is toward, Psalms 103:11 says, 'For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.'