When Moses said to Pharaoh that the Lord of Israel has commanded Pharaoh to let Israel go to offer sacrifice in the wilderness. “But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2) Why did Pharaoh refuse?
1) Pharaoh as god: The culture of Egyptians gave Pharaoh a status of god. Pharaohs were equated with hawk god Horus, vulture goddess Nekhbet, and cobra goddess Wadjet. This culture deceived him to think like a sovereign god. Hence, Pharaoh as god-himself rejected any authority.
2) Political Pride: Pharaoh, the title means ‘Lord of two lands’ and ‘high-priest of every temple.’ Pharaoh thought he had absolute authority over his land and people who lived in that land. Any one interfering in this cannot be tolerated.
3) Jehovah as competitor: Pharaoh also thought that God of Moses was competing with him. Pharaoh was seeking evidence. The staff in the hands of Moses when cast on ground, became a serpent. Pharaoh summoned his magicians to do similar things, but Moses’ staff swallowed others. (Exodus 7:8-11) Though Pharaoh was defeated in this, he hardened his heart. He rejected evidence of God’s power.
4) Refused to Acknowledge: Egyptian magicians seeing the plague of gnats said: “This is the Finger of God.” (Exodus 8:19) Yet, Pharaoh refused to acknowledge God’s authority and power.
5) Lack of discernment: The fifth plague onwards, Israel was not affected, only the Egyptians. Even after learning this fact, Pharaoh did not discern God’s mighty and miraculous hands.
6) Banish God: After the ninth plague of darkness, Pharaoh expelled Moses and Aaron from his presence and commanded not to show their face to him. (Exodus 10:28) Pharaoh thought he could banish God by banishing his representatives.
7) Pursuit of Israel: Pharaoh thought by bringing back Israel to serve him will give him victory over Jehovah. He and his six hundred charioteers were drowned in the Red Sea.
Do I have a hardened heart like Pharaoh? Or contrite heart?