God Hardening Pharaoh's Heart

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Tom Bryant, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Tom Bryant

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    I really am not looking for a debate between positions, but what is your take on God hardening Pharoah's heart. How would you explain this passage to a church congregation?
     
  2. skypair

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    Our hearts are hardened when personal justice is not swift (ex: "hardened" criminal). Pharoah believed in each judgment that he had gotten away with disobeying God (most answer the gospel the same way -- "I shall not surely die."). He had not suffered personally. God was offering mercy and the more he turned it down, the more he felt in control. Finally, God gave him a little demonstration of "personal" justice and he relented before justice was laid on himself!

    skypair
     
  3. donnA

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    This sounds as if pharoah hardened his own heart.
     
  4. Rubato 1

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    I take this in the sense that when Pharaoh didn't want to comply, God caused him to be adamant about it; really, only hurrying the process a little.
     
  5. Isaiah40:28

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    I take it in the sense that God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that His glory might be clearly seen by all.
    Romans 9:17,18
    Exodus 4:21
    I would teach this passage exegetically and let God's sovereignty over the affairs of men be evidence of God's eternal purpose which is magnification of His name and power for all eternity by all the nations.
     
    #5 Isaiah40:28, Feb 7, 2008
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  6. Jkdbuck76

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    The things that God did hardened Pharaoh's heart.

    Pharaoh was one mean dude.
     
  7. Tom Butler

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    Not only does Exodus say God hardened Pharoah's heart, Ex 9:34 also says Pharoah and his officials hardened their hearts.

    The bulk of the Exodus scriptures speak of God's hardening Pharoah's heart. We may read Ex 9:34 as Pharoah's hardening his own heart as the result of God's hardening. I don't think the passages will support the idea that God hardened in response to Pharoah's own hardening. The opposite is more likely the case.

    In a way that I don't clearly understand, Ex 9:34 establishes Pharoah's responsibility and guilt. I accept it because the scriptures are clear that God is sovereign and man is responsible.
     
  8. Salamander

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    Actually, Pharoah hardened his own heart at first. He had respite : a rest afterwards to the wrath poured out upon Egypt, which relieved him of his conscience to let Israel go worship in the desert.

    We find later that God hardened his heart. That hardening is without remedy much as when God turns a sodomite over to a reprobate mind there is no remedy.

    God gave space for him to repent of his holding God's people in bondage and without chance to sacrifice to Him, thus the increasing of the violence of each plague.

    Also, it is to be noted that each plague was by what the Egyptians worshipped that God turned against them.

    Pharoah had a will, but that will was soon removed when he refused the request made by Moses.

    We each have a will to obey or disobey the promptings of the Spirit, it is when the Spirit refuses to strive with us we find ourselves without remedy.

    God is Sovereign, but that is also that God is Longsuffering in His Sovereignty. IOW, no one tells God what to do, he tells them.:godisgood:
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

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    Of course it does, skypair's theology demands he reply like that regardless of what the text really says.
     
  10. webdog

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    You know, I was just going to start a thread on Pharaoh's hard heart!!! How weird is that!!!

    I've come to look at it quite differently. I've always wondered if God hardening Pharaoh's heart and Pharaoh hardening his heart are two separate incidents, or two different perspectives (God's and man's) on one incident. I'm leaning towards the latter. We see from Scripture different perspectives on the same events (the Gospel accounts, God "striking down people with the sword", putting a lying spirit in their mouths, etc).
     
    #10 webdog, Feb 7, 2008
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  11. webdog

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    To be fair, Scripture also says Pharaoh hardened his own heart too.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

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    True, but the specific Scripture quoted in the OP was on God hardening his heart.
     
  13. webdog

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    I agree, but since Scripture never contradicts you must either hold to God is the sole cause, or man is of the hardening. I beleive it is hyperbolic in nature. Since God never tempts and He commanded Pharaoh to let His people go, that very notion is foolishness with the calvinist determinist view, which is what I beleive Skypair was refuting. I believe it to be two different perspectives on the sam event (Pharaoh hardening his own heart apart from God commanding him not to). This is like saying "I will make Joe mad" and then going over to him and punching him in the face. The anger came from within Joe, I didn't create anger within him, but my actions brought that out of him, in the same way the plagues did with the hardening within Pharaoh.
     
    #13 webdog, Feb 7, 2008
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  14. Tom Bryant

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    These are some good answers and in ways mirror my own "double minded-ness" :laugh:

    When God called Moses, he told him that he was going to harden Pharaoh's heart and take his first born. All before Moses had even gone to Pharaoh.

    But Pharaoh did harden his heart. I am tending to believe that God hardens the heart of people whose heart is already hard, thus making them experience the full consequences of their willful disobedience.

    I am preaching thru Exodus and have to deal with this issue because the phrase about pharaoh hardening his heart or God hardening Pharaoh's hearts is repeated at least 15 times in Exodus.
     
  15. Isaiah40:28

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    So what are you going to teach your congregation about this?
     
  16. skypair

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    No, actually I was going to remark that I agreed with donnA. There is no such demand on my theology. Why would you say that?


    skypair
     
  17. Salamander

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    All anyone has to do is look at the timing of the hardening of his heart. He first hardened his own heart at the onsight of the first plagues. After I think the fifth plague, which would speak specifically of mercy and grace expired, God began to hardened his heart. Ex 9:12 The LORD hardened his heart during the sixth plague of the boils.

    To try and prove the doctrines of Calvin from this text is a far stretch of the imagination.:laugh:
     
  18. Outsider

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    Hi all,
    I love this discussion.
    What do you think of this..

    Gen 6:5 tells us all we need to know about man's heart. Those that do not have a relationship with God, have a wicked (Hard, bad, etc..) heart.

    We also learn that when God withdraws Himself from someone, their heart becomes hardened. Look at king Saul when God withdrew from him and David was anointed.

    The NT teaches us this also. Until God draws someone to Christ, they will not come to Him. Pharaoh did not know God so his heart was already hard. Without God speaking to him or not drawing Him, Pharaoh (As well as every person) rebelled against God (Including God's people and God's Word).

    God hardened Pharaoh's heart by not speaking to it. Pharaoh hardened his own heart by his stubborness and his own lusts.
    God is always in control and 100% sovereign and we are 100% responsible for our actions. When people hear the gospel today and they are not being drawn by God, they will harden their own hearts too by simply rejecting what is being told to them.
    Everything is done for the glory of God. Think of the great glory this brought to God and the great witness and hope to those that obey Him.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    The first mention that I found is Ex 4:21. The Lord says "But I will harden his heart...


    7:3 "But I will harden Pharoah's heart..."
    7:13 "But Pharoah's heart became hard, just as the Lord had said."
    8:19 "But Pharoah's heart was hard and he would not list, just as the Lord had said."
    8:32 "But Pharoah's heart was hard..."
    9:12 "But the Lord hardened Pharoah's heart, and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses."
    9:34 "He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharoah's heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go..."
    10:20 "But the Lord hardened Pharoah's heart..."
    10:27 "But the Lord hardened Pharoah's heart..."
    11:10 "But the Lord hardened Pharoah's heart..."

    So the Lord promised to harden Pharoah's heart in Chapter 4 and 7, and just as he promised, Pharoah's heart was hardened later in chapter 7.

    Tom Bryant and Outsider may be onto something by saying Pharoah's heart was already hard. The hearts of the unsaved are always inclined against God, so we might say that. But in this specific instance--that is, his refusal to let the Israelites go--God did the hardening, and Pharoah's heart thus was hardened. Another way of putting it could be that Pharoah stiffened his resolve not to let them go.

    However you spin it, God is sovereign and man is responsible.
     
    #19 Tom Butler, Feb 7, 2008
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  20. Tom Butler

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    Some good points, Outsider. However, I do think that this was not a case of God's not speaking to Pharoah's heart, for many times in Exodus, God acts to harden, not just to leave him alone.

    I do think that one of God's harshest judgments against an individual is to simply leave him alone to follow his natural inclinations. In this case, however, God clearly acted instead of not acting.
     

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