And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
For most of his adult life, Pharaoh has believed himself to be the embodiment of deity in the world. Whatever holes he’s discovered in Egyptian mythologies, whatever doubts he’s harbored toward the religious status quo of his culture, one thing has been certain for him: it’s working. It’s prospering. It’s winning. In fact, Fortune has even affirmed his sovereignty by placing thousands of Hebrews slaves on his doorstep to build his storehouses and temples. So whether he actually believes himself a god or just parades himself around town as a god in front of the ignorant masses, practically speaking, that’s who he’s been in Egypt. Up until a few weeks ago, when two shepherds walked across his threshold and ruined everything.
I can’t imagine the sort of mid-life crisis Pharaoh’s been experiencing between the lines of this battle. There’s a new God in town—a real God—with power to create life and take it away with just a word, and even though Pharaoh can’t stomach the thought, he can’t evade it either, that he really isn’t all that sovereign after all. His sorcerers can’t even produce gnats, his pantheon of gods haven’t answered a single prayer, and he’s faced with the choice of his lifetime: cling to God as the walls of his old world come crumbling down, or cling to the stones with all he’s got till he gets lost in the rubble.
Transformation is difficult, isn’t it? Each day, it requires both a persistent desire to be molded into the likeness of our Lord as well as an honest admission that we’re not there yet. And it isn’t just the Pharaohs of the world who harden their hearts toward the Spirit’s endeavor; we as disciples do, too. So friend, when you hear God knock at the door of your heart today, and when You feel him direct you to change some attitude, or forgive some grievance, or confess some hidden sin, embrace the sanctifying crisis. You’ll be far better for it on the other side.