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The Everlasting Covenant

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    Hardened by Mercy

    It is well to note that it was the manifestation of the mercy of God that hardened Pharaoh’s heart. The simple request of the Lord was scornfully denied. Then the plagues began to come, yet not immediately, but with interval enough to allow Pharaoh to think. But as long as the power of the magicians appeared to be as great as that exercised by Moses and Aaron, Pharaoh would not yield. Soon it became manifest that there was a power greater than that with his magicians. They brought frogs upon the land, but they could not drive them away. “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord.” 1Exodus 8:8. He had already learned enough of the Lord to call Him by His name.EVCO 188.1

    “All Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried unto the Lord because of the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps; and the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (2)EVCO 188.2

    “Let favour be shown to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” 1Isaiah 26:10. Thus it was with Pharaoh. The judgment of God caused his haughty purpose to weaken; but “when he saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart.”EVCO 188.3

    Again there came swarms of flies, at the command of the Lord, and Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away; intreat for me. And Moses said, Behold I go out from thee, and I will intreat the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, to-morrow; but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord. And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; and He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, and from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.” 2Exodus 8:28-32.EVCO 189.1

    And so it went on throughout the plagues. All the steps in each case are not recorded, but we see that it was the longsuffering and mercy of God that hardened Pharaoh’s heart. The same preaching that comforted the hearts of many in the days of Jesus, made others more bitter against Him. The raising of Lazarus from the dead fixed the determination in the hearts of the unbelieving Jews to kill him. The Judgment will reveal the fact that every one who has in hardness of heart rejected the Lord, has done so in the face of the revelation of His mercy.EVCO 189.2

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