But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the LORD had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.
It has been said that your arms are too short to box with God. If you’re fighting with God, you’re going to lose. And if you’re running from the Lord, you’re going to lose. God might humor us, and we might think we’re prevailing, but He will bring the wrestling match to a close.
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That is what happened with Pharaoh. The Jewish people were living as slaves under Pharaoh, and through Moses the answer to their prayers had finally come. The problem was that Pharaoh wasn’t cooperating. Instead of releasing the Israelites, he dug in his heels and refused to let them go. He effectively challenged God, saying to Moses and Aaron, “And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2 NLT). Pharaoh was saying, “I’ll take God on.”
Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.
The Lord gave Pharaoh chance after chance to release the Jews, but Pharaoh refused. So the Lord brought judgments—ten plagues in total—upon Egypt. These included lice, flies, bugs, spiders, frogs, and hail. It got worse and worse. Yet Pharaoh’s heart only got harder. So the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart (see Exodus 9:12), which means the Lord strengthened Pharaoh in the decision he already had made.
Jesus said, “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” (Matthew 7:2 NLT). Pharaoh drowned the Jewish baby boys, and God was about to drown Pharaoh’s army.
Many times the things we try to inflict on others come right back on us. The trap you set for another may be the trap that brings you down.