Reading through the beginning of the plagues against Egypt causes me to reflect on the question of who is really in control in the world. In Pharaoh's mind, he is the one who ultimately has the control, and it never ceases to amaze me how Pharaoh can consistently harden his heart against God. There could be some theological debate about who does the hardening (Pharaoh or God), but it seems like, as with a number of things, it is a combination of both. Does God put situations around Pharaoh that he knows will cause him to harden his heart? Or did God just know what Pharaoh's response would be. It's interesting to me why God doesn't just wipe out the Egyptians: because He wants His Name to be known across the world. If God simply wiped them all out, then other nations might just wonder if they had experienced something similar to the black plague. But to see the plagues that God set on Israel, one has to respect the fact that "I Am" is responsible. Even the magicians weren't able to do the same sorts of things as the Lord was able to do. (On a side note, it's troubling to things that the magicians were able to do as much as they did: turning water into blood, making staffs into snakes, etc. It makes me consider the idea that perhaps Pharaoh was being prompted by Satan.) Nevertheless, the magicians even admitted: "this is the finger of God." God wants to make His glory known to the world, and He will use whatever means necessary. Will you be on the side of helping Him display His glory, or will you on the side of trying to steal it from Him?
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.