Resisting God’s Will

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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But Pharaoh again became stubborn and refused to let the people go.

Exodus 8:32

In the first half of Exodus 8, Egypt suffered the plague of frogs, until Moses prayed and the frogs died. Once again, Pharaoh broke his word and failed to let the Israelites go. So, in the second half of the chapter, the Lord sent a plague of gnats. When this didn’t cause Pharaoh to change his course, it was followed by a plague of flies. Yet this time, the flies afflicted only the Egyptians. The Israelites in Goshen were spared. In response to this plague, Pharaoh at first promised to the let Israelites go to worship the Lord. But then, once more, “Pharaoh again became stubborn and refused to let the people go” (v. 32). The Hebrew of this verse reads, literally, “Pharaoh hardened his heart also this time.”

It’s easy for us to look down on Pharaoh as a fool. After all, by this time in the story he had witnessed the power of God and the potential for his country to suffer under God’s hand. Surely any reasonable person would do what the Lord required at this point.

Or maybe not. I wonder if there are times in our lives when we act much like Pharaoh, resisting God’s will even when reason would urge us to obey. As a pastor, I have watched people choose to reject God’s will even when they know that their disobedience will lead to pain. I think of a man who said to me, “I know that having an affair with this woman will hurt my family. It will devastate my wife and alienate me from my kids. I expect plenty of suffering ahead. But I just have to do it.” Like Pharaoh, we can have stubborn hearts, choosing to do what we know to be wrong, or failing to do what we know to be right.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever resisted God’s will for your life? Was it choosing to do something wrong? Or was it failing to do something right? Or both? Why did you resist? What was the source of your stubbornness?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, though I’ve never experienced anything quite like what happened to Pharaoh, I have resisted your will, and you know it. I can think of times when I have hardened my heart in choosing my way rather than your way. Forgive me, Lord, for my stubbornness.

Give me a tender heart, I pray, a heart that yearns for you and your will. Help me to know, to want, and to do your will. May I grow in my desire to obey you, so that I might live my whole life for your purposes and glory. Amen.