Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 10:1-2 ESV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Romans 9:14-18 ESV
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:1-4 ESV
When my grandmother was nine years old, her mother sent her from her home in Germany to live in the United States with her aunt and uncle. Her aunt wasn’t kind to her and made her work hard, and she didn’t see her mother again for about 50 years. For all those years she thought her mother didn’t love her, but when she saw her again she learned that her mother wanted her to have the education and better life she thought she could have in the United States. For many years my grandmother couldn’t talk much to her children about her childhood, but later she saw the good God had worked in her life, and she was able to tell a little of her story to her grandchildren. Seeing God at work in sad and difficult situations makes a big difference.
Pharaoh had had many warnings, but he was so stubborn and cruel that God would no longer work with him. That didn’t stop God from working, instead, through him. God used Pharaoh’s stubbornness to show his power and glory to the world, and especially to his people Israel. He worked through Pharaoh to set Israel free from slavery. His horrible plagues became something they would tell their children about from one generation to another, not because of how terrible the plagues were, but because of the power God showed to set them free against all odds.
Christians have something we want to be sure to tell our children, and also to the whole world. We were slaves to sin, death, and the devil, but Jesus came to set us free. He died on the cross and rose again from the dead to defeat and destroy the worst of what sin brought to our lives. Some people look at Jesus’ horrible death on the cross and see only injustice and cruelty, but we see God at work for us, and that’s good news to tell!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for what you did for us in Jesus. Help us to share it with others, and bless parents as they teach their children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.