About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Romans 9:17 Paul quotes from Exodus 9:16.
"I (God) raised you (Pharaoh) up for this very purpose, that
I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in
all the earth". It's
clear from this passage that God placed this particular Pharaoh into a
position of international prominence to demonstrate His power on earth.
If you were an Egyptian, you would have suffered by experiencing
God's power in judgment. If
you were an Israeli, you would have been blessed by the same power.
God's power can be experienced in both a positive or negative
continues in verse 18 by saying, "God has mercy on whom He wants to
have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden".
God can harden anyone's heart if He so chooses, but the heart that
He hardened in this context was Pharaoh's heart.
struggle over the idea of God hardening someone's heart. We
should thus ask, did God override Pharaoh's freedom of choice by
hardening his heart against his will? In
answering this question we should know that Pharaoh had a hard heart
long before His encounter with God. (Exodus 5:2, 7:14)
God didn't make a soft heart hard.
He made a hard heart harder.
How did He do that?
was infuriated after God sent a plague of frogs across the Egyptian
landscape as a demonstration of His power in judgment.
In an angry fit of rage, the text states that
"Pharaoh hardened his heart". (Exodus 8:15) Note
that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, which he did after each subsequent
plague. So, when Exodus 9:12
says that "God hardened Pharaoh's heart", it was an indirect
hardening. God didn't step
into Pharaoh's life, reach into his heart, and make it hard against his
will. God didn't violate
Pharaoh's freedom of choice. The
plagues provided Pharaoh the opportunity to choose to submit to God or
be angry with Him. Pharaoh
chose to harden his heart in anger.
this we learn that God can place individuals into positions of
authority, even if they are arrogantly hostile towards Him, as Pharaoh
was. We learn that God can
judge arrogant and ungodly nations with natural calamities and other
catastrophic events as was seen in Egypt. We also learn that God
can, does, and will, maneuver people and events into place to accomplish
His plan for a nation.
you think the situation with Pharaoh was an isolated event, read Isaiah
3:4. God warned Israel
that He would "make boys their officials, mere children to govern
them". In other words,
God would step into Israel's political arena and install childish, immature, and unqualified, men
into national leadership positions.
Without quality leaders Israelis would beg men to lead them, only
to hear these men say, "I have no remedy … do not make me your
leader". (Isaiah 3:7) God
can, and will, place ungodly, unqualified, intellectually and morally
deficient, individuals without a remedy, into places of national
leadership. He does this to
demonstrate His power in judgment. In
so doing He doesn't violate anyone's free will. He
only gives a nation the leadership their actions show Him they want.
can also cause a whole nation to fall into a state of drunken
like stupor. In Romans 11:9
Paul quotes Isaiah 29:10. "God gave
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and 11 Paul says a similar state of stupor will
overcome man in the last days. Because
man refuses to love truth, "God will send him a powerful delusion
so they will believe the lie".
Paul could well be speaking of our post modern day where their is
no appetite to seriously search for truth.
We prefer a brief synopsis, the 10 second sound bite, and nothing
more that would interfere with our hedonistic lifestyle.
So, like Pharaoh, like Israel, men and women in these last days will be overwhelmed by a powerful
delusion sent from God . They
will believe any lie fed to them by arrogant and ungodly leaders.
In sending this spirit of delusion, God doesn't override anyone's
freedom of choice. He simply
gives people what they want. The
bliss of a drunken stupor is more desirable than the hard reality of
think I can safely say that God is placing modern day Pharaoh's into
positions of leadership, whether it's in Canada,