walk in the word
Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” And he said, “Tomorrow” (Exodus 8:9–10a, esv).
When I was in college, I heard a phenomenal message preached from this text, entitled “One More Night with the Frogs.” Of all the plagues God visited on the Egyptians, this is the one that people still freak out over the most—“frogs!” But Moses offered to pray for Pharaoh, asking God to take away the frogs just as soon as this stubborn king of Egypt said he was ready. And yet Pharaoh, with frogs hopping everywhere—who you’d think would be saying, “Do it now! Do it yesterday!”—opted instead for a most intriguing time frame.When God is stirring your repentance, today is the day to stop hardening your heart and pray that God would get this thing completely out of your life, right now. Click To Tweet
How many times have you said, “Just one more night with this”? You know it’s unhealthy. You know it’s wrong. You know it’s hurting you and people you love. You know it’s sin, but . . . you’re going to give yourself one more night with this secret addiction. One more night of babying that bitterness. One more night to hold off forgiving that person who did what they did to you. One more night to wait before bending your knee, humbling yourself, and doing what you know you should do.
“Tomorrow.” You’ll do something about it tomorrow.
What you’re really doing by taking this approach is hardening your heart, which is the most dangerous response a person can make. Hardening your heart is as serious as serious gets. It’s why the writer of Hebrews included the following command three separate times in his New Testament letter, basically re-tweeting the Old Testament passage that says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:7b–8a). When God is stirring your repentance—when He’s convicting you about a particular sin—today is the day, not tomorrow, to stop hardening your heart and pray that God would get this thing out of your bedroom, out of your kitchen, completely out of your house, right now!
After a while, Pharaoh started sounding as if the Lord was getting through to him. When God followed up the frogs by sending gnats, then flies, then a disease that killed their livestock, then boils that broke out all over the Egyptians’ bodies, then a pounding hailstorm “such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now” (Exodus 9:18)—finally Pharaoh seemed to soften. “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer” (Exodus 9:27–28). But the moment the heat was off, “he sinned yet again and hardened his heart” (Exodus 9:34). Just when you thought he might be broken, he stiffened up in defiance and reclaimed “tomorrow” as his willful, hardened, depraved, human right. He and true repentance never showed up together on the same day.
There’s a lesson in this. We all need to recognize the places in our heart where our flesh wants to say, “I’ll do my own thing. I’ll live my own life.” The Bible is clear that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but Pharaoh also hardened his own heart. And so can we. “Today, if you hear his voice,” be sure you don’t wait another minute before yielding your will entirely to His.
Lord God, You’re fully aware of all those places in my life where I keep resisting You. My heart, left to itself, doesn’t want to pay attention to Your Word. I don’t naturally want to align myself with what it says. But thank You that in Your mercy You’ve continued seeking me. Thank You for the way Your Holy Spirit opens my eyes to the truth of the gospel—both the reality of my sin and the hope through Christ for a life of freedom, peace, and fruitfulness. Please help me to yield quickly and obey fully when I hear Your voice. Thank You for being the way to life, and life abundant. I pray this in the trustworthy name of Jesus, amen.
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