- Sermon Notes
Symptoms of a Hard Heart
July 26, 2020
- Stubbornness can be funny and cute when a child is young but not so cute when they grow older.
- In fact, a person can be so hard-hearted, that their story is tragic. You look at their life and wonder, “What will it take for this guy or gal to get it?” “How bad do things have to get before they hit rock bottom?”
- Tonight, we are going to study a truly tragic character, Pharaoh.
- As we examine his life, we will discover the “Symptoms of a Hard Heart” and also learn God’s remedy to reverse the diagnosis.
- This is a new section in Exodus where God brings judgments called plagues upon Egypt.
- God’s purpose behind the plagues:
- Reveal Himself as the Lord of all creation
- Reveal that Egypt’s gods were false
- Bring Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land
I. Symptom #1 – Pride (14-19)
A. “It’s all about me!”
- The word translated “stubborn” literally means “heavy, dull, or weighed down” because of pride.
Psalm 10:4, In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him, in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (NIV)
- God confronted Pharaoh because he refused to let Israel go.
- God confronted Pharaoh through Moses to demonstrate His superiority over Pharaoh, his magicians, and their gods. (Staff into snake, 8:13)
APPL – Pride seeks two things:
- Glorify self.
- Gratify self.
APPL – Pride is not liberating, it is debilitating.
- When a person is filled with pride they are weighed down with self.
- Their focus is ME, ME, ME.
APPL – When people are “full of themselves” they become dull to the things of God.
- Dullness leads to spiritual blindness.
- They become blind to the warning signs; that there is danger ahead.
- God warns them because He cares for them.
Jonah 4:11, And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand?
Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live!” declares the Lord God, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!”
APPL – Pride can even infect the church.
3 John 9, I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
ILLUS – The late A.T. Robertson once wrote an article about Diotrephes for a religious publication.
4. Two things are important to remember when pride fills our hearts:
- God always wins.
- God is always opposed to the proud.
5. God sent Moses and Aaron to confront Pharaoh at the Nile in the morning.
6. Religious ceremonies were often held at the Nile and Pharaoh led many of them.
Expressions from Hymn of the Nile, “The bringer of food, rich in provisions, creator of all good, lord of majesty, sweet fragrance…”
Transition – What was the Lord declaring to Pharaoh? “Life is not about you, Pharaoh. . .”
B. Life is all about God
ILLUS – Pastor Keith’s counsel to a future bride
- God is our true source of blessing.
James 1:17, Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
- All things were created by Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:16, For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him.
- When a person knows that God is their ultimate good, gratitude and humility fill their heart. God blesses thankful and humble hearts.
James 4:6, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
II. Symptom #2 – Stubbornness (20-22a)
A. “It’s my way or the highway!”
- Before their eyes, the Nile was literally changed to blood. (20)
a. The fish died, and the drinking water was tainted.
b. The Nile was foul-smelling.
3. Egyptians worshipped gods associated with the Nile.
a. Isis was considered the goddess of the Nile.
b. Osiris was worshipped as the god of the underworld. The Egyptians believed the Nile was his bloodstream.
4. So, Pharaoh called the magicians and they duplicated/counterfeited what Moses and Aaron did.
5. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened which means it was “strong”, “rigid”, or “firm”. (22)
- He was set in his ways.
- Stubborn, unwilling to move even though it may cost him everything.
APPL – Have you ever been unwilling to budge? Common excuses when confronted/corrected:
- “This is the way I am.”
- “If you don’t like it, then you can leave.”
ILLUS – A relative’s response to her dad’s correction.
APPL – It is amazing how stubborn a heart can be.
ILLUS – Christ’s Triumphal Entry (Luke 19:37-40)
B. God’s way is the best way
- God leads us in the ways of righteousness.
Psalm 23:3b, He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
- God’s way brings life and peace.
Romans 8:6, For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
ILLUS – Malina asking me about hearing God’s voice.
APPL – There are some things to be stubborn about. . .
Luke 9:23, If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
III. Symptom #3 – Indifference (22b-25)
A. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
- Pharaoh “did not listen to them.” (22b).
- He “turned and went into his house with no concern even for this.” (23)
- Yet, all the Egyptians were struggling for the next seven days to get water and food. (24-25)
- It would have been so easy for Pharaoh to end this by humbling himself and repenting of his sin.
- But he walked away.
ILLUS – Begging a woman to come back to the Lord
APPL – Some people are set on learning the hard way.
Transition – God is speaking. The question is, “Are we listening?”
B. “God, have Your way in me!”
- How is your heart doing?
ILLUS – Asking our church staff how they are doing.
- Has life become too much about you?
- Have you become more set in your ways?
- Have you grown indifferent about what matters most in life?
APPL – Or to ask the question in a different way, how hard has your heart become?
- How much hardness of heart are you tolerating?
- How much hardness of heart is acceptable?
ILLUS – Pastor Chuck Smith’s loving confrontation of a friend who had left his wife.
- Return to the Lord just and let Him fix your heart.
Psalm 51:17, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken spirit and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 139:23-24, Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
Exodus 14:1-16 NSAB
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lordwhich He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.
14 The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.