7 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
1. God Gives Moses Divine Authority
7 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land.
This section is somewhat unique. The text tells us the God tells Moses that He is going to make Moses like God to Pharoah. That seems a little strange. However, in the original Hebrew, it literally said, I will make you God to Pharoah. God is giving Moses divine authority to speak to Pharoah. Moses is God’s prophet and then Aaron is like God’s prophet to Pharoah.
This is to put Pharoah in his place. If you remember, Pharoah viewed himself as God. So did the Egyptians. Pharaoh was viewed as an incarnation of one of their gods. God is putting Pharoah in his place. The King of Egypt is not God. The Lord is beating Pharoah at his own game. It is not Pharoah who is God; rather, it is the shepherd and leader of the slaves who is God, at least in this sense. Moses is not really divine but the Lord is showing Pharoah who the real God truly is. Moses is God’s prophet and comes to Pharoah with divine authority. Moses even has a prophet of his own, namely Aaron.
Moses is a picture of Christ here. Moses was human, flesh and blood and at the same time, God to Pharaoh.
Colossians 1:15 (ESV)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Moses was not really God, but he was God to Pharoah, He spoke for God and would meet out divine judgement etc. In all this he was acting as God to Pharaoh.
Jesus is God to us…He really is God. Our Lord, of course is God the Son.
What’s interesting here is that Aaron who served as Moses’ prophet, speaking for Moses to Pharoah had elevated Moses in Pharaoh’s esteem because Pharoah himself had spokesmen almost like prophets of his own.
God spoke in the OT using prophets. He told them what to say and do and they did it. Here, Aaron was the mouth of Moses and Moses was the mouth of God.
When the time was right, God sent the greatest Prophet of all.
Jesus, who is the prophet like Moses came, God incarnate.
Luke 24:19 (ESV)
19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
When Jesus ascended back into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father, He left His prophetic ministry to His Apostles. They were commissioned to speak for God. They preached the Gospel with divine authority.
2 Corinthians 5:20–21 (ESV)
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
In a much lesser way but still very important way we are called to also speak on God’s behalf. We are not infallible like the former prophets and apostles but we nevertheless are called to share the Good News with others.
Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2. God Hardens Pharoah’s Heart
3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you.
Moses was to speak all God had told him to speak. Yet, Pharoah would not listen. Moses was to perform God’s wonders and Pharoah would not be moved. God tells Moses this exact thing. Moses, Pharoah will not listen. No matter what you do he will not listen.
Here is a clear picture of the lost who are determined to not listen to God. Pharoah’s heart was created hard and then at every step God finishes his creation.
What is God doing here?
It’s time for judgement on Egypt. So, He takes the preaching of Moses and Aaron and adds more judgment. Pharoah’s rebellion will show that he is no god at all and Yahweh, the true God is sovereignly in control. Only God can rescue His people and this will be seen very vividly in the chapters to come.
God had to teach Moses that there is a vast difference between results and faithfulness. Most preachers today are pragmatic in their approach to ministry. The way they calculate whether their ministry is successful is to count and record numbers.
I remember when we were assigned Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. We learned that faithfulness is what’s required from preachers not success or results. If results are the way success is measured then there is a great problem…
Isaiah was an utter failure-
Isaiah 6:8–11 (ESV)
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
“ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10 Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
and houses without people,
and the land is a desolate waste,
Noah preached 120 years and the only converts were those in his family, his wife, three sons and their wives…by todays pragmatic measurement…Noah was a failure.
At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry He had 11 followers and they were not too impressive. Jesus too would be considered a failure.
So, how do we measure whether a pastor or a church is successful? Faithfulness to God’s Word is the measuring rod. Only God can bring about true conversion.
Here is the secret most do not know…God’s Word has a double effect.
When some here it, like Pharoah their hearts are hardened by the Word of God. This too is a work of God. Some hearts are softened and others hardened. In Pharoah’s case, God used His Word that Aaron spoke to harden Pharoah’s heart.
Because this doesn’t fit in with most pragmatic ministries who only are a success if massive numbers are reached it seems foreign to us.
So, why did God harden Pharoah’s heart through Moses and Aaron?
Romans 9:17–18 (ESV)
17 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.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
So, we see from the Bible that God receives glory through judgement where His justice is seen. Then, God also receives glory as He shows undeserved mercy on others and we praise Him for saving us.
God’s sovereignty means that the eternal destiny of every human rests in the counsel of His will.
In these very subjects I must be faithful. I must tell you the truth realizing these topics are not popular and are not politically correct and are not what we hear on the radio, the internet, or TV. God has called us to be faithful to proclaim the whole counsel of God and not just what tickles the ears of modern-day pagans.
I’m so thankful for this section and others because, my calling is to speak God’s Word and leave the rest to God. Moses could not say enough or do enough miracles to get Pharoah to listen. We cannot get anyone to listen. God has to do it. So, our calling is to share the Gospel in love and kindness and then leave the results to God.
Let’s look to the Bible to see God’s great work in salvation…
Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Just like the hardening so too salvation and faith come from God.
1. The salvation of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
2. The salvation of the criminal on the cross (Luke 23:32, 39-43)
3. The salvation of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)
4. The salvation of the jailor (Acts 16:25-34)
5. The salvation of Cornelius (Acts 10:30-48)
If you are a believer today. If God has saved you from your sins, then praise Him for His mysterious work of amazing grace in your life. Why did God save you? So He would receive glory from your life.
3. God’s Mighty Hand of Judgement
Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.
Now we see that God intends to deal with Egypt and Israel in completely different ways. Egypt would receive wrath while Israel, mercy.
Egypt had been worshipping false gods for centuries. They had murdered the Hebrew baby boys with Moses escaping. They had enslaved God’s people for 400 years. Now it was time, their sin was complete and with a very strong arm, God would rescue His people.
So, we see here that God’s rescue of the Israelites brought Him glory and the vindication and judgement brought Him glory as well.
Through judgement of Egypt, God’s name spread throughout the world…
Joshua 2:8–11 (ESV)
8 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Praise God that when you heard the Gospel, God caused faith to well up within your heart and you were saved.