Unlimited: That My Name Might Be Proclaimed
Mar 16, 2023 338
For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden (Romans 9:17–18).
God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is a Hebrew idiom, by which God, in his sovereignty, is held to be the cause of that which he permits. Hebrews 3:8 tells us that we harden our own hearts.
Because Pharaoh refused to release the children of Israel from slavery, God sent ten devastating plagues. In the end, Pharaoh was destroyed in the Red Sea. Some people understand Rom. 9:17 to mean that God created Pharaoh for the purpose of destroying him, by hardening his heart. This is too much for some people to understand. But that isn’t what this is saying.
God showed Pharaoh mercy and held back from destroying him in order to demonstrate his graciousness and power.
Here are the actual words of the Lord to Pharaoh, from which Paul is quoting,
For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16 But I have raised you up[or have spared you, mg.] for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (Ex. 9:15–16.)
What God is saying to Pharaoh here is not that God created Pharaoh for the purpose of destroying him, but instead that God showed Pharaoh mercy and held back from destroying him in order to demonstrate his graciousness and power.
Can you think of a way in which God has shown his grace and mercy to you by being patient with you? Unlike Pharaoh, how have you responded?